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LIFT president Frank Otto to retire

LIFT president Frank Otto, Otto, 64, of Wading

LIFT president Frank Otto, Otto, 64, of Wading River, is retiring and plans to leave the position by year's end. (Nov. 29, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

Longtime aerospace company engineer Frank Otto is retiring as president of the Long Island Forum for Technology, a business group, after three and a half years in the post.

The Forum, based in Bethpage and commonly known by the acronym LIFT, announced Thursday that Otto would leave by year's end. A LIFT spokeswoman said Otto and his wife plan to relocate to Montana, where their daughter lives.

LIFT said its executive director, Bill Wahlig, will serve as interim president until the board chooses a replacement.

In a statement, Otto, 64, of Wading River, said "I am very optimistic that LIFT will continue to advance manufacturing on Long Island which, in turn, will help secure the region's future economic growth."

Long Island has suffered a net loss of 66,000 manufacturing jobs since 1990, leaving 71,400 as of July, according to the New York State Department of Labor.

LIFT, a nonprofit group formed in 1976, has worked to encourage new high technology ventures to help replace some of the jobs lost.

Otto, a mechanical engineer by profession, has been a member of LIFT's board of directors since 1999 and also served as its chairman for a time. He became president in February 2010 after the death of C. Kenneth Morrelly. Otto previously had worked for what was then Grumman Aerospace Corp. as well as Edo Corp., then based in College Point, Queens, and Comtech Telecommunications Corp. of Melville.

LIFT chairman Joseph Garone said in a statement that Otto had helped guide the group's "transformation from a small operation focused on economic development to the multifaceted organization LIFT is today -- one which is driving the commercialization of technology across diverse sectors and advancing manufacturing and its contributions to the Long Island regional economy and beyond."

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