$50,000 Gift Establishes AAMA's J. Richard Oltmann Memorial Scholarship

Posted On: 3/25/2016

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TAGS: Rich Oltmann, Diane Oltmann, Jim Hines, Holly Hampton, David Cohen, J. Richard Oltmann scholarship, American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation, coin-op news, family entertainment centers

LAS VEGAS -- The American Amusement Machine Association has announced the formation of a scholarship fund in memory of Rich Oltmann. It will be administered by AAMA's charitable wing.

Otlmann, a widely admired figure in the coin-op amusement industry, died on May 30, 2015, at 72. With the help of Oltmann's widow and family, the American Amusement Machine Charitable Foundation is planning to keep his legacy alive through a new scholarship program.

"Rich loved this industry, and wanted to be in a business in which the goal was to make kids smile," Diane Oltmann said when presenting a $50,000 check to the AAMCF on Mar. 17 during the Amusement Expo International here. "He wanted this industry to be better -- to continuously improve it with new ideas and for operators to strive. But the goal wasn't always about profit. The goal was to create safe, clean, happy environments. If that was successful, then profit would follow."

Oltmann enjoyed success as both an operator and game designer. His amusement centers, in particular the 60,000-sq.ft Enchanted Castle in Lombard, IL, have inspired ideas for operators around the world. Even more, his knack for design and engineering turned out some 50 games for leading manufacturers and his own factory, Family Fun Cos. But his greatest success may have been as an educator.

"Rich loved to teach, mentor and inspire," Mrs. Oltmann continued. "He loved to give seminars and share his expertise with aspiring family entertainment center owners, informing them about the dos and don'ts of running an FEC. He enjoyed helping game manufacturers improve their products or design new ones. He always took satisfaction in seeing others succeed."

AAMCF chairman David Cohen, Firestone Financial Corp., said the foundation plans to award one $5,000 JRO scholarship annually. The first will be granted next spring, for the fall semester, with the application process starting on Jan. 1, 2017. Cohen added that AAMCF's fundraising machine will maintain and grow the scholarship fund.

"We're excited about learning how to run a scholarship, and we are honored to do it in the memory of such an industry icon," Cohen said. "Rich Oltmann made it a point to make this happen."

AAMCF scholarship, Diane Oltmann
PHOTO: Diane Oltmann (r.) presents a $50,000 check to AAMCF's Jim Hines (l.), Holly Hampton and David Cohen. The money bequeathed by Mrs. Oltmann establishes a scholarship fund in memory of her late husband, J. Richard Oltmann, an amusement industry icon. The Oltmanns were married for 51 years.