Blog
April 2013
   April 30, 2013

Don Hanson, PLA, Director of Planning, Architecture and Design at Otak, welcomed a visiting delegation from the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to Portland, Oregon. The event was arranged by First Stop Portland, a Portland State University program that organizes study tours for visiting delegations that are interested in learning about Portland’s internationally recognized sustainability policies and best practices. The UPC delegation, which included HH Sheikh Thehab Al Nahyan, learned about how planning can encourage cities and citizens to make more ecological decisions and to understand the interaction between the public and private sectors working together towards beneficial solutions. First Stop Portland invited Don to share his expertise along with several other prominent public- and private-sector leaders in Portland, including Mayor Charlie Hales.

Don has been an active shaper of Portland planning for decades, having worked on countless projects in the city and serving on numerous committees. He served as Chairman of the Portland Planning & Sustainability Commission, which sets development and land use policies in Portland, and he is currently a member of the Commission. Otak has worked with UPC on many successful projects in the UAE, and the event highlighted the intersection of Otak’s local expertise and global reach.

To learn more about the event, please click here.

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   April 30, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce eight new hires!

Lily Casias has joined Otak as the executive assistant to Ryc Loope, FAIA, Otak’s President and CEO. Lily brings almost ten years of experience as an executive assistant at a private firm and experience in the US Navy. Lily serves on the Portland Rose Festival Board of Directors, and she is currently a member of the Oregon Business Travelers Association and the St. Anthony Parent Teacher Association.

Kayla Gutierrez has joined Otak as a project assistant working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. She brings a broad range of experience working as a project assistant, project coordinator, and administrative assistant. She has also worked in marketing, sales, and property management. Kayla attended Northwest Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma State University.

Alex Walker has joined Otak as a project assistant working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, Alex worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry, providing logistical and executive-level support to field offices across the state. Alex earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts-Applied Visual Arts, Graphic Design Option from Oregon State University.

Nick Brown, EIT, has joined Otak as an engineering designer working out of our office in Vancouver, Washington. Nick has nearly four years of experience in civil design and land and site development for public and private-sector projects. Nick earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and he is scheduled to receive his professional engineer certification later this year.

Kjell Stendal has joined Otak as a marketing coordinator working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. He brings four years of experience working as a proposal writer/marketing coordinator for private firms in Washington. Kjell earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Washington State University.

Meg Olson, EIT, has joined Otak as an engineering designer working with our Water Resources team in Kirkland, Washington. Prior to joining Otak, Meg worked as a designer at a private engineering firm in Washington and at the Institute for Hazards Mitigation Planning and Research at the University of Washington. Meg earned her Master of Science in Engineering – Hydrology and Water Resources, as well as her Master of Urban Planning – Land Use and Infrastructure, Environmental Planning, from the University of Washington. She earned her Bachelor’s degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Russian and Eastern European Studies.

Chris Ewing, EIT, LEED AP, is an engineering designer working with our Water Resources team in Kirkland, Washington. Chris has extensive knowledge of hydrologic modeling and experience with groundwater modeling, water distribution system modeling, and aquatic contaminant modeling. Prior to joining Otak, Chris worked as a Student Researcher at the University of Washington’s Green Futures Research and Design Lab and he spent four years working as a civil engineering designer at a private engineering firm in Washington. Chris earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Gonzaga University, and he is currently finishing his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering with emphasis on hydrology, water resources, and environmental fluid dynamics. He is a LEED Accredited Professional, and his PE license is currently pending and anticipated later this year.

Scott Garvin has joined Otak as a senior design professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Scott brings 12 years of architectural and business experience to Otak, having worked for several private architecture firms. He has worked on a wide range of project types, including apartment buildings, corporate office space, and an LDS temple in Gilbert, Arizona. Scott earned his Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University, and he is currently finishing up his Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Phoenix.

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   April 25, 2013

Otak’s Urban Street Design Manual project was mentioned in a manual that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently published titled: Pedestrian Safety: A Road Safety Manual for Decision-Makers and Practitioners. According to the manual, 270,000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world’s roads each year. The manual explains the dangers that pedestrians face and offers advice on how to enhance pedestrian safety.

To download the manual, please click here.

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   April 11, 2013

Otak was well represented at the Oregon Chapter APWA Spring Conference, which took place in Hood River, Oregon. The conference drew over 150 attendees, including consultants, venders, and representatives from various local and statewide jurisdictions. Otak participated as a sponsor, which involved contributing to social-hour festivities, as well as having an innovative and informative booth showcasing a range of our recently completed projects. The booth also highlighted our upcoming move to Portland next month, which generated a lot of interest.

In an effort to further our sustainability goals, our booth provided QR codes to brochures on our website, making printed brochures unnecessary. We also held our first paperless raffle! Attendees who visited our booth were entered electronically into a raffle for Starbucks Card eGifts, which were emailed to the winners. The raffle was a success, and we look forward to refining and repeating this process at future conferences.

The conference featured a wide variety of presentation topics ranging from floodplain management improvements to moving the Sellwood Bridge. Many of the presentations were applicable to our wide range of expertise. Otak maintains an active APWA presence year-round, and the Spring Conference is always a fun opportunity to connect with our peers and share our work.

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   April 3, 2013

Tammi Connolly, PE, is now an Envision Sustainability Professional! Envision is a joint collaboration between the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) that encourages sustainability in infrastructure. Similar to the US Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, Envision offers both a ratings system for infrastructure and a credentialing system for professionals. Otak is an ISI Charter Member, and we are confident that many more Otakians will join Tammi as Envision Sustainability Professionals. Congratulations, Tammi!

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