J.D. Rottero

J.D. Rottero

Tell us a little about yourself. Where were your born, raised and where do you live now?

“I was born in Nashville and grew up in Joelton on a 158-acre beef cattle farm. I’ve lived on the south end of Mt Juliet for the past 30 years.” 

Family? Married? Children?

“My ex-wife, Sharon, and I have three wonderful children and seven amazing grandchildren. All three children are now successful young adults who live nearby.  They each have an exceptional spouse and great kids.”

Where did you graduate high school? College? Degree?

“I graduated from Joelton High School and the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture.”

Where do you work? Retired from business? If so, when did you retire? If not, where is your office and duties there? Why did you choose this career path?

“I am retired from a working career but not from life. As a young adult, I worked at Purity Dairies during the summers and college breaks. I received a U.S. Army commission from the UT Army ROTC program and served 20 years. For most of my time, I was on active duty with the Tennessee Army National Guard. I retired in 2000. In 2001, I began a second career as a financial advisor with Edward Jones Investments locally and ended that career in late 2017.”

Career highlights and biggest career accomplishments?

“I’d say I cherish all my career opportunities throughout my life. This would include growing up on our farm where I learned what work was and my time at Purity Dairies where I benefitted from working many different jobs and learning various skills. Those early experiences set a good foundation for me. My most rewarding career accomplishments would really be a series of various experiences during my time in the Army. In preparing for war, you try to do it so well that you deter somebody from drawing you into a conflict. I pray for the day to come again when our country gets back to successfully deterring conflict.”

I understand you are a Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce member? Of all the organizations, why did you choose to join this one? How many years? Involved in office systems? What is that?

“I joined the Donelson-Hermitage Chamber of Commerce in 2001 to meet successful people and to learn more about the community I was starting my second career in.  Those objectives were routinely met, especially in the years I was more active. I’ve found many rewarding opportunities and activities in chamber membership. I’ve had the honor of being a board member for several years and chairing the annual Donelson-Hermitage Christmas parade for the last four years.”

Are you a member of the Rotary? This is another great organization. Why are you involved in Rotary?

“Yes – I was invited to join the Rotary Club of Donelson-Hermitage by Don Henderson, a local CPA and business owner, in 2002.  I quickly found Rotary to be a truly outstanding group of friendly, dedicated people who all had a passion to serve others in many ways.”

You are retired military. What branch? What was your rank? What was the impetus for joining the military? Military career highlights? Are you still involved in military functions?

“I was a cavalry officer in the U.S. Army with most of my time on active duty with the Tennessee Army National Guard. I retired in 2000 at the rank of major. I joined because I was interested in the challenges and opportunities of serving in the combat arms of our nation. I enjoyed Army ROTC under the training of several excellent officers and non-commissioned officers, all of whom had served multiple combat tours in Vietnam. I had several different jobs in my career that included an armored cavalry platoon leader, troop commander and a squadron operations officer in the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment. I also served in the headquarters of the TNARNG as the force integration officer, mobilization planner, recruiting operations officer and as an inspector general. I suppose a highlight would be from Aug. 2, 1990, when Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, until our troops came home. This was Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. I was the mobilization planner for Tennessee at that time.”

You are current president of the Andrew Jackson Chapter of the Military Officers’ Association of America. This sounds like an important role. Please tell us about this role.

“Our General Andrew Jackson Chapter is one of 10 Military Officers’ Association of America chapters in Tennessee. MOAA is the nation's largest and most influential association of military officers. MOAA members come from every branch of service and include officers who are currently serving and officers who served previously.  MOAA has represented the interests of military officers and advocated for a strong national defense for more than 90 years. As chapter president, I lead our group of 45 officer members in having a monthly luncheon program and in our support of five area high school JROTC programs.”

Who is your mentor? Why? Are you a mentee to anyone?

“The absolute biggest influencers on my life were my parents. They were both the most loving, caring, selfless, hard-working and tolerant yet firm parents anyone could have dreamed of having. They both set an example for all to follow.” 

If you could spend an evening with anyone, past or present, who and why? What would you ask them?

“President Ronald Reagan would be first on my list. His unique ability to set a positive vision and attitude, to lead our country to a better economy, more national pride and patriotism and just become an overall stronger nation is something I’ll always appreciate and respect. I’d ask how he saw the future and how he communicated his dreams for our country so well.”

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received? Given?

“I’ve been blessed and provided with lots of meaningful advice, some of it rather forcibly, as needed. One thing that sticks in my mind is the phrase from the U.S. Army’s inspector general crest, “Droit et Avant.” Freely translated from French, this motto embodies the IG philosophy of "First be right; then take action." The practical meaning drilled into me at IG school was “If you’re right, rank doesn’t matter – just make darn sure you’re right.” 

“On giving advice, I have several times encouraged someone I worked with or who worked for me to take that next step…apply for that next job or prepare for that next opportunity. Even if I selfishly really didn’t want to lose them, I sure don’t want to hold a person back from something good they wanted to do.”

Hobbies?

“My life is full of volunteering and keeping up with family and our family farm. If I had time to fill, I’d say do a bit more shooting, hunting and traveling.”

Are you a foodie? If so, what is your favorite dish or favorite restaurants?

“I do like food…probably too much. I could never get tired of Gondola House in Hermitage, Wine Down Nashville in Donelson or the Standard in Nashville.” 

What would surprise us about you?

“While I think I tend to usually be low-key and listen a lot, I can go drill sergeant on somebody. Just ask my children. My oldest son is a drill sergeant, so he knows.  Thankfully, it’s been a while since I needed to go there.”

Where do you see yourself in five years?

“I expect to either be living where I am now or on our farm in Joelton, probably doing much of what I’m doing now but with more focus on family and our farm.”

Pets?

“I love pets. I have two adorable rescue dogs, both terrier mixes, and one cat. I inherited them all and love them.”

Do you like to travel? If so, favorite place you’ve visited? Somewhere you’d love to visit when it’s safe?

“Yes on travel. I’ve enjoyed almost every place I’ve been – maybe especially when passing the sign saying “Leaving Fort Stewart, Georgia” in a hot July or August. Seriously though, visiting Florence, Italy with my young adult children, Mindy and Nathan, on a company trip would be a favorite. I’d go back tomorrow if there was no virus. 

Some answers were edited.

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