2017 Board Chair

charles-cottenCharles Cotten

Centennial Governor 2004-05

District 5730

Charles graduated from the University of Arkansas after returning from his tour of duty as a member of the United States Marine Corp where he
was part of the first combat landing in Viet Nam in 1965 after having been involved in the Gulf of Tonkin crisis. He is also a graduate of the Federal Civil
Service Executive Management program and the old Federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Management Intern Program and is a
Certified Association Management Executive. He is married to Bonnie Jean Cotten and between them, they have four children, eight grandchildren,
and three great grandchildren.

Charles recently retired for the third time from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) located in Odessa serving as the Interim Executive Director of the John Ben Shepperd Public Leadership Institute. He helped to create the Institute in 1995 after it was funded by the Texas State Legislature to “educate young Texans for/about leadership, ethics and public service.” He first retired from the University in 2004 prior to assuming his duties as the Centennial District Governor for District 5730. While at the Institute, part of his duties was serving as the Curator for the Presidential Archives and Leadership Library housed in the same building
on the university campus. He continues to serve as a volunteer Docent and member of the Board of Trustees for the Archives and the Institute.

Prior to moving to Odessa in 1995 to work at the University and become a Rotarian, Charles lived and worked in the Dallas Metroplex in various positions with the federal government, state government, and local nonprofit organizations. As a young man, he was very active with the Texas Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) serving as state president in 1977-78 and later as Executive Vice President, 1982-86.

Charles joined the Greater Odessa Rotary club in 1996. He became club president in 2000-01, where he had his first encounter with PETS. This helped him have a great year and exceed all his club goals. He was an Assistant Governor 2001-03, and District Governor 2004-05. While District Governor, he had the district website created, the first set of district policies and bylaws passed, and the district foundation created. Within the district he has served as District Trainer 2005-09 and District Representative to PETS 2008- present. He was the District 5730 Representative to the 2010 and 2013 Councils on Legislation. He has served Rotary International as a Sgt.-at –Arms at three RI Conferences and six Zone Institutes, two as Chief Sgt. He is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, member of the Bequest Society, and a recipient of the highest Rotary award for Service Above Self. He has served PETS as a facilitator for ten years, Spouse Program Chair, Evaluation
Chair (3 years), board secretary, and Operating Chair.

Charles and Bonnie are active members of Asbury United Methodist Church in Odessa where he serves as a Certified Lay Servant. Each Christmas he lets his beard grow and plays Santa Claus for various organizations in the Odessa area