January 8, 2015

Otak is proud to announce that Joe Primeau and Joshua Owens have recently passed their Oregon Civil Engineering exams and are professional engineers! Joshua has been working with Otak's water resources group since 2011, and Joe has been working with our transportation infrastructure services group since 2013. Congratulations, Joshua and Joe, on reaching this important career milestone!

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   January 7, 2015

Otak's Portland and Vancouver offices got into the season of giving, and friendly competition, to see which office could donate the most food. The Portland office filled three barrels of food for the Oregon Food Bank, and the Vancouver office donated over 400 pounds of food! The Portland office also had an internal competition with our different disciplines grouped into teams that tried to fill their assigned barrel. The winner of the internal competition was the water natural resources/finance team, with the transportation and infrastructure services/marketing team finishing in a close second. Although the competitions may have helped fill the barrels, the real motivation was helping those in need during the holidays.

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   December 30, 2014

Otak's Portland office celebrated the holidays with a white elephant gift exchange last week. Lucky participants took home such treasures as a Snuggie ("the blanket that has sleeves"), a Grumpy Cat book, and Basket Case - the Headband Hoop Game. Otak provided food, including a chocolate fountain with several tasty items to dip.

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   December 29, 2014

Otakians from our Portland, Vancouver, and Gearhart offices gathered at the Treasury Ballroom in downtown Portland recently to celebrate the holidays. Guests arrived in ugly holiday sweaters or semi-formal attire and enjoyed dinner, dessert, drinks, and dancing. A few special Otakians received awards, including the Otakian who logged the most hours in 2014 (Bob Hawes), longest-serving Otakian (Jack Carlson), and the person who travelled the longest distance to join Otak this year (Jim Hamann, our President and CEO who moved to Portland from Thailand.) Rachel Laura also received an award for selling her first painting this year. As an integrated design firm, our different disciplines often collaborate on projects, but this party provided a nice opportunity for Otakians from different disciplines to get to know each other outside of the office. 2014 has been an exciting and prosperous year for Otak, and we’re looking forward to an exciting and prosperous 2015!

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   December 8, 2014

We are pleased to welcome three new hires working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates!

Rawa Fawaz, PQP, has joined Otak as an Engineer/Project Coordinator. She brings nine years of experience as a Civil Engineer specializing in sustainability, quantity surveying, and specification writing. She has provided technical services on a wide variety of projects such as villas, industrial factories, towers, and communities. Rawa earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Water Resource/Civil Engineering from the University of Baghdad.

Alex Gandy has joined Otak as an Urban Planner. He brings a strong academic background with practical experience in key planning disciplines, as well as enthusiasm and passion for urban planning. He is conversant with the use of relevant planning tools and innovative approaches to complex issues. Alex earned his Master’s degree in Spatial Planning from Bartlett School of Planning, University College in London, United Kingdom, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from University of Durham, United Kingdom.

Aaron Schemeck has joined Otak as a Landscape Architect. He is an experienced landscape architect capable of supervising challenging projects in urban design, planning, and transportation enhancement projects. He is also well-versed in traditional landscape architectural design and planning on a wide range of resort, commercial, retail, residential and leisure, entertainment, and hospitality projects. Aaron earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from West Virginia University.

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   November 26, 2014

Otak is pleased to welcome ten new hires!


Chris Staggs, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, has joined Otak as Director of Architecture. He brings 20 years of project and leadership experience, managing teams and collaborating with clients from the business development phase through construction on significant and complex international projects. He has worked on a wide variety of projects, including healthcare, sports and culture, high and early education, commercial office and high rise, transportation design, housing, hotel and hospitality, and religious facilities. Chris earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from California State Polytechnic, Pomona, with a specialization in Environmental Design.

Shawn Goodpaster has joined Otak as Senior Contracts Manager.  He brings an extensive background in labor and employment consultation, contract negotiation, and human resources matters in courts and before administrative agencies. Shawn earned his JD from Emory University School of Law, his MBA from the University of Louisville College of Business & Public Administration, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences.

Jamie Fleek has joined Otak as a Senior Marketing Coordinator.  He brings 11 years of experience supporting the A/E industry as a marketing coordinator and has led several proposal efforts from pre-positioning to proposal delivery. He has also supported technical staff with graphics and general marketing needs.

Michael Rafferty, PE, LEED AP, has joined Otak as a Senior Water Resources Engineer/Project Manager. He brings more than 12 years of experience integrating stream restoration, geomorphology, water resources, and civil site development. He has served in project management and engineering roles on a wide variety of project types from conceptual design through construction. Michael earned his Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering - Stream Restoration, Hydraulics, and River Mechanics from Colorado State University, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Bucknell University.


Cristina Haworth has joined Otak as a Planner/GIS Technician. She brings experience with complex integrated planning and zoning initiatives at both city and neighborhood scales and has familiarity with land use and development law. Cristina earned her Master of City Planning and certificate in GIS and Spatial Analysis from the University of Pennsylvania and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Community, Environment, and Planning from the University of Washington.

Seungjin Baek, PhD, PE, has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer. He brings over seven years of research and consulting experience with emphasis on hydrodynamic, sediment transport, and water quality modeling projects with 2D and 3D modeling. Seungjin earned his PhD and Master of Science degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.

Shelby Petro has joined Otak as a Wetlands Scientist. She brings seven years of experience in science and environmental consulting. Shelby earned her Master’s of Environmental Science and Management degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Jesse Reynolds has joined Otak as a Geospatial Planner. Jesse brings eight years of GIS/GPS experience in public and private sectors, as well as a diverse background in field work including resource grade Trimble GPS, site remediation studies, conservation biology studies in remote and mountainous areas, river resource surveys, and explosives handling via avalanche control work. Jesse earned his Master’s of Urban Planning degree from the University of Washington and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography/Geographic Information Systems from Western Washington University.


Chad Hayashi has joined Otak as a Landscape Design Professional. Prior to joining Otak, he worked as a draftsman/CAD manager at a private architecture firm where he managed CAD file preparation, drawing review, and delivery to clients. He also developed a strong set of skills by reviewing and recognizing code compliance. Chad earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University.

Joan Hartl has joined Otak as a Project Assistant/Receptionist. Joan has worked in the A/E industry for over six years where she has served in various roles, including administration, project coordination, and marketing.

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   November 26, 2014

Otak’s Portland office celebrated Thanksgiving this afternoon with an office potluck. Otakians brought in a variety of holiday dishes, and Otak provided turkey, ham, a salad, and beverages. It was a nice way to spend time together before the long weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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   November 24, 2014

Three of Otak’s Water and Natural Resources staff are teaching in Portland State University’s River Restoration Professional Certificate Program. There are five core courses in the River Restoration Professional Certificate Program, and the courses that Liz Gilliam, Kevin Timmins, and Gary Wolff are teaching include:

• EPP 221 - Introduction to River Restoration, Part I: Physical Processes
• EPP 223 - Site Evaluation and Assessment
• EPP 225 - Restoration Project Management

Liz just wrapped up her fifth year of teaching with the program, and in addition to the courses mentioned above, Kevin will be a guest speaker in the Project Management course in December, and Gary will teach Hydraulic Modeling next spring. We are proud to play a significant role in this nationally recognized program!

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   November 24, 2014

Otak's office in Kirkland, Washington, has recently relocated to Redmond! After purging, packing, and moving, we are all settled in at our new address, which is:

11241 Willows Road NE
Suite 200
Redmond, WA 98052

Our phone and fax numbers have not changed.

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   November 5, 2014

Otakians in our Portland office celebrated Halloween last Friday with a pizza party! There were several impressive costumes, including a sumo wrestler, Spider-Man, a bloody nurse, and Gene Simmons from KISS, and a few people brought candy and Halloween-themed cookies.

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