Rachel Laura Ushers In Change To Foster Improved Efficiencies
Putting systems and processes in place to streamline our capabilities and enhance service delivery for our clients is an ongoing goal for Otak. While it takes a team effort to achieve this goal, it takes an even more talented leader to lead the team, implementing and integrating ever-evolving technology advancements and best practices, often behind the scenes. Wearing many different hats, Rachel Laura is this leader for Otak, excelling in the role of senior project accounting manager, while also stepping into the positions of enterprise resource planning (ERP) project management and accounting software administrator.
Rachel has long played an integral part in the everyday financial function of Otak, ensuring the economics of every project flow smoothly for clients, sub-consultants, and project managers alike. As Dave Johnson, Chief Financial Officer at Otak, proudly states, “Rachel effectively, quietly, and accurately covers more than 700 projects, working with about 125 people each month!” Together with her team, she works diligently to make sure all details of any project transaction are clear, accurate, and easy to understand.
Rachel delivers success in her many roles by bringing new ideas to the table and using her strong team development skills to drive performance. She has hired, trained, and mentored her own team, all while training and developing a group of more than 100 project managers across the company. Her ability to work with a wide range of creative personalities and understand various software platforms integral to the efficiency of Otak makes Rachel truly exceptional. So when the time came to begin preparing for the implementation of Deltek Vantagepoint, an ERP software that will increase efficiency, improve productivity, and facilitate more informed decision making on our projects, Rachel was the obvious choice to spearhead the company-wide conversion.
Ushering in a company-wide change is not simple. As the project manager for the transition, Rachel meets regularly with a core committee, an executive steering committee, a communications team, and IT to ensure a smooth transition for all employees. “We’re set to go live in mid-November and this is my primary focus from now until then. I’m looking forward to this happening—this has everything we and our clients need at this moment, and it is a good time for Otak to make the change,” she says.
Rachel is also working closely with Scott Dreher, COO, to continuously update project management content and training. “A few years ago we hired a consultant to look at the processes project managers used with the goal of creating a repository of tools. We pulled existing resources, templates with standard language and used that as the starting point,” she says. As they continue building a repository, they also identify what items are missing and create new tools to fill the gaps. Rachel is also planning to work with Scott to create new training content for Otak’s Project Managers, with the goal of providing more internal training opportunities in 2022.
Rachel’s many roles often take place behind the scenes, but her work is a catalyst in helping Otak’s projects run smoothly and on time. Through her steadfast commitment to continually improving our processes and productivity, we are able to consistently provide the highest quality services to both our clients and our communities.