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Landscape Architecture
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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September 27, 2017

On September 23, Otak’s Portland office held their company picnic at Willamette Park. Both the weather and the location were perfect, complete with food carts from Bunk and Koi Fusion, a covered picnic area, a playground, and space for the Otak Olympics. The Willamette River was smooth as glass, perfect for kayaking or canoeing. Many laughs were shared, and the Vantucky T-Wolves took home the gold.

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September 22, 2017

On Friday, September 15, cities across the world participated in PARK(ing) Day, an event in which parking spaces are temporarily converted to public parks. Teams from Otak offices in Portland and Denver contributed to parks in their respective cities, taking the opportunity to temporarily transform an ordinary parking space into a beautiful piece of urban landscape.

In Portland, designers from Otak’s PAD group collaborated with Friends of Trees to create a Micro Forest. The Micro Forest was a big hit—several Otak departments held meetings in the space, and diners from the adjacent Chipotle restaurant enjoyed having a cozy, shaded space to devour their burritos.

The landscape architecture team from Otak’s Denver office partnered with students and local designers to create the biggest PARK(ing) Day installation in the city, consisting of five parking spaces in front of Union Station. Otak oversaw the event and designed two of the spaces. The installation was designed to address adaptive reuse.

According to PARK(ing) Day’s website, “The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space and sustainable design, to generate debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat...at least until the meter runs out!”

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September 19, 2017

On September 16th, Vancouver Otakians held their first annual summer BBQ at Allen Hendy’s house. Allen’s garden provided a beautiful backdrop for the festivities, which included games of horseshoes, corn hole, and ladder ball. The group enjoyed dinner, provided by Hula Boys, a local restaurant, and provided some potluck items as well. Honorary four-legged Otakians, River (pictured) and Nala (not-pictured), joined in the fun. River even scored some points at corn hole, ironically for her owner’s opponent.


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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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July 8, 2016

Yellowstone National Park, Brink of Upper Falls Overlook came in at number one to receive a $250,000 grant!

 

For more information click here.

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June 14, 2016

Otak’s overlook rehabilitation design at the Brink of the Upper Falls in Yellowstone National Park is one of 20 national park unit projects competing for a $250,000 grant through a public voting contest. Brink of the Upper Falls is just one of several sites from Phase 1 of our Yellowstone National Parks Overlooks and Trails Project, which will provide much-needed restoration and improvements to the deteriorating north and south rim trails and overlooks that wrap the Canyon Rim—from Inspiration Point to Artist Point. Phase 1 design solutions include re-routing trails away from dangerous areas and installing stone and boulder barriers; connecting historic overlooks with new walkways; creating safe, accessible viewing areas with new informational signage; and using natural materials to integrate the infrastructure into the spires and Canyon cliffs.

 

 

Show your support for Yellowstone and our project by going to www.voteyourpark.org and voting daily until July 5th. Once you’ve signed up and voted, you can also enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Yellowstone National Park—each day you vote, you get an additional entry! 

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September 25, 2015

On September 18th, Otak participated in PARK(ing) Day, an annual international event where participants turn metered parking spaces into temporary public parks! The purpose, aside from having fun, is to encourage thought and conversation about how public space is created and allocated in our cities.

Otak’s park, Where Plants Meet the Pavement, filled two parking spaces with native plants, many of which were donated by local nurseries. Our park created a safe, comfortable place for people to hang out while learning about the many benefits and varieties of native plants. We also wanted to highlight the importance of green space in creating healthy, sustainable urban communities.

Another key ingredient in creating healthy communities is the work of nonprofit organizations. Otak is lucky to share an office building with Guide Dogs for the Blind, and we frequently see staff and volunteers training dogs and handlers to help empower the visually impaired. We decided to sell the native plants in our park and donate all proceeds to Guide Dogs for the Blind. At the end of the day, we collected $405 for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and all pieces of our park were recycled, reused, or planted.

This was Otak’s second time participating in PARK(ing) Day, and we’re already looking forward to creating a new park next September!

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May 26, 2015

Staff from Otak’s Portland, Vancouver, and Redmond offices attended the 22nd American Trails International Trails Symposium at the Oregon Convention Center last week. Conference sessions highlighted a variety of trails from around the world, and one of the sessions dealt with Otak’s Redmond Central Connector project in Redmond, Washington. Otak also had a booth at the conference showcasing some of our recent trail projects.

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April 24, 2015

The United State Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently published “BLM Tech Note 446: The Use of Color for Camouflage Concealment of Facilities.” The BLM hired Otak to evaluate advanced camouflage technology in the field to determine the suitability of this technology and application methods to serve as a visual mitigation for oil and gas facilities. Otak helped coordinate and develop camouflage patterns and color combinations in different landscapes to preserve landscape character. The document is a result of numerous field studies conducted over an 11-year period.

To view the document, please click here.

 

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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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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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November 24, 2014

Otak's office in Kirkland, Washington, has recently relocated to Redmond! After purging, packing, and moving, we are all settled in at our new address, which is:

11241 Willows Road NE
Suite 200
Redmond, WA 98052

Our phone and fax numbers have not changed.

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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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June 17, 2014

Otak’s Beth Johannessen has recently passed her LEED AP Homes exam! Beth is a landscape design professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona, and her new accreditation will allow her to provide input on designing healthy, durable homes that produce less waste and use fewer resources. Congratulations, Beth!

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April 30, 2014

Otak’s Mark Swartz and Brad Bielenberg attended the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Arizona Conference recently in Tucson. Over 1,500 representatives from a wide variety of state and municipal agencies and consultant service providers attended the event, and Otak’s booth and expertise both garnered positive reactions. Mark and Brad discussed significant opportunities for a variety of Otak disciplines with both existing and potential new clientele. The conference golf tournament was also a success with Otak’s pairing helping to build our relationship with two significant clients. Fore!!!

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April 17, 2014

Otak is committed to both sustainable business practices and sustainable project designs. Several Otakians in our Vancouver office recently received Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) certification, and 12 of our 16 technical staff members in Vancouver are now certified in Envision or LEED. These certified professionals help our clients and project teams achieve higher levels of sustainable design. Our certified staff in Vancouver include:

Ryan Billen, PE, ENV SP
Nick Brown, ENV SP
Derek Chisholm, AICP, LEED Green Associate, ENV SP
Rich Darland, PE, ENV SP
Grant Evenhus, PE, ENV SP
David Haynes, PLA, LEED Green Associate
Tim Kraft PE, ENV SP
Cory Kratovil, PE, ENV SP
Theo Malone, ENV SP
Hannah Marré, ENV SP
Greg Mines PE, ENV SP
Kelly Youngberg, ENV SP

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January 27, 2014

Otakians Mark Shelby, John Longbotham, and Nico Vanderhorst attended the Grand Opening celebration for the new Aquatic Center in Snohomish, Washington, last Saturday. The Snohomish School District constructed this $22-million state-of-the-art facility as part of their most recent bond measure program. The City of Snohomish is providing free water and sanitary sewer service to support this community facility, and the ceremony concluded with an inaugural 50-yard sprint by the captains of the Snohomish High School and Glacier Peak High School swim teams.

Otak provided civil engineering and landscape architecture services as a subconsultant to DOWA.

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August 1, 2013

Otak staff recently attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Woodburn Interchange and Transit Facility Project. The reconstructed and improved interchange and the transit facility will serve the City of Woodburn and improve safety and operations for I-5 travelers. Otak had a significant role in this project. Our work began with a re-evaluation of an earlier Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Environmental Assessment.  That effort was followed by a Context Sensitive and Sustainable Solutions community engagement process and a final design role in the following project elements:
 
• Evergreen Transit/Park-and-Ride facility
• Evergreen Road extension
• Aesthetic enhancements for reconstructed interchange over I-5
• Aesthetic enhancements for sound walls
• Stormwater management
• Landscape and irrigation design
 
The project will be completed in 2016, and Otak will provide construction services in support of ODOT staff until completion. If you want to know more about the project, check out the ODOT project website, which features a number of our concept design illustrations:

www.woodburnInterchange.com

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July 16, 2013

Creating Vibrant Urban Neighborhoods Outreach and Information Gathering is part of Otak’s East Corridor Implementation Support project for the Growing Transit Communities Partnership.

 

What is the Growing Transit Communities Partnership (GTCP)?
Coordinated by the Puget Sound Regional Council and involving partners such as the cities of Bellevue and Redmond, A Regional Coalition for Housing, and others, the GTCP is a regional effort to help make the most of voter-approved $15 billion investments in regional high capacity transit. The Partnership is committed to implementing economically vibrant and diverse neighborhoods and communities around high capacity transit stations throughout the region. There are four focus areas of the East Corridor Implementation Support project sponsored by GTCP: Affordable housing, business retention and attraction, transportation access and connectivity, and partnerships. The Partnership is funded by a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program.

East Link: http://www.soundtransit.org/x6886.xml
Derby Days: http://www.redmondderbydays.com/

On Saturday, July 13, Otak staff (Mandi Roberts, Liz Johnson, and Finis Ray) engaged eastside residents at the annual Redmond Derby Days in visioning future urban neighborhood settings along the East Link extension of light rail. Participants were asked to show what neighborhood elements are most important and appealing when considering urban living. Otak provided information in order to help residents visualize the planned redevelopment of east corridor station areas, such as Overlake Village, into vibrant, urban neighborhoods for all ages. Liz and Finis, urban planning interns in Otak’s Kirkland office, will be compiling the results with the intent to better understand what might attract families and multi-generational residents to the new urban neighborhoods that will emerge on the eastside around light rail.

Using an interactive visual preference survey, Otak captured the public’s suggestions and ideas about what makes a neighborhood vibrant and family friendly. A kids table invited children to draw the favorite things about their neighborhood. Participation was enthusiastic! A companion online survey will be live all summer and through early fall at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VibrantNeighborhoods. Everyone is invited to participate in the online survey; we welcome all input! So please tell us what elements are most important for urban neighborhoods.

Derby Days was the first of several stops for Otak’s Vibrant Urban Neighborhoods booth. The display will also be hosted at other at future community events on the eastside this summer and early fall.

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May 7, 2013

Otak is working with the National Park Service, the Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and Feet First, a nonprofit advocacy group, on Beacon Hill Street Stories, a neighborhood walkability project for high school students. Otak’s Curtis LaPierre is collaborating with other landscape architects from Seattle to help teach skills like map reading, mapping spatial elements, and reviewing the benefits of walking for the students who are participating in the program.

To learn more about Beacon Hill Street Stories, please click here.

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March 4, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce five new hires!

Michael Fadden has joined Otak as an Engineering Designer working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. He brings experience in roadway and site design for a variety of municipal projects. Prior to joining Otak, Micheal worked as an EIT for the King County Department of Transportation Bridge Unit. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington.

Beth Johannessen has joined Otak as a Landscape Design Professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Prior to joining Otak, Beth worked for a private design studio in Arizona. Her design skills include urbanism, master planning, planting design, and graphic design. She received her Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Arizona and her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Arizona State University (ASU) . She is an Associate Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Sigma Alpha Lambda Landscape Architecture Honor Society.

Liz Sabeff has joined Otak as a GIS Coordinator working out of our office in Denver, Colorado. Liz has worked primarily in the federal sector, most recently as the BLM on-site contractor coordinating the GIS data activities for large regional-scale natural resource assessments and developing corporate GIS data standards. She has extensive GIS experience and she developed the data standard and geodatabase for the BLM Visual Resource Management system. Liz studied Physical Geography at the University of Florida.

Andrés Felipe Fajardo Lozano has joined Otak as a Landscape Design Professional working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He has worked as a Landscape Architect Assistant at the Office of University Architects at ASU, where he assisted in developing site plans, perspectives, presentation documents, and other graphics. Andrés earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from ASU and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

David Breen has joined Otak as a Landscape Architect Intern working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He is currently studying Landscape Architecture at ASU and expects to graduate in 2014. David serves as Vice President of the American Society of Landscape Architects ASU Student Chapter.

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November 27, 2012

Sharlene Sherwood is Otak’s latest LEED Green Associate! Sharlene is a Landscape Design Professional working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington, and we appreciate her taking the time and effort to further her professional development and strengthen Otak’s core value of creating sustainable communities. Congratulations Sharlene!

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November 20, 2012

Mark Swartz, RLA, ASLA, CLARB, has joined Otak as a Senior Landscape Architect and Planner working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He specializes in master-planned communities, resorts, themed-attractions and luxury high-density residential developments. Prior to joining Otak, Mark served as managing principal of the Arizona-based e group, where he managed many of the firm’s award-winning projects and oversaw their offices in Mexico and Asia. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Design: Landscape Architecture/Urban Planning from Arizona State University and his Associates Degree in Construction Technology from State University of New York at Farmingdale. He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Urban Land Institute and Valley Forward Association.

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November 20, 2012

Otak is pleased to announce five new hires!

Cheyenne Covington, PE, LEED AP has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer with the Water and Natural Resources group in our office in Kirkland, Washington. He has served as Project Manager and Stormwater Technical Lead on many projects in the Puget Sound region and brings 14 years of experience in complex stormwater design, site development, and low impact development/green stormwater infrastructure implementation. Cheyenne earned both his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a focus on Water Resources and his Bachelor of Arts in Civil Engineering with a focus on Environmental Engineering from Oregon State University.

Jeff Wilson has joined Otak as a Water Resources Analyst working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Prior to joining Otak, Jeff worked as a Staff Scientist and Water Quality Scientist at two private consulting firms and has served as a Hydrologic Science Technician for the US Forest Service. Jeff earned both his Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Hydraulics and Water Resources and his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Washington.

Sami Auclair has joined Otak as a Marketing Coordinator working out of the firm’s office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, Sami worked as a Marketing Assistant at a private engineering firm where she wrote and edited content and provided assistance on proposal efforts. She also serves as the communications spokesperson for Architects Without Borders-Oregon where she has been writing and distributing press releases and editing internal and external materials since July 2012. Sami earned her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Pacific University.

Zachary Watson has joined Otak as a Landscape Technician working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. Prior to joining Otak, Zachary worked as an Electrical Designer at a private engineering firm. He also spent three years working as a CAD Technician. Zachary earned his Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University.

Marie Steffen has joined Otak as a Project Accounting Specialist working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. She brings over 20 years of experience in accounting, office management and administrative support. Prior to joining Otak, she was self-employed as a Full Charge Bookkeeper, and her clients included a construction company and a property management company. Marie earned her Associates Degree in Business/Accounting from Bellevue College.

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September 26, 2012

Otak, as subconsultant to Plan*ET, is developing an update to the Town of Gilbert’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Otak’s role is to provide GIS analysis of current park and recreation facilities through geoprocessing tools and develop an overall map for parks, trails and open space. Otak is also responsible for inventorying the 27 parks, approximately 70 miles of trails, and 3,200 acres of open space. Data collected ranges from general park features to detailed surfaces and site amenities along trails. Plan*ET team members will be utilizing the georeferenced data to help plan for and program new park and recreations facilities throughout this rapidly growing community of over 200,000 people in central Arizona. All data collected is stored in a geodatabase with relational tables that will help the Town make informed planning decisions as the community continues to grow and parks and recreations facilities become more integrated into the community.

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September 26, 2012

 

The Winkelman Park project in Beaverton, Oregon, involves creating a level soccer field, pedestrian path, and a dog park on a steeply sloping site. With 30,000 cubic yards of earthwork required, balancing cut and fill volumes in order to control costs was of primary concern for the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District. The earthwork process included stripping and stockpiling site topsoil so the district would not need to import expensive material.

In order to help ensure the field could be used during wet weather, Otak designed a subgrade drainage system with drain pipes placed about 12 inches below the surface and 15 feet on center throughout the sport field area. The installation of the subgrade drainage system required specialty equipment using laser-guided trenching to ensure proper drainage was achieved over the relatively flat slopes of the field. Water intercepted by these pipes is directed to a collector pipe on each side of the field and channeled to a dispersion trench at the toe of the fill slope. The dispersion trench includes a level weir along its entire 200-foot length, so large volumes of storm water are evenly discharged into the adjacent sloping pasture land.

The project is currently under construction and is on schedule to be completed by the end of October.

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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 12, 2012

The National Association of Environmental Professionals held their annual conference last month at the Hilton Executive Tower in Portland, Oregon. Otak was a Rose Garden Sponsor and attendees included Kate Schwarzler and Andrew Midwood from our offices in Cabondale and Denver, Colorado, and Geoff Brady from our office in Tempe, Arizona. The conference was a huge success with several informative lectures including a presentation Kate delivered with Guy Cramer of HyperStealth about our work with the Bureau of Land Management’s camouflage program. Thanks in part to Kate’s presentation, plenty of people stopped by the Otak exhibit booth to ask questions. Fortunately our traditional booth was supplemented by two iPads which allowed us to present and even demonstrate some of our exciting work. We look forward to attending next year’s conference!

 

 

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June 8, 2012

 

This year two design professionals from our Lake Oswego office lent their expertise to high school students in the Portland Metro area. Engineer Scott Shumaker, and landscape architect Kaitlin North, served as mentors with the ACE Mentor program of Oregon. This 12-week program is an engaging and informative way for high school students to learn about career possibilities in architecture, construction and engineering. Scott’s team of 12 students and six mentors was responsible for designing a bike shop on the east side of the Willamette River in Portland. “They brainstormed, proposed, argued, and compromised,” said Scott, “many of which happen during a real project!” Kaitlin’s team designed a visitor center and students created all kinds of drawings and plans from building sections and elevations to planting plans and even cost estimating! At the end of the program, the students presented their creations to a packed auditorium of teachers, parents and design professionals. This was Kaitlin’s first year volunteering with the ACE mentor program, but, according to her, it probably won’t be the last: “I will definitely volunteer to be an ACE mentor again because it was so rewarding to work with these incredibly talented students!”

 

 

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May 25, 2012

 

Otak’s Windi Shapley and Vanessa Lee helped dedicate the Centennial Trail on a beautiful Saturday morning in Snohomish, Washington.  This project completes a missing portion of Snohomish County’s 30-mile-long trail within a former rail corridor.  The trail serves as part of a growing regional multi-purpose path network.  It is anticipated that the new trail will provide a convenient alternative to driving and promote community health through walking and cycling to destinations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Senior Center, library, skate park and play area.

The Phase 1 improvements include a 12-foot-wide asphalt trail, parking facilities, frontage improvements at street crossings, park signage, timber trellis and kiosk, and approximately four acres of meadow mix, drought-tolerant shrubs, and larger park trees.  These improvements are guided by an overall Master Plan that Otak’s Curtis LaPierre developed in conjunction with Snohomish city staff and community. The master planning, design, and construction services efforts were led by Project Manager Nico Vanderhorst, and included Windi Shapley, Tyler Christofferson, Curtis LaPierre, Tyson Housel, Vanessa Lee, Jack Seeds, Marissa Chargualaf, and Steve Wilson.

 

 

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May 16, 2012

With a proposed federal transportation bill sparking intense debate in congress, one Otak professional decided to lend his expert opinion to Capitol Hill. Curtis LaPierre flew from Washington State to Washington, D.C. and advocated for active transportation programs such as transportation enhancements, complete streets, safe routes to school and scenic byways in the transportation bill. He spoke to legislators from his home state about how these programs would expand travel choice, strengthen local economies, manage stormwater runoff and improve the quality of life for communities across the country. 

To learn more about the benefits of active transportation programs, please click here.

 

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April 27, 2012

Otak’s Kate Schwarzler delivered a presentation at the 32nd Annual National Recreation Resource Planning Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from April 16-20. During her presentation, Managing New Impacts from Energy Development, she discussed preserving the scenic values of our western landscapes for future generations in the face of growing demand for land uses. Communication sites, linear rights-of-way, recreation, private development, as well as energy and mineral development have the potential to alter the character of the landscape and impact the user experience of our parks, trails, recreation areas and scenic byways, if not carefully planned and designed. Kate’s presentation provided an overview of different methods for documenting the visual environment, evaluating the visual quality of the landscape, understanding how proposed changes may alter scenic qualities and strategies to mitigate potential impacts.


The conference, held by the National Association of Recreation Resource Planners (NARRP), aims to educate attendees about current outdoor recreation planning efforts and features dozens of presentations that share outdoor recreation planning best practices, trends and success stories. About 200 professionals from federal, state and local agencies, the commercial sector and academic institutions typically attend the NARRP conference.

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March 15, 2012

Congratulations to Kaitlin North on becoming a LEED Green Associate! Kaitlin is a Landscape Architect working out of our Lake Oswego office, and we congratulate her on passing the exam! Our talented LEED Accredited Professionals are instrumental in helping Otak plan sustainable communities.

 

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October 20, 2011

Otak’s work on the SW Burnham Street Improvements project for the City of Tigard recently won a Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association, Oregon Chapter. Otak supported the City’s vision for a revitalized downtown with design and construction services to transform Burnham Street into the City’s first “green street.” The Otak team faced the unique challenge of balancing sustainability objectives with the street’s status as a major utility and freight corridor populated with longstanding small businesses. Otak provided roadway and stormwater design, water main and landscaping design, utility coordination and preparation of legal descriptions for easement and right-of-way acquisition.

Otak also won an Achievement Award from the American Planning Association, Utah Chapter, for the City of Logan’s Land Development Code Update. This project marked the City’s first major update of land use regulations since 2004. The plan converted traditional code to an innovative “place-based” system that supports the unique qualities and character for each of Logan’s geographically diverse residential, commercial and industrial zones.   

Dan Dawson, based in Otak’s Kirkland office, recently won the James Robertson Award from the American Public Works Association, Washington Chapter. This award recognizes an individual for outstanding serviceand is one of the Chapter’s most prestigious awards.

Congratulations to Dan, as well as the project team members who were recognized for their efforts on the Burnham Street and City of Logan projects. We appreciate your dedication to building better cities, stronger communities and great places that many generations will enjoy.

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September 5, 2011

For the past several years, the City of Redmond, Washington has been actively planning for the Overlake Village neighborhood to become the next urban center of Puget Sound Region’s East Side. Infrastructure development to support revitalization is already underway. Otak completed a plan for collocated parks and stormwater facilities last year, and is now working with the City to implement Phase 1.

As the City continues to evaluate how to give the neighborhood a competitive edge in the market, the potential for district energy is an important opportunity. Otak recently supported the City in hosting a forum focused on the potential for District Energy and Eco-District implementation. Eco-Districts are highly integrated neighborhoods that:

• Are resource efficient;
• Capture, manage and reuse a majority of energy, water, and waste within the district;
• Facilitate a range of transportation choices; and
• Enhance community engagement and wellbeing.

Several notable experts spoke at the forum about eco-districts, district energy, and urban planning, including Tom Puttman, Business Development and Technical Director with the Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI); David Siegel, FAICP,  principal urban planner with Otak; Stuart Yanow, a Geosystems Engineer with Geotility; and Anthony Amendola with Amendola Enterprises, Micheal Weinstein with Urban Innovations Group, and Greg Galusha with MacDonald-Miller who are supporting Energy Efficiency Collaboratives in the region. Terri Battuello, City of Bothell Assistant City Manager and Economic Development Manager spoke about her community’s successful experiences in planning to revitalize its downtown and to integrate district energy. Mandi Roberts, principal with Otak, served as the moderator for the forum.

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September 1, 2011

2nd in the Series: Landscape Architects Tell Their Understory

By Mandi Roberts, Principal, Kirkland Office

Everyone is talking about landscape architects thanks to ASLA’s roll out last week of the “Your Environment Designed” campaign to build awareness about the profession of landscape architecture. At Otak, landscape architects have been working side-by-side with civil engineers, architects, planners, scientists, and other professionals every day for the last three decades. Some interesting perspectives on landscape architects have formed out of this collaboration. Just recently, Nico Vanderhorst, a principal and civil engineer in the Kirkland office shared these thoughts:
“ I like working with landscape architects because:
• They help make our infrastructure projects look really good.
• They inspire creativity, particularly in our engineers, which ultimately make our designs better.
• They all wear really cool glasses.
• They always let me borrow their ‘trace.’ “

What is your perspective on landscape architects?  Why do you like working with them?  Share your “understory” by commenting below.

As for the national movement to build awareness about landscape architects, you can still get involved! To learn more, go to www.asla.org/design

 

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August 25, 2011

By Mandi Roberts, Principal, Kirkland Office

Wednesday, August 17th, may have felt like an ordinary summer day to most, but to thousands of landscape architects, it was a day of opportunity! Landscape architects from everywhere around the United States and beyond stepped outside their cubicles to let folks know exactly what the heck we do! Through canvassing and outreach to passersby in the outdoor environments we design, we enlightened the world about our mission. Armed with chalk to write on sidewalks, posters to tape on walls, buttons to pin on chests, and flyers to pass to the masses, landscape architects (including several from Otak) shared some key messages:
• We create places where people live, work, and play.
• We connect towns and cities.
• We enrich experiences.
• We turn creativity into places, imagination into cleaner air and water, and ideas into strong communities – a world designed with infinite possibilities, all through landscape architecture.

To learn more, please click here.

The nationwide movement organized by the American Society of Landscape Architects was designed to reintroduce the profession of landscape architecture to the public. The campaign to build awareness about landscape architects is just beginning.  You can still get involved. To learn more, go to www.asla.org/design

   
 

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