Blog
   July 18, 2014

Otak’s Water Resources Engineer, Tammi Connolly, PE, ENV SP, has recently passed her Water Rights Examiner Exam! Certified Water Rights Examiners (CWREs) are knowledgeable of Oregon water laws and can prepare water right transfer and certification applications, take water usage measurements, and help prepare for the water needs of a growing population. Tammi is the first engineer at Otak to become a CWRE, and we are proud to offer this service to our clients. Congratulations, Tammi!

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   July 16, 2014

Last week several Otakians attended the groundbreaking for 15 West Apartments in Vancouver, Washington. The project is an 120-unit affordable housing building in downtown Vancouver, the first in Washington State by longtime Otak client Skip Grodahl of DBG Properties, LLC. Otak provided architecture, civil engineering, planning, financial advisory, and landscape architecture services for the project, which is scheduled for completion in June 2015. Vancouver Mayor, Tim Leavitt, officiated at the groundbreaking and was joined by Skip Grodahl, who presented Reach Community Development Corporation with a donation of $27,500 to support their activities in Clark County. Neighbors and members of the press and public also attended the event. Affordable housing is a crucial and often underserved element in creating healthy and diverse urban areas, and we are proud of our work on this important project. Congratulations to Skip Grodahl for his 29-year relationship with Otak and his first multifamily project in Washington!

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   July 16, 2014

Otak is pleased to welcome seven new hires!

Amy Scheckla-Cox, RA, LEED AP, has joined Otak as a project architect working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. She brings over eight years of experience in architectural design and five years of experience in interior design. Amy has worked in both the public and private sectors in Oregon and is well-versed in both planning and urban design. She also brings extensive experience in sustainable design and LEED documentation. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon, and she is both a registered architect and a LEED Accredited Professional.

Jackie Davis has joined Otak as an architectural designer working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Her design experience includes a Haiti Clinic Design Chosen to be Built, which earned Best Overall Design, Most Constructible Scheme, and People’s Choice of Design Competition. She also conducted Living Building Challenge research for an existing building retrofit and upgrade in Oregon. Jackie earned her Master of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon and her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois.

Nate Erwin has joined Otak as an architectural intern working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Nate earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois, and he is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Oregon (UO) in Portland. At UO, Nate serves as Co-President of the Portland Student Action Committee, and he co-founded Quipit, a series of events to bring students, faculty, and professionals together to discuss the profession of architecture and topics within the design field.

Cindy Chiao is a water resources engineering designer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Prior to joining Otak, she worked as a Hydrology Research Scientist at the University of Washington, where she implemented and evaluated hydrologic models for the City of Portland’s surface water source and large river basins globally to enable climate change impact assessment. She earned her Master of Science in Engineering degree in Environmental Engineering and her Master of Science degree in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan, as well as her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Carleton College.

John Edwards has joined Otak as an Engineering Intern working out of our office in Gearhart, Oregon. He completed a capstone project on TriMet’s Sunset Transit Center Parking Garage Redesign where he served as project manager to improve performance and safety of a park-and-ride facility. John is currently completing his senior year towards a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Portland State University. He also received an Associate’s Degree from Clatsop Community College. He is active in the American Water Works Association Pacific Northwest Section, the Construction Management Association of America, and Engineers Without borders.

Eeffet Al Nidawy has joined Otak as a planning engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She brings almost 25 years of experience working on a wide range of engineering projects in the Middle East and six years of experience in the United Arab Emirates. Eeffet earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering Science from Baghdad University.

Asif Khan has joined Otak as a civil inspector working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings seven years of experience in construction supervision of roads, bridges, and infrastructure works in Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Prior to joining Otak, he worked as a roads inspector for a private engineering firm in the United Arab Emirates. He has significant experience in QA/QC, report writing, technical correspondence, and managing safety in construction works. Asif earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Al Khair University in Pakistan.

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   July 10, 2014

Otak’s Josh Christofferson has recently passed his Professional Land Survey exam in Washington! Josh has been with our survey and mapping group in Kirkland, Washington, since 2007, and he has worked hard to achieve this goal. Congratulations, Josh!

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   June 23, 2014

Otak’s Tonya Finley, CFCM, Senior Associate, has been elected to the ACEC Oregon Board of Directors! She is one of two women currently serving on the board, and she is the first non-technical woman to be elected to the position. Tonya is Otak’s Risk Manager/Contracts Administrator and has been active in ACEC since 2003. She is currently the co-chair of the ACEC Oregon Risk Management committee and recently rotated off as an elected ACEC ODOT Liaison Steering Committee member. In addition, she participates in the ODOT Liaison Committee, is past chair and current participant of the ODOT Liaison Procurement Committee and DBE Subcommittee. Earlier this month, Tonya and other members of the ACEC Oregon Board of Directors met with Governor John Kitzhaber to discuss public investment in infrastructure, qualifications-based selection, and other key business issues affecting professional engineers.

Tonya is a Certified Federal Contracts Manager and earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University. She is an active member of the National Contract Management Association and has been with Otak for over 18 years.

Congratulations, Tonya!

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   June 18, 2014

Joe Primeau passed his Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) Exam, becoming Otak’s 17th ENV SP! Joe is an engineering designer working out of our office in Portland, Oregon, and he will join our other ENV SPs in providing guidance on designing sustainable infrastructure projects.

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   June 17, 2014

The Oregon WWII Memorial Dedication Ceremony took place on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day to celebrate the generosity, service, and sacrifice of a great community and to honor all 3,771 Oregonians who were killed in combat during the war. Otak was a proud contributor to the project providing pro-bono design services for the Memorial, including survey, civil engineering, landscape architecture, and structural engineering. In June 2011, Bob Plame, a previous client, solicited Otak’s assistance in working with the WWII Memorial Foundation, Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and Oregon Memorials in the design and preparation of construction plans for the memorial. 

The dedication ceremony was held on a beautiful spring afternoon on Oregon State Capitol grounds with an overflowing crowd of over 1,000 attendees. Speakers and dignitaries included Gov. John Kitzhaber; former Gov. Ted Kulongoski; Bill Markham, a WWII combat pilot and former state legislator; Oregon National Guard officers; and Bob Maxwell, the last living WWII Medal of Honor recipient. Otakians Don Hanson, David Haynes, and Mike Peebles attended the inspirational event, and it was a true honor to be among the many heroes that have served our country at home and abroad. 

As a contributor to the Oregon WWII Memorial, Otak was able to present names of WWII honorees for recognition on a plaque and/or at an information reader board at the site. These heroes have an Oregon connection and served in WWII.

Pvt. Clarence Martin Hanson, Army
Went through Normandy landing and served in France. Father of Don Hanson, a Principal at Otak.

Cpl. John Michael Beyer Jr., Marines
Served for 26 months in the South Pacific. Father-in-law of Scott Sanders, a civil designer at Otak.

John Albert Snider, Chief Storekeeper(AA), Navy
A Pearl Harbor survivor. Grandfather of Jennifer Snider, a project assistant at Otak.
  
Jack Alfred Emlet, Machinist’s Mate, First Class, Navy
Grandfather of Shannon Graham, an accounts payable administrator at Otak.

1st. Lt. Neil B. Faunce,  100th AAF Base Unit, Army
Grandfather of Tammi Connolly, a Water Resource Engineer at Otak.

For additional information: http://www.oregonwwiimemorial.com/

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   June 17, 2014

Otak’s Beth Johannessen has recently passed her LEED AP Homes exam! Beth is a landscape design professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona, and her new accreditation will allow her to provide input on designing healthy, durable homes that produce less waste and use fewer resources. Congratulations, Beth!

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   June 10, 2014

Otak’s Michael Fadden has recently passed his PE exam! Michael is a civil engineer who has been with our Kirkland office for almost a year and a half, and he has worked on several significant projects in Washington including the East Grand Sewer System Replacement in Everett, and the 30th Street NE Area Flooding project in Auburn. Congratulations, Michael!

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   June 4, 2014

AIA Portland organized an Open Ideas Competition called STITCH, soliciting creative ideas to reclaim a site over the I-405 freeway with the objective of  stitching together downtown Portland to Goose Hollow and the Stadium District. The jury, including Otak’s Martin Glastra van Loon, selected three inspiring winners out of 40 received submissions, and AIA Portland is compiling the shortlisted entries into a book to give to the City of Portland and other local agencies. AIA Portland hosted an event last month to announce the winners, and you may view the winning entries here.

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