Blog
December 2013
   December 23, 2013

Otakians gathered in our Portland office to celebrate the holidays with food and a White Elephant gift exchange! There were around 30 white elephant gifts, and a few of the treasures included He-Man DVDs, a mullet wig, The Fuzz Massaging Pillow, the party game Apples to Apples, a tow rope, a set of marbles, and a reindeer hat/ring-toss game. Participants could open an unwrapped gift or steal a wrapped gift from someone else, and the most stolen item was a festively packaged six-pack of beer. While some of the gifts left us scratching our heads, it was a fun time to catch up with coworkers before the holidays. 2013 was an eventful year for Otak, and we are excited and optimistic about the new year!

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   December 18, 2013

Otak’s Denver office, in conjunction with our neighbors YR&G, hosted a Holiday Party on Thursday, December 5. The celebration was held in our offices located in the historic Fire House No. 5, which was built in 1926. Despite the frigid -10 degree temperature in Denver, we had a great turn out! Joining the festivities was Russ Gaston from the Otak’s office in Everett, Washington.

This month marks Otak’s one-year anniversary in our Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver location.

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   December 11, 2013

Last month, Otak Planner and Preservationist, Derek Chisholm, won two awards for recent preservation projects. Derek was responsible for assisting CID Bioscience with their rehabilitation of the 1935 American Legion Hall in Camas, Washington. He led the historic register nomination research, historic tax benefit applications, and grant writing. Six projects were honored at the 2013 Community Pride Design Awards ceremony in Vancouver, and The Hall was one of the six winners.

Additionally, last month the Clark County Historical Society awarded its 2013 Group Heritage Award to the Kiggins Theatre renovation team that included Derek. The award recognizes “a group that has made significant contributions to maintaining the history and/or historic character of our communities.” In his role as preservation planner, Derek worked on the National Register Nomination, taxes, and related design decisions. We congratulate Derek and the team!

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   December 9, 2013

A group of facial-hair enthusiasts in Otak's Portland and Vancouver offices put down their razors last month to participate in No-Shave November. On November 1, participants showed up to work clean shaven and let their beards grow until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. According to the No-Shave November website, the goal of the event  is to raise cancer awareness "by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free." Although facial-hair-growth contests are primarily aimed at men, a few women in the office found ways to participate through donating money to charity. One female Otakian contributed approximately 25 cents per participant per day to the Portland Rescue Mission, which added up to $50. Whether or not our participants choose to keep their beards, we look forward to participating in next year's No-Shave November!

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   December 3, 2013

Otak is pleased to welcome six new hires!

Jason Karam, LEED Green Associate, is a job captain working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, he worked as an architectural intern for a private design firm in Oregon, and he has worked as a BIM coordinator for an interior designer. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University.

John Gordon has joined Otak as a senior CAD technician working out of our office in Vancouver, Washington. He had been working at Otak as a temporary employee and has now joined us full time. John has been working in the engineering field since 1999, and he has served in various capacities as an engineering technician, a project designer, and a senior civil designer. John earned his Associate of Science in Engineering from Linn-Benton Community College, and he is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Portland State University.

Sina Meier, LEED Green Associate, has joined Otak as an architectural intern working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, Sina worked for a small architecture and design firm in Portland where she assisted in the design and visualization of architectural projects. Sina earned her Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon, and her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts: Sculpture from Portland State University.

Marites Libago has joined Otak as a contracts engineer/quantity surveyor working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She brings nine years of experience as a civil quantity surveyor, and she has worked on a variety of construction projects including structures and buildings, pipelines, shore protection works, and pipelines. Marites earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Western Mindanao State University in the Philippines.

Maricel Maglalang has joined Otak as a highway engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She has 11 years of professional experience on highway engineering projects in the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines. Her experience includes development of concept design and detailed engineering design for rails, roads, and bridges. Maricel earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Adamson University in the Philippines, and she is a member of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers.

Mohammed Maqubool Alam has joined Otak as a site inspector working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 12 years of experience in the region, and he has worked on a variety of projects including pump stations, sewage, and fiber backbone infrastructure. Mohammed earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

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   December 2, 2013

Fourth and fifth graders from Cub Scout Pack 419 in Tigard held their last Den meeting at Otak to learn about engineering and earn their Engineer Activity badge. The badge will help them earn the Webelos rank and their Arrow of Light award. Otak Principal, Kevin Timmins, taught the scouts about the different types of engineering, surveying, and architecture, and the boys had the opportunity to view construction plans for the St. Anthony Community Center project that is under construction at their school. They learned about property lines, how to draw floor plans of their homes, and they built a simple electrical circuit with a flashlight bulb, a switch, and a battery to learn about how electricity is generated. They also learned about different types of bridges and were given toothpicks and gumdrops to build a small bridge truss and see if their structure could support the weight of a pint glass. To complete the requirements for the Engineer Activity badge, the scouts will visit an active construction site.

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