Patricia Kotze's work often deals with life's shadowy side

DOWNEY - Patricia A. Kotze-Ramos, president and co-founder of Diversified Risk Management, Inc., has in the course of over 25 years managed several thousands of workplace probes into wrongdoing/crimes against both large and small companies that she has become expert at workplace investigations, litigation strategy, and investigative procedures.Born, raised, and educated in Pleasantville, New York where her mom once worked for the Reader's Digest, Pat came to Downey in 2005 by way of Santa Barbara, San Dimas, La Verne, and Denver. She says they decided to establish their business here to be close to husband George's parents in Paramount. They bought the building located at the southeast corner of Second Street and La Reina Avenue to serve as Diversified Risk's headquarters. Pat's dad, a retired engineer, is of German ancestry and now resides in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; her mom was of Austrian-Russian stock. They have two daughters, an eight-year old and a nine-year old. Pat's sister has remained in Pleasantville, where she owns and operates a limo service. Pat started her career in workplace investigations as administrator with Los Angeles-based Krout & Schneider in 1983, which had pioneered way back when the use of film as documentary evidence in court. She supervised the women investigators. The venerable company was founded in 1927. Prior to forming Diversified Risk Management in 2005, the year they moved to Downey, she served as senior vice president, director, and manager of corporate investigations for three national investigation firms. Her work assisting thousands of clients over the years, including a number of Fortune 1000 corporations, has taken her to some 44 states, as well as Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and other locales. Insight gained into workplace problems that have plagued industries in the aerospace, automotive, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, electronics, computer technology, newspaper, transportation, agriculture, steel products, forestry food manufacturing/processing, and law, as well as municipalities, non-profit organizations, and all facets of manufacturing and warehouse distribution, has deepened her grasp of many human resources issues. And the list has grown because of today's increased safety concerns for life and property all over the world. She says her work has benefited these entities through successful criminal and civil prosecution on their behalf, leading to reduced costs associated with employee theft, fraud, substance abuse, various forms of misconduct, and a variety of other crimes against the business. She divides her firm's functions, as currently structured, into background checks, investigations, and training. George is responsible for background checks and training, while she focuses on investigations. Her interest in investigative work, she says, surfaced early on. To supplement the work of her core office staff and 'team of experts' consisting of twelve regulars and four field agents, she calls on outside specialists (forensics experts, investigative workers, expert witnesses, etc.) as the particular project demands. When it was suggested that her work invites comparison with James Bond-like and/or Mission Impossible-like situations, Pat neither confirmed nor denied the suggestion. Long a member and/or officer in several community/professional organizations (she has served as past president of the Soroptimist Club and received recognitions and awards for her varied volunteer work), Pat will assume the presidency of the Downey Chamber of Commerce this summer, succeeding Jan Scott. She says her priorities, while acknowledging the wonderful work achieved by Jan and other predecessors, will include working in greater concert with the city, especially in promoting economic development, welcoming all age groups (especially the youth) to the chamber, and spurring more intensive networking opportunities to benefit business, the city, and individuals. Among her present outside activities, nothing can top the pleasure she gets, she says, in her current ongoing service as one of the 15-member board under the auspices of the California Department of Education (with the involvement of state superintendent of public instruction Tom Torlakson) acting in collaboration with the Department of Transportation in providing funding for the state's underprivileged K-12 kids to assist them healthwise and help them succeed in their education and attain a better life. "I've always liked to write," she said. "Someday I hope to write a book." She says she took accelerated English courses in Pleasantville. She says a few letters to the editor written by her have found their way to the pages of the Patriot. We talked about her other hobbies and interests. "I also love music," she said, "of all kinds-the classics, jazz, international variations, etc. I played the flute through school. I was in the orchestra, marching band, the choir. I also love to cook, and entertain. Travel of course we've done a lot of. We also have a 21-ft. boat, which takes us to the ocean and lakes." As far as any future political involvements is concerned, she says she has no immediate plans. "Time will tell," she said. "As you know, timing is everything. The right opportunity will come. I will say this, though. People need to get involved in the system, need to know about jobs. People need to understand what they're voting for. All I can say now is I'm keeping my options open."

********** Published: February 9, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 43