Blog
May 2014
   May 30, 2014

Otak’s Sara Junction Slope Stabilization project recently won an APWA Washington Project of the Year Award in the Disaster/Emergency, Less Than $5 Million category! Quinn Donnelly accepted the award yesterday at an APWA Washington Award Luncheon. Below is a brief overview of the project.

Otak led the design team tasked with the emergency roadway and embankment repair of NW 179th Street in rural Clark County. The roadway had been forced to close due to undercutting and embankment failure caused by stream bank erosion on adjacent Whipple Creek. Site assessment for use in the project design included stream characterization and hydraulic modeling. The design included a rebuilt roadway with guardrail, a new rock embankment to support the roadway and 100 feet of bioengineered stream bank protection, including large wood and wrapped soil lifts to prevent erosion, provide habitat, and minimize impact to the active stream channel. The design allowed for streamlined permitting, so that the repairs could be done promptly.

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   May 30, 2014

Friday, May 16, was National Bike to Work Day, and Otak celebrated by raffling off two $50 gift cards to Otakians who biked to work that day. The winners, Pete Miller from our Portland office and Matt Ellis from our Kirkland office, took home gift cards to bike shops of their choice.

Prior to Bike to Work Day, Otak’s Quinn Donnelly delivered a lunchtime presentation on basic bike maintenance and repair to a group of Otakians, and Carl Larson from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) spoke about bike safety.

While May 16 is the designated Bike to Work Day, several Otakians are regular bicycle commuters. Our corporate office building offers a locking bike-storage room, a pump, a tire repair kit, and showers for employees. We’re also regular participants in the BTA’s annual Bike Commute Challenge held every September. Biking is a great way to stay fit and get around without burning fossil fuels or having to pay for gas and parking - and it’s fun!

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   May 23, 2014

A few Otak staff members had the opportunity to attend the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) annual conference in mid-May in downtown Portland, Oregon, at the Hilton. The conference theme was The Power of Connection: Mobility, Community, and Innovation. The sessions focused on the conference theme of transportation connections, building community, and innovative mobility options. We had the opportunity to hear a three-time Emmy award winner and journalist, Cokie Roberts, speak at a luncheon and general session. She was an articulate and eloquent presenter who is a pioneer in her field!

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   May 22, 2014

Several Otakians had the opportunity to participate in the Pole Pedal Paddle event on May 17, in central Oregon. The Turkish Delight team was a pairs team, and Natural Disasters and McCurry’s Harem participated in the team category. The alpine leg begins at the top of Mt. Bachelor with a handoff to the 8 km cross-country leg. Then the bike leg is next, which is a total of 22 miles and descends into Bend with one steep uphill stretch. The run leg then proceeds on a scenic trail along the Deschutes River for 5 miles with an exchange to the canoe/kayak, in which paddlers proceed along the Deschutes River for 1.5 miles. The last leg is an approximately ½ mile sprint to the finish line. It was a fantastic weekend to be with fellow Otakians, as well as former Otakians and family and friends! We look forward to the event next year!

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   May 20, 2014

Otak is pleased to announce 13 new hires!

Matt Ellis is a project engineer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. He brings eight years of experience in civil engineering working in both the public and private sectors in Idaho, Washington, and New Zealand. Prior to joining Otak, Matt worked as an engineer at the City of Woodinville, where he was project manager for various public works capital improvement projects, including pavement rehabilitation, retaining wall construction, drainage projects, and sidewalk installation. He earned his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from Washington State University.

Francesca White is a water resources engineering designer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. She brings experience developing site plans, drainage plans, construction drawings, and permitting. Francesca earned her Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Hydrology, and Water Resources, as well as her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, both from the University of Washington.

Matt Scarsella is a civil engineering designer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. He has worked on roadway, sewer, and sidewalk projects. Matt earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Gonzaga University, and he is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Jon Yamashita, PLS, is a project surveyor working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. He brings decades of experience in management and land surveying. Prior to joining Otak, he served as director of surveying at a private engineering firm where he oversaw a staff of 35, including 15 licensed surveyors working throughout the western United States. Jon earned his Bachelor of Science in Geography from Portland State University, and his Associates of Arts and Sciences from Clark Community College. He is a member of the Clark County Railroad Advisory Board and is the past Chair of the Leadership Clark County Board of Directors.

Sara Qafisheh, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is an architectural technician working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. She brings five years of professional architectural and design experience with a focus on large high-tech projects including semiconductors, clean rooms, data centers, and government and military buildings. She also brings experience designing innovative and sustainable single family housing. Sara earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona.

Alyson Hendrix is a civil designer working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Prior to joining Otak, she participated as a Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative and as a grader for Engineering Business Practices at Arizona State University (ASU). She recently earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from ASU, where she was active in Engineers Without Borders, creating an award-winning design for a local aquaponic pond project.

Madhu Jose is an architect/urban planner working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Madhu earned her Master’s in Urban Design and Sustainable Architecture from Politecnico Di Milano in Milan, Italy, and her Bachelor of Architecture from Siddaganga Institute of Technology in Bangalore, India.

Nazeer Abdul Rahiman is a quantity surveyor working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He has 25 years of experience of which 15 years are in the UAE. He provides estimating and costing on a variety of projects including roads, construction, stormwater, sewerage networks and treatment plans, irrigation networks, bridges, and high-rise buildings. He earned his degree in Civil Engineering from the Kerala State Board of Technical Education in India.

Tariq Osman is a material engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He is a seasoned geological engineer with 24 years of experience in material testing for steel, concrete, cement, asphalt, and soil. He possesses sound knowledge of geology and petroleum engineering, as well as drilling techniques, pressure transient analysis, and enhanced oil recovery. Tariq earned his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in geology from the University of Poona in India.

Imtiaz Ahmed is a material inspector working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 33 years of experience on a wide range of construction projects. His experience includes construction supervision, reviewing material submittal, material testing and inspection, and inspecting and monitoring laboratory test processes and results. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Karachi University in Pakistan.

Mamdouh Zedan is a resident engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 21 years of experience in road and bridge construction in the Middle East. His responsibilities have included reviewing drawings and technical reports, site inspections, and maintaining records of progress and materials approval. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Mansoura University in Egypt, and he is a member of the Egyptian Engineering Syndicate.

Mookran Mithran is a land surveyor working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings over 34 years of experience working in the UAE on large multifamily developments and infrastructure projects. Mookran earned a diploma in civil engineering.

Benjamin Bandola is an engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings more than 20 years of experience in management and technical engineering in various fields including construction, maintenance, and manufacturing. Benjamin earned both his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and his Bachelor of Science in Management and Industrial Engineering from Mapua Institute of Technology in the Philippines, and he is a member of the Society of Engineers UAE, Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, Overseas Filipino Civil Engineers Association, and Philippine Society of Safety Professionals.

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   May 9, 2014

Otak participated in the Oregon Chapter APWA Spring Conference, which took place in Seaside late last month. Otak’s booth included photo panels of recent and ongoing projects in Oregon, many of which were located on the Oregon coast. Otak showed its continued support and involvement in APWA through our attendees who were active participants in the Sustainability Committee, Water Resources Committee, Young Members Network, and the First-Timer program, all of which are ongoing efforts outside of the conference. This event kicked off the 50-year-anniversary celebration for the Oregon Chapter, which will continue at the Fall Conference in Pendleton.

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