Robert J. Brotje Jr.               Inducted 1985 - Class of 1938

The extraordinary expertise in finance of Robert Brotje has carried him to the top of the industrial ladder in Toledo, as president and chief operating officer of the Champion Spark Plug Company.

A 1938 graduate of Woodward High School, Mr. Brotje went on to the University of Toledo, from where he was graduated in 1942 with a bachelor of business administration degree. Like so many others who completed their schooling in those years, he had to delay the start of his career to serve in the war- as a lieutenant, junior grade, with the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Minneapolis in the Pacific Theater in 1943-45.


He began his business career in 1946 as a public accountant with the Toledo accounting firm, becoming a certified public accountant in 1950. He joined Champion Spark Plug in 1957 as tax manager; in 1964 he was promoted to controller of the company, in 1971 to vice president and treasurer, in 1978 to executive vice president and director of finance, in 1982 to executive vice

president and chief financial officer, and in 1984 to executive vice president and chief operating officer.

When he was named president and chief operating officer in December; 1984, Mr. Brotje was only the third president in the 77-year history of Champion and the first one outside the Stranahan family to hold the title. He has been a member of Champion's board of directors since 1971 and is chairman of its executive committee.

He has been a member of the board of directors of the Sylvania Savings Bank since 1982 and a member of its executive and nominating committees.

Mr. Brotje has applied his proficiency in business and finance to a large number of professional and community organizations. He is a past president of the Tax Forum of Toledo. A member of the Financial Executives Institute since1966, he is a past president of the Toledo chapter and has been an area vice president for a six-state region, a member of the national board of directors, and a member of the national executive, nominating, and government liaison committees of the institute. He is a former member of the board of trustees of the Financial Executives Research Foundation.

Mr. Brotje is a past president and board member of the University of Toledo Alumni Foundation. He has served on the Business Advisory Council at UT since 1979, and as a Dean's Associate at UT since 1979.

Among his other community activities, he has been a member of the board of trustees of the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the Toledo Area Government Research Association and of Toledo Hospital. He has also been active with Grace Lutheran Church, St. Luke's Hospital, Sunset House, and WGTE Channel 30, the public television station.

For all these accomplishments, he is listed in Who's Who in America, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, Who's Who in the Midwest, and Who's Who in the World.

Mr. Brotje is married to the former Eileen Wernert. They have three children SusanBrotje, Bradford Brotje, and Julie Higgins.

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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