Braidy Industries has named Mike Otero its Chief Operating Officer. He will officially assume the position on Jan. 6.
Otero brings a wealth of experience in the world of aluminum rolling. For the last 13 years, he’s been in the country of Oman. Most recently, he’s served as the CEO of Oman Aluminum Rolling Mill Company, LLC.
With Otero at the helm, OARC became EBITDA and cash flow positive. OARC, a $500 million greenfield aluminum rolling mill and paint line facility, is now the world’s largest offshore supplier of aluminum flat-rolled products to the United States. Prior to OARC, according to Monday’s press release, Otero was Commercial and Supply Chain Manager for Sohar Aluminum, a $2.7 billion greenfield construction smelter and power plant project.
Otero, 49, has also worked for Rio Tinto Aluminum, Edward D. Jones & Co., LLP and Crown Crafts. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves from 1989-97.
“Mike’s extensive executive experience in the aluminum industry will be of unique advantage to Braidy Industries as we move forward with the construction of our world-class aluminum rolling mill,” said Braidy Industries CEO Craig Bouchard. “His track record in operations and finance, and experience building a successful commercial mill will prove instrumental to achieving our objective of developing lighter and stronger low-carbon alloys for America and territory beyond.”
Otero is excited to get back to Appalachia. He’s lived in Charleston and Ravenswood, West Virginia. His wife, Kitty, is from Boone, North Carolina. She currently lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. Their son, Jack, is a student at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Jack graduated from high school in Oman in the spring of 2018.
“I am thrilled to join the Braidy Industries team creating a generational shift in the production of aluminum and other lightweight materials. Working alongside my uniquely talented colleagues, we have our common goal of bringing economic revitalization to Appalachia.”
Otero has a bachelor’s degree of business administration in accounting from Georgia Southern University and an MBA from Western Carolina University and Universität Mannheim.
Otero will be the head of the Ashland headquarters and will live in Ashland, he said.
Otero’s first encounter with Bouchard occurred three years ago at the HARBOR Summit.
“I heard Craig speak for the first time three years ago and, listening to his speech, I’m thinking, this guy’s either a snake oil salesman or Elon Musk,” said a laughing Otero, referring to the CEO of SpaceX. “Then the next year, I heard him again. I’m just more impressed every time I hear him.”
Blaine Holt resigned as Braidy’s COO in late October to pursue a “lifelong dream.”
Otero and Bouchard, meanwhile, had a “mutual connection on a different subject,” Otero said, and this opportunity “just kinda came along.” He called working for Braidy a “once-in-a-lifetime” chance.
Otero is intrigued by Bouchard’s immaculate business plan.
“If I was a competitor, I’d be seriously nervous right now,” Otero said. “I’m looking forward to sitting down with Craig and talking to him about his idea. It’s truly an amazing plan. There’s so much to it.”
The Braidy Industries mill is expected to be fully operational in EastPark in 2022.
“Ashland is very lucky to get this thing,” Otero said. “I can’t imagine how many would kill to have this.”
Otero said he understands skepticism, but he fully believes in Bouchard’s grand plan.
“I didn’t just walk away from a good job on a whim,” he said.
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