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International
August 31, 2016

Otak hosted representatives of the Republic of Iraq earlier this month at our Portland, Oregon office. The Iraqi Delegation was visiting as part of the U.S. State Department International Leadership Program under the sponsorship of the World Affairs Council of Oregon. Republic of Iraq visitors were representatives of their country’s Ministry of Oil, Diwaniyan Governate, and Diyala Province.

Otak Director of Contracting Shawn Goodpaster and Vice President Brian Burby made a presentation to our Iraqi guests entitled American Professional Services Consulting and Construction Contracting: An Overview. A wide range and depth of questions were posed by our Iraqi guests posed and answered by Shawn and Brian benefitting all who participated.

Our thanks to World Affairs Council of Oregon Director Ms. Amy Barrs for the opportunity to engage with the Iraqi Delegation. We appreciate this and previous international visitor hosting opportunities (e.g., the Afghanistan and Pakistan Delegation visit to Otak in 2015) to exchange ideas with visitors from around the world!  

To find out more about the International Visitor Leadership Program, please click here.

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March 2, 2015

Otak is pleased to welcome 14 new hires!

 Vancouver

Patrick O'Neill has joined Otak as a Bridge Engineer/Project Manager. He has worked on a wide range of projects, including long-span bridges, movable bridges, rail projects, and new and existing steel, concrete, and timber structures. His services on these projects have included design, load rating, inspection, analysis, and QA/QC. Patrick earned his Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland and his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University.

Bree Hines has joined Otak as a Project Assistant. She brings ten years of experience encompassing financial, administrative, and customer service roles, including two-and-a-half years in the A/E/C industry. Bree earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in Business from Portland Community College.

 

Tempe

 Laura Martin has joined Otak as a Landscape Design Professional. She brings over 15 years of experience and professional skills in all areas of landscape architecture from conceptual design and visioning through design development, construction documents, and field supervision. She has worked on various large, high-end resorts and hotels, as well as multifamily and institutional projects in the United States and Mexico. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from Morelos State University in Mexico.

 

Redmond

 Brent Deets has joined Otak as a Bridge Engineer. Prior to joining Otak, he worked for five years as a Senior Structural Engineer at a private engineering firm where he specialized in bridge design. He earned his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil (Structural) Engineering from the University of Southern California, and he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Richmond.

 Shannon Gray, LEED AP BD+C, has joined Otak as a water resources engineering designer. She brings over five years of experience in sustainability, water resources, and engineering, and she has worked on a variety of site development and street improvement projects. She possesses a strong background in roadway drainage, urban stormwater design, hydraulic analysis, and flood mitigation. Shannon earned her Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado, and her Bachelor of Science in Sociology from College of Charleston.

 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


Bernie Viloria has rejoined Otak as a Highway Design Manager. He has over 24 years of experience in the field of engineering with an emphasis on highway design. He has extensive experience in the design of interchanges, roadways, internal roads, drainage, and street lighting. Bernie earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from St. Louis University, and he has been working in the United Arab Emirates for almost 20 years.

 

Portland


Glen Bolen, AICP, has joined Otak as a Senior Planner. He brings 20 years of planning experience in Oregon and nationally. He has a proven record of success on planning projects ranging from small area urban design plans to city comprehensive plans, as well as multi-jurisdictional regional programs. He specializes in land use, transportation planning, and urban development. Glen earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon.

Brian Burby has joined Otak as Vice President/Business Development Director. He has led numerous sales efforts from strategic sales assignments to smaller “sustainer” projects. He also brings experience coaching and mentoring sales and business development staff on sales processes and tools. Brian earned his Master of Science degree in Environmental Biology from Ohio State University, and his Bachelor of Art degree in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Amy DuBoff has joined Otak as a Senior Marketing Coordinator. She brings seven years of experience in proposal preparation and marketing coordination. At her previous firm, she wrote and edited proposal content, solicited and coordinated information from internal team members and consultants, and managed an opportunity database. Amy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Portland State University.

 

Denver


Blair Vajda, PE, has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer/Project Manager. She brings nearly ten years of experience in water resource engineering with a special focus on restoring the natural function of stream ecosystems using an integrated approach of science and engineering. Blair earned her Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering - Hydraulics from Colorado State University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Cornell University. She is currently the President of the Colorado Riparian Association.

Julie Ash, PE, has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer/Project Manager. Prior to joining Otak, she served as Engineering Group Director of a multidiscipline water and natural resources team that specialized in water resources, particularly river corridor restoration. Julie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University.

Rachel Williams has joined Otak as a Water Resources Engineering Designer. She brings experience supporting a multidiscipline team with a range of hydraulics, sediment transport, and design tasks. She has developed and updated 1D hydraulic models for existing design conditions on different streams, and she has assisted on designs for bank stabilization, habitat improvement, and flood mitigation. Rachel earned her Master of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Colorado State University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Resources Engineering.

Luke Swan has joined Otak as a Senior Geomorphologist. He brings nine years of experience in flood and watershed planning, river restoration, geomorphic process modeling, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, GIS, and remote sensing. Luke earned his Master of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from Central Washington University, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from Ohio University.

Tracy Emmanuel has joined Otak as a Geomorphologist. She is experienced in geomorphic stream corridor assessments, sediment budgets, sediment transport and scour analyses, and large-scale stream inventories. She has worked on numerous multidisciplinary teams and is knowledgeable in one- and two-dimensional hydraulic modeling, channel and bank stabilization design, fish habitat design, and riparian revegetation.

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February 12, 2015

Otak’s Rudayna Abdo and Aaron Schemeck recently spoke at the Abu Dhabi Future Landscape & Public Realm Conference at the Westin Abu Dhabi Hotel. Their presentation, titled Personalizing Our Public Spaces: How Everyone Can Benefit, offered an animated reflection upon how we use our public realm and what opportunities and responsibilities we bear in taking ownership of our open spaces.

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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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September 10, 2014

Otak is pleased to welcome 12 new hires!

Oregon/Southwest Washington

Melissa Toman has joined Otak as a job captain working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. She brings four years of experience in the design industry, and prior to joining Otak she served as the lead production member at a private architecture firm. Her responsibilities included producing design development drawings, 3D models and construction documents, and communicating with clients and consultants. Melissa earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Woodbury University in San Diego, California.

Jeremy Tamargo has joined Otak as a water resources engineering designer working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. He brings extensive experience collecting urban stormwater field samples, laboratory work, producing written reports, and generating computer models. He earned his Master of Science in Environmental Engineering and his certificate of advanced study in sustainable enterprise from Syracuse University and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Ben Bross has joined Otak as a project engineer working out of our office in Vancouver, Washington. He brings over 15 years of experience in civil engineering, and he spent the past 10 years working for the Washington Department of Transportation as a civil engineer and construction inspector. His responsibilities included designing transportation and infrastructure; preparing contract plans, specifications, and estimates; and coordinating multidisciplinary design groups, as well as coordination with stakeholders. Ben earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Washington State University.

Aaron Richard has joined Otak as a recruiter/HR generalist working out of our corporate office in Portland, Oregon. He has been working in the human resources field for the past 14 years.

Jeffrey Sherman has joined Otak as a landscape architect working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He brings experience in urban design, land planning, open space planning, transportation, transit, and multidisciplinary projects. Prior to joining Otak, Jeffrey owned and operated an award-winning urban design and landscape architecture firm while simultaneously owning, operating, and managing a major manufacturer of urban street and transit furniture. He earned his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Arizona, and he studied architecture at the University of La Salle in Mexico City.

Richard Johnson has joined Otak as a project architect working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He brings 27 years of project experience working on the planning and design of new and re-use projects for public, commercial, educational, and healthcare clients. His experience includes working directly with clients, contractors, and design teams throughout all phases of project development. Richard earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona, and he is a registered architect in Arizona, Nevada, and California.

Skyler Flood has joined Otak as a landscape design professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He is well-versed in research, drafting plans, and both hand-rendering and 3D modeling programs. Skyler recently earned his Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University, and he is active in the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Geoff Brady has returned to Otak as a landscape design professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Geoff brings extensive experience in landscape design and GIS analysis. His specialties include desert-adapted and arid planting design, urban planning and design, and modeling. He has worked on a variety of projects, including master-planned communities, private residences, commercial complexes, streetscapes, and parks and community areas. Geoff earned his Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University.

Puget Sound

Marina Howard has joined Otak as a civil engineering designer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. She has served as an engineering intern at Clackamas County, as well as private engineering firms. Marina earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Santa Clara University, and she is a LEED Green Associate.

Abu Dhabi

Mohamed Sali Jaleelulla has joined Otak as a material inspector working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 30 years of experience working as a materials inspector in the United Arab Emirates, and he has worked on a wide range of road, bridge, and civil engineering projects. Mohamed earned his degree in civil engineering from the Board of Technical Education in Kerala, India.

Ali Mohamed Ahmed Ali has joined Otak as an electromechanical inspector working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 20 years of experience in electrical engineering and 11 years of experience working in the United Arab Emirates. Ali earned his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Menofia University in Egypt.

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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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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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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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November 19, 2013

Otak’s Rudayna Abdo participated in Abu Dhabi’s Building Sustainability conference. She took part in a panel on Regenerative Urban Planning and Design, which discussed the approach of regenerative design and how it differs from the concept of sustainable design, as well as how passive design can be used to save costs and enhance intangible aspects of livability.

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October 9, 2013

Otak has formed a strategic partnership with Urban People and Space Design Studio (UPS), a talented design firm in Beijing, China. Yubo Zou, founding principal of UPS, visited Otak’s Portland office with two members of his team. Otak’s Martin Glastra van Loon and Derek Chisholm worked in partnership with UPS on a master plan for a downtown civic center, and Otak is supporting UPS with water resources, engineering, and transportation design. UPS also met with some of Otak’s designers and engineers and toured Clean Water Services’ facilities, which represent some of the most advanced and sustainable designs in the world. We are looking forward to our collaborative efforts with UPS!

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September 10, 2013

Kurt Creager, Otak’s Director of Housing & Urban Development, has been invited to join the Istanbul Technical University’s Housing Research and Education Center (ITU HREC) Advisory Board by ITU HREC Director Dr. Meltem Baslo. Mr. Creager has a prior relationship with Dr. Yurdanur Dulgeroglu, Professor of Design at ITU and has collaborated as a peer reviewer on her housing policy and practice research. ITU is considered the world’s third oldest university dedicated to engineering, and it is one of the most prominent universities in Turkey.

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July 8, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce the following new hires working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates:

Romel Orbon has joined Otak as an architect/3D visualizer. He has provided design development, construction documents, and 3D modeling of concept designs on a variety of projects in the Philippines and the Middle East. Romel received his Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from Bicol University in the Philippines, and he is a member of United Architects of the Philippines.

Raul Maglalang has joined Otak as a road designer. Raul brings over 18 years of experience as a senior road and highway designer along with experience in flood control projects, infrastructure master planning, and GIS. Raul earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at the University of the East in the Philippines and his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology from Bulacan State University in the Philippines.

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June 7, 2013

 

The state of Oregon economic development staff invited Otak’s Don Hanson and Derek Chisholm to join a meeting with six visiting public officials from the Tianjin province of China. The event consisted of a series of presentations focused on increasing trade and general business activities between Tianjin and the Pacific Northwest, and Don delivered a presentation highlighting Otak’s talent in urban design, district planning, and architecture. The Tianjin officials asked a number of questions about our work and were keenly interested in our ability to collaborate with design teams and government departments globally, especially in China.The event was a good opportunity to share our work with a new audience and reconnect with staff from the State of Oregon and Port of Portland.

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May 2, 2013

Otak’s Rudayna Abdo, AICP, MCIP, PQP, recently delivered a presentation at the Datamatix GCC Nationals Housing and Financing Challenges Conference at the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Rudayna’s presentation, “Delivering Affordable Housing in the GCC through Community Creation and Sustainable Development,” examined the unique demographics of the GCC and their impact on the housing market and emphasized the role of master planning in providing sustainable housing. The two-day conference was attended by regional leaders in housing, real estate, banking and finance, education, and government organizations.

Rudayna wrote at greater length about the conference on the Affordable Housing Institute blog, and you may read her blog entry by clicking here.

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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 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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March 12, 2013

Otak International’s Rudayna Abdo, AICP, MCIP, PQP, recently chaired and presented at the three-day Future Housing Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The first day of the summit focused on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the second day focused on financing and delivery methods, and the third day, chaired by Rudayna, focused on sustainability. Rudayna and Hicham Bou Habib from Solving Efeso delivered a presentation titled “Designing for the Desired Demographic: Dissecting Housing Needs in Abu Dhabi.” They examined demographics and housing typologies and discussed the supply/demand gap and affordability issues.

Rudayna’s summary of the conference is that there needs to be a better acceptance of higher density dwelling among the nationals of the GCC and that housing must be developed as part of city and community development and not as an isolated delivery system. She stressed that housing solutions need to be found for all representatives of the population, especially lower income expatriates, and of the importance of sustainability – economic, environmental, social and cultural – as a requirement rather than an option in development. Finally, it is important to have continued meetings to evaluate and discuss the many ongoing initiatives in the region and to learn from one another at events like the Future Housing Summit.

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February 26, 2013

Fares Kekhia and Alejandra Gonzalez of Otak International participated in the 2013 Abu Dhabi Building Codes Forum on February 19, 2013. The event explained the new unified compulsory building codes in Abu Dhabi that seek to result in safer buildings with longer lifespan. The new system will take effect in spring of 2014.

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February 26, 2013

Don Hanson, Director of Planning and Urban Design, and Gwynne Berkeley, Marketing Manager, attended a breakfast forum at the World Trade Center on Wednesday, February 20, with the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, which was formed following Qatar’s success in winning the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, Susan L. Ziadeh, provided opening remarks, and the FIFA 2022 Supreme Committee Chair, Mr. Hassan Al-Thawadi, Secretary General, provided an overview of plans for the FIFA 2022 World Cup Games and related projects associated with them, including infrastructure, stadium developments, and a host of other services. The infrastructure and facilities will have a strong interest in incorporating sustainable design and green building technologies and products. The discussion was stimulating, and it was a privilege to attend this breakfast forum.

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January 23, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce four new hires!

Mike Davies has joined Otak as a Principal Engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Mike is a Chartered Civil Engineer and qualified arbitrator with more than 20 years of experience in major infrastructure projects throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He has worked on major bridge projects in the United Arab Emirates and throughout the world, and his expertise in concrete and steel bridge construction has been utilized on other specialized steel and concrete structures in design, fabrication, and construction supervision roles. Mike holds a Master of Laws degree in Construction Law and Arbitration from Robert Gordon University in Scotland, and a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering (with honors) from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. He is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Tammi Connolly, PE, has joined Otak as a Water Resources Engineer working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Tammi brings almost ten years of experience designing and permitting municipal water and stormwater facilities, assessing existing municipal water facilities, and conducting municipal water system conservation and master planning. Tammi earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from Oregon State University. She is active in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and last year she chaired the Sustainable Stormwater Symposium Planning Committee for ASCE’s Environmental and Water Resources Group.

Hala Zainal, LEED Green Associate, has joined Otak as an Architect working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Hala is a multi-skilled architect who brings a passion for heightening awareness for the need for sustainable approaches within the built environment in the Middle East. She has worked on several projects in the United Arab Emirates and has a broad understanding of the social and cultural aspects of the architectural profession. Hala earned her Master of Architecture from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and her Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Rod Del Mundo has joined Otak as a CAD Technician working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Rod has served as a CAD Technician at several private engineering firms in the Seattle area, and prior to joining Otak he served as an Engineering Technician for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Afghanistan Engineering District – North Engineering and Construction Operations Branch, CAD Department in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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December 12, 2012

Otak International’s Walaa Abu Hijleh is now an Estidama Pearl-Qualified Professional (PQP) in the Communities category. Estidama is the sustainability program implemented by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and it is similar to the American LEED system. Creating sustainable communities is one of Otak’s core values, and our PQPs are instrumental in realizing this core value on our projects in Abu Dhabi. Congratulations, Walaa!

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November 2, 2012

We are pleased to announce that three new employees have recently joined us at Otak!

 

 

David Richard Jones has joined Otak as a Special Projects Manager working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. David is an urban planner and urban designer with over 20 years of experience in the development industry, and he has served as project manager on a wide variety of projects in Australia and throughout the Middle East. Recently, he has worked on projects in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria, Qatar and Malaysia. David earned a Graduate Certificate in Urban Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Studies from Curtin University of Technology in Australia.

 

Neil Schaner has joined Otak as an Engineer-in-Training working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Neil earned his Master of Science in Civil Engineering with a focus on Water Resources and Hydrology from the University of Washington, and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. While pursuing his Master’s degree, Neil worked as a Graduate Research Assistant in both the Subsurface Hydrogeochemistry Group and the Land Surface Hydrology Research Group. While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree, he was active in Engineers Without Borders where he led the student engineering design team for a water distribution project for a community of 500 in western Kenya.

 

Kaela Mansfield has joined Otak as an Engineer-in-Training working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Prior to joining Otak, Michaela was a civil engineering/construction inspection intern at the City of Redmond Public Works in Redmond, Washington. She is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering. While pursuing her degree, Kaela served as an Engineering Technical Apprentice at the Spokane County Engineering Department and served as a summer intern at Acme Concrete Paving, in Spokane, Washington.

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October 31, 2012

Otak is currently providing full-consultancy services to a government agency for their staff accommodation in Mirfa, a city in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi. The development includes 40 buildings comprising 400 residential units and retail services, all of which are consistent with the 2030 Mirfa Master Plan.

The project has been approved by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), and Otak is now finalizing the Estidama approval process for a 2 Pearl Building rating and 1 Pearl Community rating for the design-rating stage. Estidama is Abu Dhabi’s sustainability program, and, according to the UPC, the aim of the Pearl Building Rating System is to “promote the development of sustainable buildings and improve quality of life.” This project will provide a higher quality of life, longer building lifespan and long-term cost savings through sustainable measures associated with an integrated design process. Otak is proud to be the lead consultant on this groundbreaking project, which meets all new design guidelines for streets, the public realm and sustainable practices.

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October 15, 2012

Otak’s Parvathi Nampoothiri, LEED AP, AICP, PQP, participated in a full-day workshop at the Future Cities conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on October 4, 2012.

Delegates and speakers from various disciplines across the industry gathered at the conference to discuss planning and urban development practices from around the world, with special focus on the opportunities and challenges in the Middle East.

The workshop was structured as a master class on creating livable and sustainable communities using the principles of New Urbanism. Parvathi’s presentation, ‘Rethinking Urban Streets in Abu Dhabi,’ looked at walkability and connectivity as key elements in creating livable communities. Her talk focused on creating pedestrian-friendly, multi-modal streets based on the design principles and practices established by the Abu Dhabi Urban Street Design Manual.

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October 10, 2012

 

DesignIntelligence, a publication released by the Design Futures Council, featured Otak on their list of Top U.S.-Based Multinational Design Firms. Based on projected 2012 non-U.S. gross revenue, Otak placed 28 out of 50 design firms. This is Otak’s first appearance on the survey, and we are honored to join this elite group of peers. 

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October 2, 2012

Otak’s Rudayna Abdo spoke at the Oman Transport Infrastructure Summit, which was held on September 10-13 in Muscat, Oman. The event is billed as “Oman’s only high-level networking event for executives and senior officials involved in transport infrastructure.” Over 140 local and international industry professionals attended the summit, which highlighted interest in the country as the government is embarking on massive transport and infrastructure developments. Rudayna’s topic was titled “Designing Abu Dhabi urban streets to enhance the city’s life quality and sustainability.” Her presentation included designing pedestrian-friendly streets, improving street connectivity and designing street networks to improve safety for all modes of transportation.

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August 31, 2012

We are pleased to announce that Otak has recently promoted 15 professionals!

Principals:

Doug Sarkkinen, PE, SE

Kevin Timmins, PE

To learn more about our new Principals, please click here.

Senior Associates:

Lamoine Eiler, AIA, LEED AP ND

Anthony Gallacher

Lori McFarland, PE

Kevin O'Brien, PhD

To learn more about our new Senior Associates, please click here.

Associates:

 

Keith Buisman, PE

Ian Fabik, PE

Alejandra Gonzales, PQP-PVRS, PBRS

Will Lawrence, PLS

Sadie Reiter

Jack Seeds, PLS

Windi Shapley, PE

Mark Shelby, PLA, ASLA

Niko Vujevic

To learn more about our new Associates, please click here.

 

 

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April 30, 2012

Otak’s

Rudayna Abdo spoke at the Oman Affordable Housing Development Summit in Muscat, Oman, which opened on April 16. Rudayna spoke about revisiting urban planning and development codes to promote development in North Wathba and Al Gharbia in the United Arab Emirates. The summit brought together an array of eminent regional and international experts to discuss strategies and solutions to the region’s housing challenges.

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April 23, 2012

Congratulations to Amr Azzazi on passing his LEED Green Associate exam! Amr is an architect working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Otak’s LEED-Accredited professionals in Abu Dhabi ensure that our commitment to sustainability is being implemented overseas. Good job Amr!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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April 18, 2012

Otak recently had the pleasure of hosting a delegation from Kosovo as part of the International Visitor Leadership Program. The visitors from Kosovo met with key Otak staff and discussed a wide variety of issues related to planning, development, and maintenance of public infrastructure. Few members of the delegation had visited the United States before, and the visitors remarked that they found the exchange “very useful and appropriate to their program objectives and individual questions.” The feeling was mutual at Otak as our participants benefited greatly from the lively discussion with our visitors.


We would like to thank the World Affairs Council of Oregon for this wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas with visitors from around the world! To find out more about the International Visitor Leadership Program, please click here.

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January 6, 2012

Otakians in UAE decked the office halls last month and celebrated the holidays and New Year with a lunchtime feast. They filled the table with food and filled the air with carols, but, like many holidays, the real action involved presents! They played a type of white elephant gift exchange where players can grab a present from under the tree or steal someone else’s gift. Director, Fares Kekhia, got in the holiday spirit and raffled off two cameras to lucky attendees. It was an exciting end to the year and hopefully the good times will continue in 2012!

 

 

   

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October 24, 2011

Otak International recently organized, in coordination with OMNIX and CAD Emirates, a BIM (Building Information Modeling)/Revit seminar at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates that introduced Otak’s clients, subconsultants and team to the design software.

R. Nicholas Loope (Ryc), President and COO of Otak, introduced the event and shared the benefits of BIM with all attendees. He stressed the benefits associated with developing a project from concept to construction using BIM. Ryc also encouraged all participants to move forward in the competitive market by using the efficient tool.

BIM and Revit are one of the key components in providing a comprehensive and integrated service to clients. The benefits of using Revit include creating more accurate designs with fewer errors, delivering projects faster and minimizing environmental impacts.

This was the first event of its kind by Otak International. They will continue to explore new technologies that include all services provided by Otak in the Middle East.

  

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August 9, 2011

Otak International recently hired Rachel O’Dwyer Flynn as the Director of Planning. Rachel brings over 25 years of experience as an architect, urban planner, project manager and department director in the public and private sectors. Her expertise in community development includes urban planning, neighborhood revitalization, historic preservation, zoning and land use administration, transportation planning, HUD grant administration, affordable housing, stormwater management, environmental review/inspections, building code review/enforcement, and construction administration. Rachel’s expertise also includes architectural design and project management in academic, medical, commercial and residential building types. She has worked on a wide range of urban planning and architectural projects, including master plans in the state of Virginia, hospitals, medical centers/offices, university campuses/structures, commercial, and residential buildings. Prior to joining Otak, Rachel held the position of Director Planning and Development for the City of Richmond, Virginia, Director of Community Development for the City of Lynchburg, Virginia and Senior Associate Architect for Cannon Design in various east coast offices.   

 

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