Meet our new Executive Director

Dear Friend of the United War Veterans Council,

We have some exciting news to share.

Marine Corps veteran Mark Otto, a long-time New York Stock Exchange trader, has been named Executive Director of the United War Veterans Council (UWVC), producer of the New York City Veterans Day Parade and a nationwide initiative to honor service.

Mark will be responsible for day-to-day workings of the UWVC, such as planning and producing the New York City Veterans Day Parade, the largest commemoration of service in the nation; coordination and support for other Veterans’ Service Organizations such as the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Team Red, White and Blue and Operation Beachhead, and expanding on the UWVC Health & Wellness program which he initiated in the last year.

He also will coordinate a national network of Veterans Day commemorations by 2019, the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI in 2018 and the 100th anniversary of the first Veterans Day Parade in 2019, which honored those who served in WWI, and other commemorations, such as Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Day and Memorial Day.

Mark has served for the last year as Vice President of UWVC, reporting to President Dan McSweeney, who presided over the successful transition of UWVC leadership from Vietnam era veterans to a younger generation of veterans. McSweeney, who recently announced that he was stepping down as President, will remain on the Board and lead the transfer of VetTank, UWVC’s veteran business incubator and co-working space, to the emerging NYC Center for Cybersecurity and Resilience, which will support veterans’ success in this expanding market. As McSweeney steps down, the two positions have been combined into Mark’s full-time role as Executive Director.

Mark brings his history, his leadership experience, his family, his network, and – most importantly – his willingness and desire to step into the role of honoring and serving our veterans. Dan McSweeney played a vital role in guiding the UWVC through a critical period in our organization and in raising our mission to the next level. We are very thankful for his impacts and are glad he will remain UWVC and continue contributing to our growth and success at the strategic level while facilitating a greater role for veterans in the Cyber arena.

Mark will lead the execution of the UWVC mission to act as ambassadors, connectors and supporters to veterans and veteran supporters, remembering the pledge: Never again will one generation of veterans turn its back on another. Recognizing his efforts to increase coordination with other Veterans Service Organizations, the Veterans of Foreign Wars named Mark National Aide de Camp to Commander-in-Chief Keith E. Harman. Mark also conducted a 1,000-mile ruck march to generate support for The Headstrong Project, which addresses Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and veterans’ suicide in post-9/11 military veterans.

Mark created the UWVC Health & Wellness Program which offers a holistic, therapeutic approach to healing combat veterans dealing with the hidden wounds of war. In its first year under Mark’s direction, the UWVC Health & Wellness Program served hundreds of veterans through equine therapy with Serenity Stables, sailing outings with Sail Ahead, camping with the Sierra Club, art therapy with Ani Art Academies and ruck marches with GORUCK.

As a Marine, Mark served on five-man ground intelligence gathering teams under the 2nd Surveillance Reconnaissance and Intelligence Group during the Panama Invasion and throughout Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Mark had a successful career on the NYSE becoming a senior trader and a leader within the trading floor community. He has managed portfolios with combined market capitals of over a half trillion dollars throughout several global financial crisis situations.  Mark has served as co-chair of two NYSE committees and as a Senior Floor Official on the NYSE’s self-governing body. Mark is a public speaker and has acted as an ambassador on behalf of the NYSE hosting foreign diplomats and military VIPs.

He has received multiple military awards. Highlights include: Combat Action Ribbon with Gold Star, Distinguished Service Medal from the State of New Jersey, Airborne Jump Wings and Meritorious Promotion to Non-Commissioned Officer.

Mark is the fifth veteran in his family to serve in war, including his father who served three tours during the Vietnam War, where he met Mark’s mother. After being separated during the Tet Offensive, Otto’s mother and father were reunited and have been married for 50 years.

A native of Westfield, NJ, Mark lives in Red Bank with his wife and six-year-old son.

Please join us in wishing Mark well in this important mission.



Doug McGowan, Chairman
United War Veterans Council, Inc.