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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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September 8, 2017

As part of our Dogs in the Workplace pilot program, we’d like to introduce our four legged friends.

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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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November 1, 2016

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October 20, 2016

Great Oregon ShakeOut 2016

On October 20, Otak staff participated in Oregon’s annual statewide earthquake drill, the Great Oregon ShakeOut. This annual event brings awareness to earthquake preparedness and safety and is observed in cities all around the world.

Following the drill in the morning, the Otak Safety Committee led an open house discussion of how the company will respond in the event of an emergency. Based on the outcome of the discussion, Otak is gathering additional resources and refining communication plans so the company is better prepared for an emergency scenario. 

The Otak Safety Committee encourages everyone to gather their own emergency kit to keep at their desk. For ideas about what to include in your own kits, refer to the Red Cross guide here: http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/get-a-kit 

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October 18, 2016

From September 28 through October 1st, Otak staff members attended the ASCE National Convention held in Portland, Oregon. 

Otak’s Doug Sarkkinen, PE, SE presented his team’s 2015 fast-track design and construction of the Dungeness River Railroad Trestle Replacement project. Designed and constructed in seven months, this project resulted in restoration of the Discovery Trail over the Dungeness River near Sequim, Washington.  Otak was hired in May 2015 and the bridge was re-opened December 2015.  Otak’s team generated 10 design options with the final selection proving to be salmon friendly to the river’s several anadromous fish runs and “river worthy” by virtue of foundations capable of withstanding deep scour forces and seasonal debris buildup.   

The trail and bridge over the Dungeness River is owned by the Jamestown S’Kallam Tribe.  A February 2015 flood damaged the adjoining railroad trestle and bridge and associated foundations.  Fast-track completion by Otak of this project restored use of the Discovery Trail to numerous hikers, bikers, pedestrians, and commuters who count on it as an important multi-modal transportation route.


ABOVE: Doug Sarkkinen, PE, SE, highlights Otak’s Dungeness River Railroad Trestle Replacement project at the ASCE 2016 National Convention

The event  was an excellent backdrop for connecting with partners and staying current with the latest advances in how to prepare our communities for the future. 

ABOVE: Jim Hamann, Otak President and CEO (left), and Brian Burby of Otak (right) meet with representatives from leading universities throughout the West. 

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September 20, 2016

For PARK(ing) Day 2016, Otak created a “Dream Lounge” to invite passersby to relax and enjoy a temporary parklette within the city.

To engage participants, we posted writing prompts on two whiteboards. One was a “continuous story” where each participant added a sentence. The resulting story was the following:

Everything was quiet. Too quiet. That’s when I noticed the dragon terrorizing the village. I pulled on the dragon’s tail to see what would come from its mouth. Instead of fire, there came confetti and candy! 

“We all have our own reality,” replied the wizard…

I woke in a cold sweat realizing I was late for work, hurried to the car, commuted 25 miles and realized I only have ONE shoe. So, I took off my other shoe. Then I remembered it was Saturday. I decided to visit the Farmer’s Market so I could hear the bard’s song, the famous and beloved ballad “The Merry Dance of the Sugar Daddies.” 

_____________

The other whiteboard asked, “If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?"

PARK(ing) Day temporarily transforms metered parking spaces into community spaces. Bringing together citizens, artists, and activists, this global event collaboratively brings new forms to public space in urban contexts. We enjoyed sharing our parklette with the city and look forward to creating enduring community gathering places in our future projects.

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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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February 9, 2016

The 8th Annual Beaverton Mayor's Ball was a great evening of socializing, dining, dancing, and bidding! Otak was a corporate sponsor at this year's fundraising event which has three local beneficiaries: The Beaverton Arts and Culture Foundation, the Beaverton Civic Theater, and HomePlate, an organization which helps at-risk and homeless youth. The main event was a live auction, where the auctioneer had the entire room on the edge of their seats and generously giving to these outstanding causes. Otak continues to do great work with the City of Beaverton and was pleased to be a part of such an exciting and admirable event.

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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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August 17, 2015

Otak’s Portland staff celebrated the summer last week at Punch Bowl Social! We enjoyed complimentary food and drinks while playing darts, ping pong, Skee ball, and bowling. The real highlight came when a few of our talented singers took over the karaoke machine and rocked the mic. We can’t wait for the next performance from our musically talented – and musically well-intentioned – staff!

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March 2, 2015

Otak is pleased to welcome 14 new hires!

 Vancouver

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

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

 

Tempe

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

 

Redmond

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

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

 

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates


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

 

Portland


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

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

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

 

Denver


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

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

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

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

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

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January 8, 2015

Otak is proud to announce that Joe Primeau, Joshua Owens, and Nick Brown have recently passed their Civil Engineering exams and are professional engineers! Joshua has been working with Otak's water resources group since 2011, and both Joe and Nick have been at Otak since 2013. Joshua and Joe received their engineering licenses in Oregon, and Nick received his engineering license in California. Congratulations, Joshua, Nick, and Joe, on reaching this important career milestone!

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December 30, 2014

Otak's Portland office celebrated the holidays with a white elephant gift exchange last week. Lucky participants took home such treasures as a Snuggie ("the blanket that has sleeves"), a Grumpy Cat book, and Basket Case - the Headband Hoop Game. Otak provided food, including a chocolate fountain with several tasty items to dip.

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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 26, 2014

Otak’s Portland office celebrated Thanksgiving this afternoon with an office potluck. Otakians brought in a variety of holiday dishes, and Otak provided turkey, ham, a salad, and beverages. It was a nice way to spend time together before the long weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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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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October 8, 2014

Otak’s Portland office participated in the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike Commute Challenge again this year! Here are a few numbers from our team:

226.5 total trips
2.338 total miles ridden
2,291 pounds of CO2 saved
114,562 calories burned (That's over 148 basic Chipotle chicken burritos or 734 12-oz cans of PBR!)
432 - most miles logged by a single person (Ron Dean)
100% - highest commute rate (completed by Megan Karner, Ron Dean, and Tim Ervin)
63 - most miles Ridden on a Single-Speed Bike = Jason Lien with 63 miles

Participants were entered into a raffle for a wide variety of coveted prizes, including bike spoke reflectors, temporary tattoos, a Metal Earth 3D Laser-Cut Praying Mantis Model (assembly required), and a bicycle-themed mug.

Congratulations, team, and we look forward to participating again next year!

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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 14, 2014

A group of Otakians took a field trip to active projects under construction in the North Bethany area of Washington County, Oregon, to see how their paper drawings and specifications translate to soil, concrete, and plant life. The project sites consisted of several housing development locations where Otak prepared the grading plans, street layout, stormwater design, and survey for construction, as well as a County public street. The engineers and project managers talked about their work, challenges, and lessons learned in an example of the multidisciplinary cooperation that Otak is known for.

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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 23, 2014

Otak’s Tonya Finley, CFCM, Senior Associate, has been elected to the ACEC Oregon Board of Directors! She is one of two women currently serving on the board, and she is the first non-technical woman to be elected to the position. Tonya is Otak’s Risk Manager/Contracts Administrator and has been active in ACEC since 2003. She is currently the co-chair of the ACEC Oregon Risk Management committee and recently rotated off as an elected ACEC ODOT Liaison Steering Committee member. In addition, she participates in the ODOT Liaison Committee, is past chair and current participant of the ODOT Liaison Procurement Committee and DBE Subcommittee. Earlier this month, Tonya and other members of the ACEC Oregon Board of Directors met with Governor John Kitzhaber to discuss public investment in infrastructure, qualifications-based selection, and other key business issues affecting professional engineers.

Tonya is a Certified Federal Contracts Manager and earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Colorado State University. She is an active member of the National Contract Management Association and has been with Otak for over 18 years.

Congratulations, Tonya!

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June 2, 2014

Otak’s Matt Klym has recently passed his PE exam! Matt began working at Otak in 2005, and he has provided street and site layout, utility systems design, project cost estimation, as-built coordination, ADA implementation, and mass site grading on public and private projects. He has played an integral role on several projects in Portland’s South Waterfront district, as well as several master-planned community and multifamily housing projects. Congratulations, Matt!

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May 30, 2014

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

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

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

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May 22, 2014

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

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May 20, 2014

Otak is pleased to announce 13 new hires!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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March 13, 2014

Otak joined the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit organization that helps connect local small businesses with a myriad of development opportunities, ranging from access to capital to networking events that help foster relationships with prime consultants. We are proud of our long teaming history with MWESB subconsultants, and we look forward to further developing our current relationships while exploring new mentorship opportunities.

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March 6, 2014

Otakians Rose Horton and Melanie McCandless participated in the Johnson Creek Watershed Council’s 16th Annual Watershed-Wide event on Saturday, March 1. Their efforts, combined with almost 300 other volunteers, had a tremendous positive impact on the watershed’s health. Over the course of three hours at ten sites, volunteers planted 7,760 native plants, removed six cubic yards of invasive plants, and cleaned up three bags of garbage. Volunteers celebrated their successes afterward at a pizza luncheon.

The Watershed-Wide event occurs annually on the first Saturday in March. Melanie hosted the Foster Place site as the representative Board Member and Rose participated at the Freeway Lands site just downstream of the Foster Floodplain Natural Area (formerly East Lents Floodplain Restoration Project).

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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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December 23, 2013

Otakians gathered in our Portland office to celebrate the holidays with food and a White Elephant gift exchange! There were around 30 white elephant gifts, and a few of the treasures included He-Man DVDs, a mullet wig, The Fuzz Massaging Pillow, the party game Apples to Apples, a tow rope, a set of marbles, and a reindeer hat/ring-toss game. Participants could open an unwrapped gift or steal a wrapped gift from someone else, and the most stolen item was a festively packaged six-pack of beer. While some of the gifts left us scratching our heads, it was a fun time to catch up with coworkers before the holidays. 2013 was an eventful year for Otak, and we are excited and optimistic about the new year!

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December 3, 2013

Otak is pleased to welcome six new hires!

Jason Karam, LEED Green Associate, is a job captain working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, he worked as an architectural intern for a private design firm in Oregon, and he has worked as a BIM coordinator for an interior designer. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Lawrence Technological University.

John Gordon has joined Otak as a senior CAD technician working out of our office in Vancouver, Washington. He had been working at Otak as a temporary employee and has now joined us full time. John has been working in the engineering field since 1999, and he has served in various capacities as an engineering technician, a project designer, and a senior civil designer. John earned his Associate of Science in Engineering from Linn-Benton Community College, and he is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Portland State University.

Sina Meier, LEED Green Associate, has joined Otak as an architectural intern working out of our office in Portland, Oregon. Prior to joining Otak, Sina worked for a small architecture and design firm in Portland where she assisted in the design and visualization of architectural projects. Sina earned her Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon, and her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts: Sculpture from Portland State University.

Marites Libago has joined Otak as a contracts engineer/quantity surveyor working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She brings nine years of experience as a civil quantity surveyor, and she has worked on a variety of construction projects including structures and buildings, pipelines, shore protection works, and pipelines. Marites earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Western Mindanao State University in the Philippines.

Maricel Maglalang has joined Otak as a highway engineer working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She has 11 years of professional experience on highway engineering projects in the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines. Her experience includes development of concept design and detailed engineering design for rails, roads, and bridges. Maricel earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Adamson University in the Philippines, and she is a member of the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers.

Mohammed Maqubool Alam has joined Otak as a site inspector working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He brings 12 years of experience in the region, and he has worked on a variety of projects including pump stations, sewage, and fiber backbone infrastructure. Mohammed earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.

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December 2, 2013

Fourth and fifth graders from Cub Scout Pack 419 in Tigard held their last Den meeting at Otak to learn about engineering and earn their Engineer Activity badge. The badge will help them earn the Webelos rank and their Arrow of Light award. Otak Principal, Kevin Timmins, taught the scouts about the different types of engineering, surveying, and architecture, and the boys had the opportunity to view construction plans for the St. Anthony Community Center project that is under construction at their school. They learned about property lines, how to draw floor plans of their homes, and they built a simple electrical circuit with a flashlight bulb, a switch, and a battery to learn about how electricity is generated. They also learned about different types of bridges and were given toothpicks and gumdrops to build a small bridge truss and see if their structure could support the weight of a pint glass. To complete the requirements for the Engineer Activity badge, the scouts will visit an active construction site.

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November 4, 2013

Otak is pleased to welcome four new hires!

Sandrine Ganry, PE, is a civil engineer working with the water resources group in our Portland, Oregon, office. She brings 11 years of experience in civil engineering design, primarily in public works projects. She has extensive experience in the preparation of construction plans, bid documents, construction cost estimates, and construction management. Sandrine earned her Master of Civil Engineering in Water Resources from the University of Montpellier in Montpellier, France, and she is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Tom Green, PE, is a civil engineer working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He brings eight years of experience working as an engineer in both the public and private sectors. He has managed project teams to develop civil improvement plans for commercial and residential projects and engineered subdivisions of master-planned communities. Tom earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University.

Kelly Youngberg, EIT, is a water resources engineering designer working out of our office in Vancouver, Washington. She is experienced withdesign, analysis, and construction management. Kelly is skilled in hydraulic and hydrologic modeling and the analysis of stormwater systems. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Portland.

Lara Holimon has joined Otak as a GIS Intern working out of our office in Denver, Colorado. She has experience working as a GIS analyst for the University of Florida and as a CAD operator for a private architecture firm. Lara earned her Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning and her Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Sociology from the University of Florida. She is a member of GIS Colorado.

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October 10, 2013

 

Last Saturday, Dr. Lauren Allsopp, Adjunct Instructor of Historic Preservation at the University of Oregon, brought a group of her students to Otak’s Portland office to discuss green preservation and relevant projects in the Portland area. Don Hanson, Otak’s Director of Planning and Design, led the discussion and focused on changes he has seen while serving on the Portland Planning Commission. Otak’s Derek Chisholm also shared his experience in green preservation projects, as well as research he’s performed on the topic. The students toured Otak’s office in the historic Director Building and visited case-study sites. We thank Dr. Allsopp and her students for stopping by!

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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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October 2, 2013

 

On Monday, September 23, Otak hosted an open house at our Portland office. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, and Jordan Schnitzer from Harsch Investment Properties were featured guests along with over 200 clients, teaming partners, and friends and family spanning our 32-year history. Otak’s President and CEO, R. Nicholas Loope, FAIA, provided brief remarks about Otak’s new downtown location, as did Congressman Blumenauer and Mayor Hales. The event provided a wonderful opportunity for Otak staff to tell guests about our services and exciting projects while enjoying beverages and appetizers. We thank everyone who attended, sponsored, and worked at the event and helped make it a memorable evening!

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September 30, 2013

Otak's Portland office participated in this year's Bike Commute Challenge. The challenge is a competition to see who can bike to work more during the month of September. Our team logged over 1,450 miles in over 160 trips. The Bike Commute Challenge is a fun way to get some exercise and empower people to explore biking as a form of transportation. The Bike Commute Challenge is organized by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), which is a non-profit organization working to promote bicycling and improve bicycling conditions in Oregon.

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September 30, 2013

On Friday, September 20, Otak's Portland office participated in PARK(ing) Day, an annual international event where groups and individuals transform metered parking spaces into temporary public places. We converted the spot in front of our corporate office on SW Third Avenue and Yamhill Street into an interactive rock garden where people could use paint pens to draw or write on the rocks about their favorite places or why they were drawn to Portland. PARK(ing) Day draws attention to how much of our cities are reserved for movement and parking of cars, and tries to reclaim little pockets of that space for people to meet, congregate, and express themselves.

We thank all of the enthusiastic participants who helped make our first PARK(ing) Day a success, and we look forward to next year's event!

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September 26, 2013

Otak is pleased to welcome seven new hires!

Liz Gilliam has joined our office in Portland, Oregon, as a senior geomorphologist. She has been active in geomorphic studies, both on-the-ground measurements and decision-making, for many years. She brings more than a decade of practical experience in project development, management, implementation, and innovative technical analyses. She has been an adjunct professor in Portland State University’s Environmental Professional Program since 2009. Liz earned her Master of Science degree in Geomorphology from Colorado State University and she double majored in Geology and Geography/GIS from Western Michigan University.

Lorna Dominguez has joined our Denver, Colorado, office as a project assistant. She brings over 12 years of administrative and marketing experience, having led several successful proposal efforts on large projects in California and Colorado for private firms. Lorna earned her Master of Arts in Education, Pupil Personnel Services - Guidance Counseling from Azusa Pacific University and her Bachelor of Science in English Education from eastern Montana College.

Trista Kobluskie has joined our Vancouver, Washington, office as a stormwater planner. She is an experienced project manager and administrator in both government and the private sector, with strong knowledge of the Phase I Western Washington Municipal Stormwater Permit, as well as Clark County’s stormwater compliance program and MS4 infrastructure management. She wrote the 2010 Clark County Stormwater Management Plan, the first of its kind for a Phase I municipal stormwater permittee in Washington. Trista earned her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Drew University and received graduate instruction in GIS from Portland State University.

John Longbotham has joined our Kirkland, Washington, office as a civil engineering intern. He is a certified Engineer-in-Training currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Seattle University. His previous work experience includes an internship with the City of Woodinville Public Works Department.

Joni Lund has joined our Kirkland, Washington, office as a CAD technician. She has served as a CAD drafter, engineering technician, and CAD project manager for engineering firms in Washington and Texas and had been working at Otak as a temporary employee for the past few months. Joni earned her Associate of Arts in Technical Arts and Civil Engineering from Bates Technical College.

Melissa Johnson has joined our Portland, Oregon, office as a strategic planning manager. She brings more than 20 years of experience in marketing, business development, strategic planning, and organizational development. She earned her Master of Arts in Organization Design and Renewal from Seattle University and her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Western Washington University. Melissa is a Certified Professional Services Marketer and has received her Living Systems Theory and Application Professional Development Certification. She is the past Oregon Chapter President of the Society for Marketing Professional Services and she is a member of the Organizational Development Network and Degrees of Transition, LLC, Advisory Board.

Tim Ervin has joined our Portland, Oregon, office as a project assistant. Prior to Otak, Tim served as a project administrator/project management assistant at an engineering firm, where he was responsible for document control, quality management and reporting, proofing construction documents and drawings, and office management. He also brings more than a decade of project management experience in publishing and is a LEED Green Associate. Tim earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications Design from California State University, Chico, and his Associate of Applied Science in Construction Project Management from Portland Community College - Rock Creek.

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August 2, 2013

When Chairman Kim established Otak’s strategic partner HanmiGlobal (HG), one of his founding principles was to design and manage HG as an employee-oriented company. As a result, HG has been recognized as a “Great Workplace” by the Korean Great Workplace (GWP) program for eight consecutive years. This year’s score of HG employee satisfaction was 85-87 points out of 100. Chairman Kim attributes this GWP success to HG’s commitment to its staff and employee’s exercising a high level of corporate social responsibility. Highlights of HG’s corporate social responsibilities include:
• All HG employees donate 1% of their salary to charity and participate in a monthly social contribution activity. Many employees participate with their families.
• Chairman Kim established the “warm companion” program to aid the under privileged in April 2010. All employees donate to the program, and Chairman Kim personally donated $900,000.
• HG funds a scholarship program to help pay for the education of employees’ children from kindergarten to college.

Chairman Kim believes that HG’s commitment to corporate responsibility helps employees bond, work together, and have fun together while making HG a better company.

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July 29, 2013

When Austyn Lundeen was hired earlier this summer, he became the third generation in his family to work for Otak’s Portland survey crew. His father, Joel Lundeen, has been working with Otak’s field survey crew since 1994, and his grandfather, Gary Lundeen, originally joined Otak in 1984. This is the first time that three generations have worked together at Otak, and we are proud to have this family working in the field!

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July 15, 2013

Congressman Earl Blumenauer recently toured Otak’s new Portland office and met with R. Nicholas Loope, FAIA, Otak’s President and CEO. He then met with a group of Otak staff for a brownbag lunch and town hall-style meeting where he discussed the priorities for essential infrastructure, transit, energy efficiency, clean water, and sustainable economic growth. We appreciate Congressman Blumenauer taking time out of his busy schedule to meet with us, and we applaud his tireless advocacy for livable communities. He is always welcome back at Otak!

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July 8, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce the following new hires working out of our office in Portland, Oregon:

Jade Ward has joined Otak as a receptionist and document specialist. She brings two years of experience as a receptionist and administrative assistant. She also possesses experience in customer service.

Megan Karner has joined Otak as a civil engineering designer. She brings a background in construction management and knowledge of civil, environmental, water and wastewater engineering, and solid hazardous waste design. Megan earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with an emphasis on Environmental Engineering from the University of Portland.

Kathi Saunders has joined Otak as an HR specialist. Kathi earned her Master’s in Human Resource Management from the Baker Center for Graduate Studies and her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Portland.

 

 

 

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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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June 5, 2013

Over the last few months, Otakians in Lake Oswego have been organizing, packing, and purging unneeded items in preparation for our move to Portland. We are happy to report that our hard work has resulted in a beautiful, centrally located corporate office in downtown Portland! Our first day in the new office was May 28, and our IT team deserves special mention for working around-the-clock on Memorial Day weekend to ensure our office was ready for our arrival.

We have been in our office for about a week, and according to an internal survey, 80 percent of our Portland staff used alternate modes of transportation to commute to and from our new office. This number is up from around 15 percent at Lake Oswego! In addition to becoming more sustainable, relocating downtown allows us to establish new relationships and reconnect with our valued Portland-based clients and colleagues. Come visit us at:

808 SW Third Ave., Suite 300
Portland OR, 97204

Our new phone number is: (503) 287-OTAK (6825)

Our new fax number is: (503) 415-2304

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April 30, 2013

Otak is pleased to announce eight new hires!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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April 3, 2013

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

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March 1, 2013

Otak’s corporate office is moving from Lake Oswego to downtown Portland! Our new home will be the Director Building located at 808 SW 3rd Avenue, and we expect to be moved this spring. This move is an exciting opportunity for us to benefit from Portland’s creative energy and further our commitment to sustainability. Stay tuned for more information!

To learn more about our move, please click here.

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February 14, 2013

 The Oregon Youth Soccer Association Named Victor Prudhomme Volunteer of the Year

Congratulations Victor!

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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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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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November 20, 2012

Gary Alfson, PE, has joined Otak as a Senior Project Manager and Civil Engineer working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Gary has extensive experience in the administration, design and construction of public improvement projects; institutional facilities; and private site development. He brings over 30 years of experience working with public and private clients, including several public agencies in Oregon and Southwest Washington. He also has extensive experience with school districts in the construction of site improvements for new schools and school additions, and he has worked with architectural teams on commercial, retail and industrial site improvements. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University and is currently a member of the American Public Works Association.

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October 22, 2012

Otak is pleased to announce that Nico Vanderhorst, PE, has been elected to the Otak Board of Directors! Nico is a managing principal working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington, where he leads the transportation and infrastructure services team in Washington, Colorado and Arizona. Nico has been with Otak for 17 years and in that time has managed many of Otak’s most significant Puget Sound projects. With his appointment to the Board of Directors, Nico joins R. Nicholas Loope, FAIA, Otak’s President and CEO, as well as Jong Hoon Kim, Soon Kwang Lee and Kwang Sik Shin from Otak’s strategic partner HanmiGlobal, all now comprising the Otak Board.

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October 10, 2012

 

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

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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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August 29, 2012

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

Troy Kent, PE, LEED AP BD+C, has joined Otak as a civil engineer and senior project manager working out of our office in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He brings over 20 years of experience in the field of civil engineering, and he has managed and designed projects for a broad spectrum of public and private clients. Troy’s portfolio includes single- and multifamily residential, retail, office, industrial, institutional, municipal and federal projects. His projects of note include master planning and Phase 1 civil design for the $1.2 billion, 300-acre LSI Logic (now ON Semiconductor) Microchip fabrication facility in Gresham, Oregon, and Osprey Point Business Park for the Port of Pasco, Washington. Troy earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University.

 

Hannah Marré has joined Otak’s Vancouver office as an Engineering Designer in the Water Resources department. Prior to joining Otak, Hannah worked as a Civil Designer in Portland, Oregon, where she was involved in a number of embassy-related projects in Morocco, Finland and Laos. Hannah received her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Portland. While pursuing her degree, Hannah was heavily involved in Engineers Without Borders as a Project Lead to Honduras and served as the Student Led Unity Garden Club President.

 

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June 22, 2012

 

On the anniversary of the merger, HanmiGlobal’s (HG) Chairman Jong-hoon Kim recently visited Otak’s offices in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and Kirkland and Vancouver, Washington. In a speech to Otak staff, Chairman Kim conveyed his appreciation for the hard work being performed at Otak and optimism for the future of the company. Although the current economic climate is challenging, Chairman Kim identified several promising avenues for future collaboration with the global market. He emphasized HG’s unwavering commitment to the Otak-HG partnership and touched on a few of the changes that have taken place at Otak since his last visit in June of 2011. We thank Chairman Kim for travelling all the way from South Korea to visit us and wish him a safe flight home.

 

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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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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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April 18, 2012

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


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

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April 9, 2012

Colin Hudson has joined Otak as a project accounting assistant. Colin has been working as a temp in the Lake Oswego office for the past four months, and in that time he’s established himself as an integral part of our Otak team. We’re happy to have Colin join us full time! His previous job experience includes work in accounting, finance and data analysis, and he earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Xavier University.

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March 19, 2012

David Shafer has joined Otak as a CPA in corporate finance working out of our Lake Oswego office. David has over 12 years of experience in accounting and law, and he started his career as a Deputy District Attorney at the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office. Prior to joining Otak, David was a staff accountant at Strand Boyce Associates, CPAs, Inc., in California. He received both his MBA and Juris Doctorate from Tulane, and his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of California Santa Barbara.

 

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March 12, 2012

Dave Speck was one of the first people hired at Otak. “I always thought that Dave was too skinny and that he needed more meat on his bones and that he would never last,” said co-founder Greg Kurahashi. “I was wrong.” Dave worked as a land surveyor at the Lake Oswego office for over 30 years. Not only did he “last,” but he made a lasting impression on everyone who had the pleasure of working with him. “He has earned our trust, respect and admiration many times over,” said CEO and co-founder Nawzad Othman. “I have been lucky to have had him as an employee, and, even more, as a friend.” Dave retired on March 2nd, and his retirement is well-deserved. Jack Carlson, Otak’s Principal-in-Charge of Surveying and Mapping, had this to say about his coworker:

 
Dave was one of the constants that good companies must have in order to be successful. He was there every day and he anticipated what was needed. Clients knew that if Dave was on their job, no task or item would fall through the cracks. He never talked up or talked down to anyone. He was the consummate partner with everyone he worked with and for.

 
Friends and co-workers from throughout Dave’s time at Otak met at Gametime near the Lake Oswego office to celebrate his retirement and wish him well. Once again, we thank Dave for all he’s given Otak and wish him a long and joyful retirement!

 

 

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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 9, 2012

Four Otak professionals attended this year’s River Restoration Northwest (RRNW) Annual Stream Restoration Symposium at Skamania Lodge in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. The annual symposium is the main event put on by RRNW which features short courses and presentations intended to advance the science and standards of river restoration. There were many great presentations this year on topics such as sediment transport, large woody debris, restoration of steep streams, urban streams, and restoration techniques and practice. Otak was a Bronze Level Sponsor, and the highlight of the symposium for us was that our own Gary Wolff was elected onto RRNW’s board of directors. This is a great honor for Gary and a natural progression of his involvement in RRNW where he has presented in the past and has been teaching a HEC-RAS modeling course the past few years.

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December 14, 2011

On December 8, 2011, the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), Oregon-Columbia River Chapter,  presented its 24th annual Forecast Breakfast, which features the region’s commercial and residential real estate experts discussing the market outlook for the coming year.  This year’s breakfast was held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland and was attended by more than 650 local real estate professionals. Otak CEO, Nawzad Othman, was invited to give the keynote address, which concluded the three-hour conference.  Nawzad’s presentation, “Time of Uncertainty, Age of Complexity: Observations of an Optimist,” covered a range of global and macro-economic factors that are affecting Oregon’s – and the nation’s — economy.

While the U.S. economy struggles with high unemployment, slow growth and a looming debt crisis at home and in Europe — our largest trading partner — many countries around the world continue to experience strong economic growth. China, India, Brazil and other countries in Asia and South America are achieving GDP growth rates as high as 9-10%. In addition, the “Arab Spring” uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa are accelerating the desire for democracy and free-market economic reforms in those regions.  
Nawzad remains optimistic that the United States can rebound from its current economic doldrums and maintain its role as a world economic engine, if we invest in:

• Energy – The U.S. needs a bold energy strategy for both traditional and renewable sources
• Infrastructure – We need to address more than $2 trillion in accumulated needs
• Education – The U.S. ranks only 17th globally for math and science education
• R&D/Innovation – This has been our hallmark and will be the engine of future growth.

Most important, we need private leadership and political will to achieve our goals. 
A copy of Nawzad’s inspiring keynote presentation, along with presentations from other regional real estate experts, is available on IREM Oregon’s website under the News section:
 http://iremoregon.org/irem/2011transcript


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December 2, 2011

 

Otak recently hired Mark Castle, PE, as a civil engineer in our Vancouver, Washington office. Mark has more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors preparing plans and specifications for roadways, bridges, site development, water distribution, and sewerage projects. Prior to joining Otak, Mark was with the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services  in the Engineering Services Group. He was responsible for preparing AutoCAD base maps using the City’s GIS data and supplemental ground survey data, and for preparing improvement plans for sewer rehabilitation and stormwater retrofit projects under the direction of bureau engineers.

 

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November 23, 2011

Last week Otak sent a team of ‘Intellectuals’ to WorldQuest for Grownups. This evening of international trivia supports The World Affairs Council of Oregon’s Global Classroom which educates Oregon kids about the world. Otak was one of the two sponsors for the event.

The ‘Intellectuals’ came to the event dressed to impress, sporting berets and a varied combination of tweed, sweaters, ties, blazers and corduroy. Eight trivia rounds of eight questions each - wildly ranging across various topics of world culture - provided the evening’s challenge. Questions ranged from geography and current events to world economics and ancient history.

Muddling through the tremendous pressure and responsibility connected to the chosen team name, the ‘intellectuals’ performance hit the mark, answering correctly 38 out of 64 questions, finishing only 2 questions out of third place.

Unfortunately there was not a ‘team attitude’ award for the evening, otherwise the Otak team would have clearly been the undisputed winner. Despite this minor setback, it was a great evening for a great cause, with auctions during the event raising more than $20K.

  

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November 9, 2011

Otak water resource engineers Tim Kraft and Kevin Timmins spent Saturday evening at the Portland Art Museum for the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership (LCEP) Dinner & Art Gala. They enjoyed an evening among friends and colleagues in support of LCEP Outdoor Education programs. No one at the table went home with any artwork, but the table successfully landed a bottle of Port wine during the Live Auction and quickly made it disappear. Otak contributed to the LCEP again this year with a sponsorship that will fund "Big Canoe" field trips for three classes and pays for their bus ride to and from the dock! This is the eighth year in a row that Otak has been a sponsor.

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October 26, 2011

What's more fun than a room full of planners…talking about planning?

Otak had a blast at this year’s collaborative Oregon and Washington American Planning Association (APA) Conference in Portland, Oregon. Our own Dave Siegel spoke in a session about challenges and strategies to accommodating future growth in our region. When we weren’t attending sessions about great projects going on around the states, we were at the Otak booth talking to friends, clients and fellow planners about the great work Otak is doing across the country and abroad.

 

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October 25, 2011

A few of Otak’s engineers recently travelled to Eagle Crest, Oregon for the 2011 APWA Fall Conference. To kick off the conference, Kevin Timmins, water resource engineer in Otak’s Lake Oswego office, participated in a golf tournament. Alissa Maxwell, civil engineer in Otak’s Bend office, presented a technical session to attendees. Lastly, at the conference's banquet, the team accepted the Project of the Year Award from APWA Oregon for the SW Burnham Street Improvements project. The conference was yet again a success.

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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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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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October 14, 2011

I recently witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony for the $295-million Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB) on Portland's South Waterfront. Otak has been working with the Oregon Health & Science University since early 2006 to help prepare the empty Schnitzer campus for this first, of many, buildings. This project has taken an amazing compilation of partnerships and well-executed timing to make the construction of the new building possible. The project design team started in early April of this year. The pace of design has been stunning as contractor JE Dunn begins driving piles for the building only six months since the start of the design process. In addition, two other major construction projects will be underway adjacent to the new building. This area will be a beehive of activity over the next 3-4 years. The first phase of the CLSB will be open in the Fall of 2013.

-submitted by Scott Shumaker, Civil Engineer at Otak

 

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October 4, 2011

Otak’s Lake Oswego office recently participated in the annual Bike Commute Challenge organized by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). This year, 12 riders braved the traffic and elements and biked to work at least once during the month of September. The Otak team logged 79.5 rides (a round trip is 1 ride) for the month and traveled a total of 1,492 miles or about the distance from Portland to Tucson, Arizona. Otak’s ride percentage of 4.9% was several percentage points higher than last year. Using the BTA’s formulas, the Otak team saved 1,462 pounds of CO2 and burned 73,123 calories.

Overall, the challenge included 12,064 riders actively logging trips, and a total of 1,372,667 miles. BTA estimates the effort saved 1,345,213 pounds of CO2. Bike commuting is a great way to get exercise, relieve stress, save money on gas, and reduce your carbon footprint. 

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September 7, 2011

Yesterday, Otakians at the Vancouver office arrived at work to the smell of pancakes and bacon, orange juice, fresh fruit and scrambled eggs. Rich Darland, project manager, treated staff to homemade breakfast as a thank you of their many hours of hard work. “Morale is good and we’re full, happy and busy,” said Marilou Davis, project assistant.

 

 

 

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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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August 18, 2011

Last month incoming 9th graders visited Otak’s Lake Oswego office to learn more about the architecture and engineering industry. The kids were part of the Summer Youth Connect program, a four-year series of interventions for targeted high school students supported by Mayor Sam Adams. The “Ninth Grade Counts” program “connects students with the academic support and life experiences to start high school on the right track.” At Otak, students were given brief presentations by surveyors, architects, planners, landscape architects and engineers and then students were given the opportunity to ask questions. Later in the morning, Otak professionals led small groups through the design process to design their dream school. “The kids were given constraints, not unlike those in real world situations,” said Ron Dean, Otak architect. “They had to consider context, natural obstacles, codes, programs and economics.

     

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August 17, 2011

Congratulations to Brad Swearingen from our Lake Oswego, Oregon office, for passing the Professional Engineering exam. Brad has over 15 years of experience in both public and private civil engineering and urban design projects. In addition to becoming a PE, he is also a LEED Accredited Professional.

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August 16, 2011

What do Otakians do when the sun finally comes out? They play lots of kickball.

Last month, a few Otak employees formed a team, the Mulletteers, to compete in the charity tournament for Engineers Without Borders. After a full day of friendly competition, the Mulletteers placed second out of 15 teams, and more importantly, helped a great cause ($14,000 was raised).  

Last week, another Otak kickball team, the Grasskickers, won the championship! They secured a spot in the finals after playing a double header and winning both games. Congratulations!

 

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August 10, 2011

Otak recently hired Brian Miller, a landscape design professional in the Tempe office. The majority of his previous experience lies in residential landscape architecture and site planning within the Phoenix area. His most recent projects involved development of sustainable outdoor living environments, xeric and native planting design, pool/landscape renovation, and construction. His academic emphases were in open space planning, ecological design, and urban horticulture.

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August 9, 2011

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

 

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July 12, 2011

Sheri Murata joined Otak’s Water and Natural Resources group in the Kirkland office on June 30th. She is an engineer specializing in water resources projects, erosion control, stormwater engineering, and site improvements. Sheri graduated from the University of Washington in 2001 and is a registered engineer in the state of Washington.

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June 24, 2011

Check out our latest e-newsletter where we talk about our merger with HanmiGlobal, as well as our 30-year anniversary!

To view the e-newsletter, please click here

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June 17, 2011

Joe Dills, AICP, Otak principal, was recently recognized by the American Planning Association for 30 years of contributions to the planning profession. Joe is considered one of Oregon’s leading practitioners of integrated land use and transportation planning. He specializes in land use planning, public involvement, transportation and growth management, and land use regulations and sustainable communities. Starting with ODOT’s first pilot Transportation and Growth Management (TGM) project in 1993 (the Northwest Newberg Specific Plan), Joe has been the lead planner in more than 50 TGM program projects, ranging from transportation system plans to smart growth master plans to codes. Recently, he worked on several landmark projects in the United Arab Emirates, including the Khalifa B City Master Plan, the overall Development Regulations Framework for the Abu Dhabi Metro Area, and plans for six sustainable settlements in Al Gharbia.

Throughout his career, Joe has worked with community groups ranging from local neighborhood associations to state agency advisory councils. His core philosophy is that consensus and trust are built through a careful communications process that involves citizens at every step.

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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 15, 2011

This year Otak is turning 30! We’re excited to merge with HanmiGlobal.

 

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June 14, 2011

On Monday, June 13, Otak staff gathered to celebrate this week’s closing of the merger with HanmiGlobal (HG), a publicly owned construction management and project management firm located in Korea. HG acquired a majority share of Otak and will make significant capital investments in the firm. Nawzad Othman (Otak’s CEO), R. Nicholas Loope, FAIA (Otak’s President and COO), and Chairman, Jong Hoon Kim (of HG) spoke to Otakians about the excitement surrounding the merger. In Chairman Kims’ speech, he said “I am very happy that we are beginning a new phase for both businesses. I fully believe that the road ahead for our companies will be prosperous, and will provide valuable experience for the organization as a whole and for each individual.”

 
 
 

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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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June 8, 2011

Otak recently hired Carla Kenyon, a civil engineer in training (EIT). Carla specializes in transportation, planning, and urban design, and recently worked on roadway projects on federal lands in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, and Alaska. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the University of Portland, where she served as an officer of the University’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She was also president of the University’s chapter of Engineers without Borders.

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June 8, 2011

This year Otak is turning 30! Our culture is key to our success.

 

 

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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 10, 2011

Last Friday, Nawzad Othman, Otak’s CEO/President, spoke at a US naturalization ceremony on Tom McCall Waterfront Park. About 50 people representing 24 countries from around the world took their oath to become naturalized citizens. Nawzad became a US citizen in 1968. He urged the new citizens to become politically active, and reminded them that citizenship comes with responsibilities. “It’s up to you to make it happen,” he told the new citizens.

 
 

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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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