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November 27, 2017

November 15 was a day to remember. Otak advanced into the future, unveiling our new brand to the entire company. The rebrand, which includes Otak and its divisions Day CPM and Loris, involves a complete redesign of company logos, typefaces, and collateral material (resumes, financial sheets, etc.). The new logo will grace everything from letterheads to company trucks. 

The logo is designed to “represent Otak’s foundational benefit to our clients – a convergence of people, disciplines, services, and companies moving toward a common horizon.” 

Soon to follow the rebrand will be the unveiling of our new website.

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October 20, 2017

Otak sponsored and attended the Architectural Foundation of Oregon’s annual Honored Citizen Dinner. This year’s dinner honored Donald J. Stastny, who worked side by side with Otak on architecture work at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.

As part of the festivities, Otak sponsored a Giant Jenga competition as a fundraiser which was a big hit! 

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July 26, 2017

Tuesday, July 18 marked the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Cascades Tissue converting plant in Scappoose, OR. The plant will convert 4,600-pound rolls of paper into various commercial and household paper products. Among the prominent Oregon dignitaries in attendance were Governor Kate Brown and Senate Representative Betsy Johnson. Prior to the ribbon-cutting, Governor Brown spoke about the importance of providing jobs in rural areas. The plant provided 200 jobs during construction and will provide 80 full-time jobs during operation. By providing local jobs, the facility will help reduce commuting, and improve participation and quality of life in the local community.

Otak provided planning, engineering and architectural services for the project. The offices and warehouse are an impressive 286,300 sq. ft. of space in the master-planned industrial area in Scappoose. The building design strives to fit within the local context and features local heavy timber and cross laminated timber at the entry and patio spaces.

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July 7, 2017

Last week, Rachel Settecase, Otak’s interior designer, organized a tour of the Schoolhouse Electric Co. Warehouse in NW Portland. The tour highlighted the many functions of this Portland-based manufacturing company and design brand. The group was especially impressed with the facility, housed in a massive 115-year old factory building on Nicolai Street. “We found that [the Warehouse] is an exceptional model of local manufacturing,”. The first floor contains a Ristretto coffee shop and flagship store, and integrates the product design/ prototyping/ marketing studio under the same roof.

Schoolhouse Electric Co. was founded in 2003, when Brian Faherty restored a long-lost collection of cast-iron glass shade molds he found in an abandoned warehouse. His business, preserving and restoring manufacturing equipment, bloomed into a lifestyle brand encompassing a wide range of function and design. In addition to its headquarters, Schoolhouse Electric has a store in New York City.

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July 5, 2017

On Saturday, June 24th, a group of Otakians volunteered with Willamette West Habitat for Humanity to help construct homes at Allen Estates in Beaverton, Oregon. The group assisted by hanging sheet rock and exterior siding. Temperatures were at a record high, but luckily most tasks were accomplished indoors or in the shade.

This was the third time that Otak has volunteered at Allen Estates, and the project has developed significantly since Otak’s first build with them. Allen Estates is starting to look more and more like a community, with some residents already inhabiting the property, and substantially less like a job site.

Allen Estates is comprised of 2-3 story townhomes which are in various stages of completion. It will be home to 24 families once completed.

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June 19, 2017

On May 19, 2017, the ForWARD committee of the American Institute of Architects Portland chapter hosted Future Vision, a symposium dedicated to discussing equity, specifically, “The Value Proposition of Equity.” Otak was one of the sponsors of the event.

Among the attendees of the symposium was a diverse group of Otakians, consisting of employees from three Otak offices and five different disciplines (Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, Water & Natural Resources, and Human Resources).

According to attendee and Otak Portland architect Amy Scheckla-Cox, “We all learned from some great speakers taking back statistics regarding pay equity, challenges due to work/life flexibility, value of licensure, becoming a parent and more.” Other topics discussed included the differences between Equality and Equity, and recommendations for firms who wanted to move forward toward a more equitable environment. Such recommendations included considering inclusive bias training, pay transparency, and re-entry programs for employees who have been out of their field of work for an extended period of time.

Otak's attendees are planning to hold a lunchtime presentation to share their experiences and key takeaways with the offices.

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May 31, 2017

On Friday, May 26, the architecture group took advantage of the beautiful weather and went on a site visit to two project sites in Southeast Portland that are currently under construction.

The team first toured a 63-unit apartment building at SE 44th and Belmont. According to Christina Kwiecienski, "There are going to be some great amenity spaces for 44th and Belmont. I’m particularly excited about the entry courtyard and rooftop community room with a view of downtown."

The team also toured a 121-unit apartment building at SE 50th and Clinton.

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May 12, 2017

On April 24, EcoDistricts CEO Rob Bennett spoke to nearly four dozen Otakians in our Portland office, outlining innovative techniques that Otak’s planners and architects can use in reimagining how to build cities that will best serve humans around the world in the 21st Century.

In his presentation, Rob explained EcoDistricts Protocol, a framework for achieving people-centered, economically vibrant, planet-loving neighborhood sustainability. Application of EcoDistricts Protocol tools, guidance, and rigorous performance requirements results in projects achieving EcoDistricts Certified standing, a mark of global sustainability excellence. Otak joined EcoDistricts earlier this year to support their global mission of developing sustainable cities and neighborhoods.

Bennett remarked on how well Otak’s values and goals aligned with EcoDistricts Protocol. “There is clear alignment between our organizations,” Bennett said. “The Otak gang understands that the future of city building requires a new model of collaboration, performative design and measuring impact. I look forward to the ways that EcoDistricts can support Otak’s pursuit of our common vision and goals to build vibrant, thriving places where we all want to work and live.”

EcoDistricts currently offers services supporting 16 projects across North America, with several in locations where Otak has offices (e.g., Portland’s Lloyd District, Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood). EcoDistricts provides expertise in the areas of green building, green infrastructure, urban planning, and community development, and offers urban development professionals classes in sustainability best practices, leading to their Accredited Professional (AP) credential.

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March 1, 2017

In February, Otak presented the design for a multi-purpose building in Rocky Flats, Colorado in the third "Sharing Session" hosted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The community meeting, held at the Broomfield Community Center, was well attended by over 100 interested members. Amy Scheckla-Cox, Architect, presented the main building design goals which include a LEED Silver certification level and Net Zero Energy. 

An exhibit hall will feature of the life cycle of the site, which includes Cold War-era developments of the nuclear plant facility, the decommissioning of the facility, the remediation of the Superfund site and the Department of Energy transferring a portion of the property to the USFWS to restore the land as a wildlife refuge.

Currently, the design is at 25% completion and Otak is working with Stantec. Otak is providing architecture, landscape architecture, and structural design.

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December 1, 2016

Congratulations to Josh Guerra, RA for earning his Construction Documents Technology certification from the Construction Specifications Institute. He took the exam on November 21 after taking a preparation course in the spring.

This certification cements his knowledge of project delivery best practices and provides the foundation for collaboration within construction and design teams. Josh put it best: "This CSI approach to project delivery allows all practitioners to understand the full life-cycle of a project, from project conception, through design, construction, and eventually facility management. It also emphasizes the collaborative nature of our business and the essential functions of Owners, A/E, Contractors, and Suppliers."

Josh also would like to emphasize that the Portland CSI offers scholarships to emerging professionals every year—he was one of the winners. You can learn more about it here.

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August 3, 2016

On Tuesday, August 2nd the Architecture, Planning and Design Team kicked off their lunchtime sketching sessions with a trip to the Ira Keller Fountain. Sketching sessions will be held at a different downtown location each week.  The team is looking forward to enjoying Portland’s great urban spaces and the beautiful summer weather.

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July 27, 2016

The Architecture, Planning, and Design Group staff and their families recently took time to relax and have fun at a potluck picnic at the countryside home of one of its architects. Along with the epicurean delights and good conversation, a plethora of activities were enjoyed by the picnic participants. Games included full-size Jenga, frisbee, archery, and tight-rope walking. Activities for the kids, young and old, included petting and feeding the baby goats, jumping in the bouncy house, and having their faces painted with fun designs.

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June 7, 2016

 

Ben Bortolazzo | Director of Planning & Design, Portland

Ben Bortolazzo has been promoted to Director of Planning & Design in the Portland office. Ben’s unique talents and experience as an urban planner, urban designer in urban planning, design and architecture, provide him with the comprehensive skills to take on this leadership position and strengthen the connection between Planning and Design, Architecture and the TIS civil team. As part of this role, Ben will also be working closely with our landscape architecture team in Vancouver in association with the common clients shared between both teams.

As Ben takes on this role, Don Hanson will continue to provide mentorship and guidance with client relations and team management. Ben will help guide the Planning and Design group as a facilitator and incubator of the type of exciting projects that are often result in integration of all of Otak disciplines. Ben will continue to be active in managing clients and some discreet architecture projects to support continuity and growth within the architecture practice.

Mike Morrow | Survey Party Chief, Gearhart

Mike Morrow has been promoted from Survey Field Technician to Survey Party Chief in our Gearhart office. Mike has been a quick learner and is a great member of our team; this promotion is a reflection of the great work Mike has done and we’re looking forward to a strong future with the current opportunities to expand our work on the Oregon Coast.  

Paul Pellicani | Manager of Architecture, Tempe

Paul Pellicani will take on the role of Manager of Architecture in Arizona.  Paul has largely been filling this role since he joined Otak last August and has done an exemplary job with client service, staff leadership and management of projects to completion while maintaining profitability. Paul will be working closely with Brian Fleener and our architecture team in Portland to continue to build our architecture business in Arizona and deliver great design work for our clients.

Windi Shapley | Project Manager, Redmond

Windi Shapley has transitioned her role from lead Project Engineer to full-time Project Manager over this last year. Windi has played a key role in our work with Community Transit and is leading management of SWIFT II BRT, which involves a 13-mile transit route and 30 new transit stations in south Snohomish County. Windi is highly organized and very client focused and we are confident that she will continue to excel in her new role, moving forward.  

Sylwia Jaszczak-Follehr | Survey Party Chief, Redmond

Sylwia Jaszczak-Follehr has been promoted from Survey Field Technician to Survey Party Chief in our Redmond office. Sylwia has advanced quickly within our survey team and enthusiastically taken on increased field responsibilities this past year. Sylwia’s work ethic, eagerness to learn, and commitment to quality have been a great benefit to our team and projects.

Tyson Hounsel | Project Manager, Redmond

Tyson Hounsel has been promoted from Project Engineer to Project Manager. Tyson continues to be a key technical resource for WNR and for the Redmond/Everett offices and has been expanding his role to include various project management assignments. Tyson provides a broad background that includes both public sector and private development experience. Among his many duties, Tyson is currently managing work for Snohomish County and just beginning a newly won project for the City of Shoreline.


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May 19, 2016

On Saturday, May 14, several Otakians volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to help construct homes at Allen Estates in Beaverton, Oregon.  The group assisted by hanging joists, adding decking, and putting up sheet rock.  

Several team members volunteered at this site before and enjoyed seeing how the project has progressed with recent completion of several of the homes.

Allen Estates is comprised of 2-3 story townhomes which are in various stages of construction.  It will be home to 24 families once completed.

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May 10, 2016

Over the past few months, two members of Otak’s architecture team have participated in the residency program Architects in Schools, a program organized by the Architecture Foundation of Oregon. Amber Swanson and Nate Erwin volunteered at Rigler Elementary School in the Cully neighborhood of Portland. During their residency, they spent time with three third grade classes teaching students about architecture, urban design and the bridges of Portland. The students’ culminating activity was to construct models of the different bridges of Portland using the knowledge they learned throughout the residency. The model bridges are on display at the DOWA-IBI Group office located at 907 SW Stark St. until May 24th.

 

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April 29, 2016

On Thursday, a group from Otak’s architecture team visited the multifamily project under construction at 14th and Oak in SE Portland to see how our designs are taking shape. This four-story market-rate apartment project will offer 41 units supported with a lobby, mail room, bike storage, a pet wash room, and on-site below-grade parking. Construction method is wood frame over podium and the project is being built by Essex General Construction Inc. for Buckman, LLC. The project will open to residents August and feature large windows for great city view. Neighborhood amenities at this close-in location are the nearby Revolution Hall and a wide assortment of restaurants and pubs.

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March 1, 2016

Otak’s design team celebrated the recent opening of the 15 West Apartments in Vancouver, Washington.  This five-story affordable housing project provides 120 new homes of one, two or three bedrooms, supported by on-site parking and common areas that include an exercise area, gathering spaces, as well as an outdoor terrace above the entry.

Otak also designed the nearby 13 West affordable housing project, slated to open in 2017. Both projects were designed for DBG Properties LLC; 15 West is the developer’s first project in Vancouver.

In addition to providing much-need affordable housing options to an area where rental costs are rapidly rising, the design provides a contemporary new urban addition to downtown Vancouver’s core area.  Live-work units support commercial activities while proving additional economic opportunity to residents.

 

For more information click here.

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December 15, 2015

On Saturday, December 12, the Muslim Educational Trust celebrated the grand opening of their new community center and school. There were over 30 speakers and 750 attendees at the event comprised of local officials, community leaders, faith leaders, and community members.
The Muslim Educational Trust Center is a new two-story community center and school. The new 30,800-square-foot building includes a gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, meeting room and lecture hall to serve both the school and broader community. The school will include 14 classrooms serving pre-k through 12th grade, a cafeteria, library, science lab, art studio and administrative spaces. The design focuses on creating a welcoming educational center and integrate sustainability throughout. Otak provided architecture on the project.

For more information on the event click here.

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August 26, 2015

On Monday, a group from the Architecture department at Otak took a trip to see the nearly completed MET Community & Educational Center. The project features a large community pool, K-12 classrooms, a gymnasium and worship space, as well as a smaller community meeting room and administrative offices. The project was designed around a large existing tree that was able to be preserved.  As with a community funded project, many of the interior finishes were sourced within the community, donated or otherwise.

MET's Mission
To view the mission click here.

The Muslim Educational Trust (MET) was founded in 1993 with a mission to serve and bring the community together through Education, Outreach, Scholarship, and Recreation and to enrich the public’s understanding and dispel common myths and stereotypes about Islam. MET seeks to serve the growing Muslim community’s educational, social, and spiritual needs in order to develop generations of proud and committed Muslims who will lead our community to the forefront of bridge-building dialogue, faith-based community service, and stewardship of Earth and humanity.

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May 6, 2015

Otak will be hosting a Young Architects Forum at our Portland office tomorrow, May 7, from 5:30-7:30. Come enjoy food and drinks while meeting with your peers in the industry!

Our office is located on SW Third and Yamhill at 808 SW Third Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, OR 97204.

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May 5, 2015

Otak was a sponsor of this year’s Oregon Opportunity Network (Oregon ON) Spring Industry Support Conference in Salem, Oregon. Oregon ON is a statewide association of affordable housing and community development organizations that provide housing and economic opportunity for working families, people with disabilities, seniors, and others struggling to meet their needs in communities throughout Oregon. Otak’s Jennifer Nye and Amy Scheckla-Cox attended the conference and spoke with representatives from various nonprofits, public agencies, and affordable housing advocates. Otak has been involved in many affordable housing projects, and we are proud supporters of Oregon ON’s mission.

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April 28, 2015

Otak’s Amber Swanson and Ben Bortolazzo delivered a presentation at the AIA Portland’s Fast ForWARD event last week. Organized by the AIA Portland’s Forum for Women in Architecture and Related Design (ForWARD), presenters delivered pecha kucha presentations – 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each – on the theme of “Getting From Point A to Point B: From public transit to grand stairways to innovation – How design can compel people to move forward.”

Amber and Ben spoke about Otak’s Southwest Corridor Connector project, which involved moving pedestrians and cyclists to and from future rapid transit stops along SW Barbur and/or SW Naito to the Lair/Marquam Hill area. After studying the site’s history and meeting with stakeholders and the general public, Otak created two concepts that take advantage of the picturesque forest hillside and incorporate scenic views of the river and the city.

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April 16, 2015

Otak's Ben Bortolazzo and Ron Dean will present a Pecha Kucha presentation on Otak's Southwest Corridor Connector project on Tuesday, April 21, at 6pm at AIA Portland on 403 NW 11th Ave. in Portland. The event is free and light refreshments will be provided. Come check it out!

For more information about AIA Portland, please click here.

 

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November 26, 2014

Otak is pleased to welcome seven new hires!

Portland

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.

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.

Redmond

 

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.

Tempe

 

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.

 

 

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October 10, 2014

Last weekend, a group of volunteers transformed four blocks of Third Avenue in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown district into a “pop-up plaza” by reclaiming 1,000 linear feet of roadway as pedestrian space and a protected bike lane. The project was the latest, and largest, project undertaken by Better Block PDX, a group that aims to “create inviting and interactive places that challenge the notion that streets are only for cars.”

For three days, space normally reserved for parking and driving was filled with pedestrians, attracted by ping pong tables, outdoor seating, vendors, musicians, and space for painting and art. Local community associations and businesses initiated the project, and restaurants and cafes moved seating into the expanded pedestrian space. Although the project was temporary, supporters see it as a first step towards a permanent solution for a safer and more appealing Old/Town Chinatown.

The pop-up plaza took place a few blocks north of Otak’s corporate office, and we were proud to sponsor the demonstration project. In addition to financial support, Otak’s Ron Dean, Ben Bortolazzo, Nick Tahran, and Martin Glastra van Loon (and his son, Max), helped with setup and take down responsibilities. Otak believes in creating unique and engaging people places as catalysts for urban revitalization, and this project successfully demonstrated the effectiveness of “place-making”.
 
We look forward to our future involvement in transforming Old Town/Chinatown, as well as future participation in Better Block PDX events!

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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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August 29, 2014

Yesterday, the City of Mesa, Arizona, revealed design concepts for the Mesa City Center Design Competition. Otak is one of three design teams selected to submit a 15% concept design for a signature plaza in Mesa's city center.

 Otak’s team re-imagined the project site as the heart of a bustling, revitalized downtown, filled with people. The design features a Living Room Plaza surrounded and enlivened by eight acres of mixed-use development that will serve as a catalyst for downtown revitalization. These development opportunities, which can include housing, retail, office, and possibly a hotel, will attract people to downtown Mesa, not just during special events, but every day. Next, the City of Mesa will select one of the three concept designs to guide the future of downtown.

To learn more about Otak’s vision for a revitalized Mesa city center, watch the video below:

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July 16, 2014

Last week several Otakians attended the groundbreaking for 15 West Apartments in Vancouver, Washington. The project is an 120-unit affordable housing building in downtown Vancouver, the first in Washington State by longtime Otak client Skip Grodahl of DBG Properties, LLC. Otak provided architecture, civil engineering, planning, financial advisory, and landscape architecture services for the project, which is scheduled for completion in June 2015. Vancouver Mayor, Tim Leavitt, officiated at the groundbreaking and was joined by Skip Grodahl, who presented Reach Community Development Corporation with a donation of $27,500 to support their activities in Clark County. Neighbors and members of the press and public also attended the event. Affordable housing is a crucial and often underserved element in creating healthy and diverse urban areas, and we are proud of our work on this important project. Congratulations to Skip Grodahl for his 29-year relationship with Otak and his first multifamily project in Washington!

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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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June 4, 2014

AIA Portland organized an Open Ideas Competition called STITCH, soliciting creative ideas to reclaim a site over the I-405 freeway with the objective of  stitching together downtown Portland to Goose Hollow and the Stadium District. The jury, including Otak’s Martin Glastra van Loon, selected three inspiring winners out of 40 received submissions, and AIA Portland is compiling the shortlisted entries into a book to give to the City of Portland and other local agencies. AIA Portland hosted an event last month to announce the winners, and you may view the winning entries here.

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March 3, 2014

Otak’s Kevin Janik, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, passed his Green Globes Professional (GGP) exam, becoming the eighth GGP in the state of Oregon. Green Globes is a web-based environmental assessment and certification program for commercial buildings, and GGPs, such as Kevin, may serve as consultants on Green Globes projects by facilitating the building certification process and providing project management. Otak’s design professionals boast accreditations and certifications in a number of sustainable design programs, including LEED, Envision, Estidama, and Low Impact Development, and Kevin’s GGP certification adds yet another tool to help our clients build sustainable projects. Green Globes is a product of the Green Building Initiative, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting sustainable building practices.

Kevin has been an architect with Otak for 23 years, and he focuses on design, construction document development, specification writing, and construction contract administration and quality control for residential, transit, and governmental projects.

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January 30, 2014

Otak is pleased to welcome six new hires!

Ken Ackerman, PE, has joined Otak as a senior project manager working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. He brings over 20 years of experience in management, design, and construction of public improvement projects and private site development. He has worked in both the public and private sectors completing preliminary alignment analysis and cost estimating, roadway and trail final design, and construction management. Ken also has vast experience and training in designing roundabouts and ADA-accessible routes. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and he is a member of the American Public Works Association, the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, and the 40-Mile Loop Land Trust.

Laura Kindt, PE, has joined Otak as a senior project manager working out of our office in Denver, Colorado. She brings seven years of experience as a water resources engineer working on multidisciplinary civil engineering projects throughout Colorado, California, Wyoming, Kansas, New Mexico, Michigan, Arizona, and North Dakota. She earned her Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil Engineering from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan.

Jennifer Snider has joined Otak as a project assistant working out of Otak’s office in Portland, Oregon. Jennifer has worked as a legal assistant, office manager, and administrative assistant, and she has experience in accounts payable and accounts receivable. She graduated with honors from Western Business College with a diploma in the Legal Assistant program.

Britney Child has joined Otak as a file clerk and office assistant working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Britney had been working for us on a temporary basis for three months, and prior to joining Otak, she worked for five years at a manufacturing plant in Las Vegas. She is currently pursuing a degree in childhood and family studies.

Teresa Vanich has joined Otak as a project assistant working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. She brings over 20 years of experience in the construction industry in Washington. She recently worked on the Pro-Type Data Center for Microsoft in Quincy, Washington.

Amber Swanson has joined Otak as an intern architect working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, she worked as a technical draftsperson at a private engineering firm. Amber earned her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon, and during her studies, she served as a teaching assistant aiding in first-year architecture studios and reviews.

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January 13, 2014

The Housing and Development Law Institute (HDLI) is a nationwide non-profit organization that serves as a legal resource for stakeholders in the affordable and public housing industry. Kurt Creager, Otak’s Director of Housing and Community Development, has been an HDLI board member for 15 years. In the January 2014 issue of HDLI’s newsletter, The Counsellor, Kurt is featured in the HDLI Board Member Spotlight section.

To view the newsletter, please click here.

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October 18, 2013

Otak’s Lot 5 at the Yards project has recently earned LEED Silver Certification! This project, which is the last phase of the transit-oriented Yards at Union Station Development, converted an unsightly brownfield into an aesthetically pleasing building that provides 80 affordable housing units in Northwest Portland. The five-story building contains a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units. The project includes many sustainable measures such as flow-through plantings, energy-efficient lighting, high-efficiency windows and building envelope, linoleum floors, and materials with highly recycled content. We are proud to add Lot 5 to our portfolio of LEED Certified projects!

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October 15, 2013

Ron Dean, Otak architect, created an attractive display board of our Lot 5 at the Yards project for this year’s AIA Portland Design Awards People’s Choice exhibit. The boards are on display in Portland’s Pioneer Place Mall, across the street from our Portland office. The public has the opportunity to view the display boards and vote for your favorites by clicking here.

Lot 5 is an 80-unit affordable housing project in Northwest Portland and recently achieved a LEED Silver rating. Otak’s design team included Sinan Gumusoglu, Jennifer Nye, Ron Dean, Kevin Janik, and Ben Bortolazzo.

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October 7, 2013

 

We are excited to host a Design Week Portland (DWP) Open House on Tuesday, October 8, from 4-7 pm at our corporate office on SW Third and Yamhill. The public is welcome to tour our architecture and design studio, view our work, and chat with our designers while enjoying snacks and beverages.

The DWP Open House is part of the Portland Design Festival, which is an annual city-wide celebration showcasing the full-spectrum of design disciplines. Otak is proud to be an event-level sponsor of this year's Festival, and we look forward to meeting you at our open house!

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July 9, 2013

Portland’s Mayor, Charlie Hales, was pleased to host the 50th International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference in Portland, Oregon, from June 23-27, 2013. Mayor Hales has been a Board Member of IMCL since before his election, and he was joined by mayors of several other cities, urban thought leaders, and experts from Australia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. The conference explored the theme of “Reshaping Suburbia into Healthy Communities.”

Kurt Creager, Otak’s Director of Housing and Community Development, teamed with Paul Peninger, Principal at Bay Area Urban Economics, to deliver a juried paper at the conference entitled “Creating and Sustaining Inclusive and Equitable Communities in the Western USA.” Their thesis demonstrated that: “If financing techniques are linked to planning and development methods as communities are retrofitted with high capacity transit, then it is possible to create and sustain equity for low and moderate income families and individuals.”

The IMCL Conferences are a joint effort of the IMCL Council (USA), University of Notre Dame School of Architecture (USA), Venice University Department of Urban Planning (Italy), German Institute for Urbanism (Germany), Associazione Culturale Polis (Italy), Urban Initiatives (USA), Urban Alternatives (USA), and the University of Ulm Medical School (Germany).

For more information, contact Kurt Creager at kurt.creager@otak.com.

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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

Otak recently received a certificate of appreciation from the Shaw Contract Group for recognition of environmental stewardship! As part of the tenant improvements for our new Portland office, our architects were able to return approximately 3,918 pounds of post-consumer carpet back to the manufacturer to be recycled. This decision helped eliminate almost 4,000 pounds of landfill waste!

Recycling the old carpet is only one of many sustainable elements that Otak architects incorporated into the Portland office design. Other sustainable design features include energy-efficient lighting with daylight sensors and occupancy sensors, low-emitting materials, and materials reuse. We are pursuing LEED Commercial Interiors Silver certification.

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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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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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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 29, 2012

The Washington State Housing Finance Commission’s October newsletter features an extensive article about the creation of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (the Alliance). The Alliance is the lead champion in advocating for decent, safe and affordable housing in Washington State. One of the people who helped shape this organization is Kurt Creager, Otak’s Director of Housing & Community Development. Kurt recounts his experience as a founder one of the precursors to the Alliance, The Washington State Housing Congress when he was President of the Washington Coalition for Rural Housing (WCRH). The WCRH provided the startup money to establish the Congress.  Creager later went on to manage King County’s Housing and Economic Development programs and the Vancouver Housing Authority before affiliating with Otak, Inc.

To read the full article, please click here.

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September 12, 2012

The Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge has recently received three more prestigious awards!

Valley Forward recognized the bridge for an Environmental Excellence Award in the Buildings and Structures – Industrial and Public Works category. This award is given to distinguished projects that demonstrate a high level of environmental commitment and contribute to Salt River Valley’s overall sustainability. 120 entries were received in six categories, and Otak’s Brad Bielenberg will attend the awards banquet held on September 29 at the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Engineering News Record (ENR) chose the bridge as one of the Southwest’s Best Projects of 2012. ENR received 138 entries for projects located in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, and an awards banquet will be held on November 27 at Renaissance Downtown Phoenix.

The National Council of Structural Engineers Associations (NCSEA) awarded the bridge a 2012 Excellence in Structural Engineering Award. One winner from each category will be chosen as an “Outstanding Project” at the Awards Ceremony on October 5 at the NCSEA 20th Annual Conference at the Hilton Frontenac in St. Louis, Missouri.

We feel fortunate that our hard work as part of the TY Lin team has resulted in a structure that has been well-received by both our peers and the general public.

To learn more about the Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge project and Otak's involvement, please click here.

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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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July 3, 2012

The Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge project recently won two prestigious awards! The first is a National Steel Bridge Alliance Prize Bridge Award in the Special Purpose category. The National Steel Bridge Alliance has honored outstanding and innovative steel bridges in the US since 1928, and the Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge was one of six bridges to receive a Prize Bridge Award this year. The second award is a Project of the Year Award given by the Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association. The project received the award in the category of Structures $5 to $25 million. We are honored to be part of the TYLin team that received both of these awards and thank these organizations for recognizing this project.

 

To learn more about the Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge and Otak’s involvement, please click here.

 

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June 20, 2012

 

On June 7, 2012, Otak’s urban designers, Ben Bortolazzo and Martin Glastra van Loon, were invited to participate in an intensive day-long workshop focused on Portland’s developing Central City 2035 plan (CC2035). The purpose of the workshop, organized by the Portland chapters of the AIA, ASLA and APA, was to assist the City of Portland as it moves forward with its CC2035 planning process. CC2035 is an update to the 1988 Central City Plan, which is the existing plan and policy for the downtown and central areas of Portland. In coordination with the Portland Plan, CC2035 will address challenges and opportunities in the Central City to ensure that this unique economic, transportation, cultural and educational hub will continue to be a vibrant resource over the next 25 years. Throughout the workshop, Ben and Martin explored issues, developed concepts and tested ideas with city leadership, staff and fellow professionals. Results of the successful workshop were displayed to the public as part of Portland’s monthly “First Thursday” art gallery visitation event.


Submitted by Martin Glastra Van Loon

 

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March 6, 2012

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

Andrew Midwood has joined Otak as Federal Business Development Director working out of Colorado. Andrew has over ten years of experience in strategic business development and complex selling strategies with an emphasis on business to government marketing, relationship development and lead generation. Throughout his career in business development, Andrew has demonstrated a knack for building and managing new markets and facilitating relations with various governmental organizations. He earned his MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver and his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Kurt Creager has joined Otak as Housing & Community Development Director working out of our Vancouver office. Kurt has over 30 years of experience working with policy, program and project implementation. In recent years, he has focused on place making and community building through mixed-income and mixed-use development projects in the Seattle, Portland/Vancouver, Phoenix, and Los Angeles areas. As a public official, Mr. Creager has worked in planning and management positions responsible for local and regional land use, housing, economic development, and environmental plans and policy. Mr. Creager served 15 years as CEO of the Vancouver Housing Authority where he produced over 3,500 dwellings in Southwest Washington State. Before joining Otak, Kurt served as the Executive Director of the Stardust Center at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and President of Urbanist Solutions. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he was a Fannie Mae Fellow in the State and Local Public Executive Program; the University of Washington’s Cascade Management Institute, and Western Washington University, where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Planning and Architectural Graphics.

Chris Rayasam has joined Otak as Chief Financial Officer. Chris began his career at Balboa Capital Corporation where he worked as SQL DBA. He later joined AECOM/Boyle Engineering Corporation, where he held the positions of Senior Finance Manager/Assistant Controller, Senior Manager of Business Analysis/Finance, and Manager of Development. He led Boyle Engineering’s implementation of financial systems to Deltek Vision in addition to leading real estate transactions in the western region at AECOM. In each phase of his career, Mr. Rayasam has utilized his proficiency in IT and finance to run businesses more efficiently. Prior to joining Otak, Mr. Rayasam was the Corporate Controller and Director of IT for Hemmera Invirochem Inc. Mr. Rayasam earned both his MBA and Bachelor of Science in Computer Sciences from the University of California.

Sara Mahoney has joined Otak as Intern Architect our Lake Oswego office. Prior to joining Otak, Sara served as Architectural Intern at MulvannyG2 Architecture in Portland. She has also provided green design and consulting services for Mahoney Homes, LLC, in Beaverton and participated in the AmeriCorps program as an Outreach/Marketing Coordinator. She was responsible for educating the community of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, about sustainable living. Sara received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

Melanie McCandless has joined Otak’s Water Resources team in Lake Oswego as an Engineering Designer. Melanie began her career as an AmeriCorps Volunteer for the City of Gresham’s Natural Resources Program. Her responsibilities included developing geospatial models, groundwater hydrologic monitoring, creating relational databases and supervising the restoration of riparian vegetation along a degraded urban stream. She later worked for the City of Gresham on an on-call basis. Ms. McCandless received her Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering: Water Resources from Portland State University, and dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies: Policy & Economics from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Lloyd Fonger has joined Otak as an accountant in our Lake Oswego office. Lloyd has almost 15 years of experience working in accounting for such diverse firms as Command Management Systems; Things From Another World, Inc.; Dark Horse Comics; Mail-Well Envelope, Inc., and Photogroup, Inc. Lloyd studied computer information systems at the DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix, Arizona.

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February 7, 2012

Otak’s Ron Dean and Dalton Geny are now LEED Green Associates! They join many other LEED accredited professionals at Otak who are putting into practice our core value of sustainability, and we applaud them both for passing the LEED Green Associate test. Congratulations Ron and Dalton!

 

          

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October 24, 2011

Otak recently hired Emily Leete, a project assistant for Otak’s Architecture and Planning group in the Lake Oswego office. She has 15 years of experience working in the architecture and engineering industry in various administrative roles. Emily has experience in InDesign, Deltek and a variety of other software.

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June 17, 2011

Don Larry, an architect, recently joined Otak’s Tempe office. Don received his Bachelor of Architecture from Arizona State University in 1972, then taught there 10 years starting in 1988. He has lived and worked in Wales, London, Beijing, and Arizona, and has designed projects in Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, China, and Philippines.

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June 8, 2011

On May 19th five firms were honored at the AIA Washington Council’s 2011 Civic Design Award ceremony at the ACT Theater in Seattle. To qualify, projects had to have been publically funded and designed in the last six years.

Seven awards were given (two Honor, four Merit, and one People’s Choice). Selected from many great entries, Otak was awarded a Merit Award for the Sound Transit Link Light Rail - Beacon Hill Station. Merit awards went to civic architecture with beauty and function.

Jury members said that winners were chosen due to their use of innovation, material selection, and integration that created a design that enhances the built environment.

 

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May 27, 2011

The capital campaign for the new Muslim Educational Trust Community Center got a boost Saturday night with their annual fundraiser at the PSU Ballroom. Jennifer Nye, architect at Otak, presented the latest design for the community center. Otak architects began work on the latest phase of the project in February of this year. The current design is 35,000 square feet and includes a gym, indoor pool, library, art studio, science lab, lecture hall, lunchroom, commercial kitchen, and 14 classrooms. Groundbreaking for the community center is expected by the end of the year.

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May 4, 2011

A few Otakians participated in Pub Trivia at Players last night for a team building event...

With the opening pitch, Martin hit it out of the park for a "parfait" answer (French word for a type of ice cream that translates to perfect)! Rainman Kilby pulled a "tornado" out of thin air to whirl the team into second place at the half. Unfortunately, we crashed and burned with our lack of knowledge in NASCAR racing, and apparently need to ask for forgiveness for our lack of knowledge in religious studies. But, in true Vegas style, we went all in (gotta go big or stay home) and wagered the maximum points to correctly answer a five-part final bonus question with our resident lushes (DH, Leslie, and Kaitlin); who knew Dan Aykroyd's signature drink includes vodka, Dr. Dre's is congnac, and Danny DeVito's is a Limoncello?!?! With our trivia skills and beginners luck, we were able to pull it out in the clutch for the victory!

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