Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Month
Otak is pleased to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, a month we’ve dedicated to lauding the heritage of our AAPI staff. Rather than simply proclaim our support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, we asked key members of our teams to talk about what their heritage means to them.
Henry Alaman, Senior Vice President of Otak CPM, said, “Filipino culture is family-centric—we respect the wisdom of our elders and come together regularly to celebrate with them, share a meal (there’s ALWAYS really good food), and connect with our aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. I naturally want to connect with the folks that I work with and see them as part of my extended family.”
Jon Yamashita, Director of Land Surveying, said, “Despite (or maybe because of) being in WWII internment camps, our family was strongly patriotic. My father and uncles all served in the US Army during the Vietnam era and our homes had Japanese furnishings and decorations- but always American flags and photos of the current US Presidents on the wall (along with John Wayne and Clint Eastwood). Watching my grandparents, parents, and uncles working weekends at a family papaya farm in Hawaii taught me the value of overcoming obstacles with constant, consistent effort and always thinking about ways to be more efficient and effective, traits I try to bring to work with me every day.”
Ann Nguyen, Landscape Architect, said, “My upbringing and lived experiences allow me to connect with different communities and boosts my creativity and sensitivity to the landscape ecology, accessibility, and culture in my design work. It is culturally ingrained in me to respect and value the cycle and balance in our natural environment so everything can continue for future generations.”
These values of community, building resilience, and respect for our environment not only reflect Otak’s values but also add to them. It is unique perspectives from a diverse range of staff that make us who we are, and we are grateful for the insight that our AAPI team members bring to work every day.
Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Month!