December 21, 2011

Otak’s Vancouver office celebrated a holiday luncheon December 20, which was catered by a local restaurant, Beaches. They had a “crazy holiday sweater” contest that included three categories: the brightest, the tackiest and the most original. Grant Evenhus, Greg Mines and Marilou Davis were the chosen winners! We had a toast to the New Year and recognized everyone for their dedication and hard work. We look forward to a prosperous and happy New Year for our staff, clients and colleagues.


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   December 16, 2011

The Kirkland staff is very excited to have had the opportunity to participate in the Adopt-A-Family program. Together, they collected just under $400. It is an honor knowing that we had the chance to help make Christmas very special for a family.  Below is a picture of the gifts they will be given this holiday season. Each child will receive a pair of pants and three shirts, plus at least one of their requested toys.

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   December 14, 2011

Last week, our crafty Kirkland Otakians sold a beautiful variety of handmade goods at the Otak Holiday Shop. Unique Items for sale included handmade cards and gift tags, cinnamon bun candles, paper white narcissus, sugar scrubs, quilted coasters, delicious jams, hats, fishing rods, and cutting boards made from recycled pallets…staying green.

Thank you to everyone who dropped by and made it a HUGE success! Our vendors sold over $800 worth of items, of which we donated ten percent to our Youth Eastside Services Adopt-A-Family.

Budding plans are developing for next year’s Holiday Shop!

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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:

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   December 7, 2011

Gary Wolff, Senior Water Resources Engineer, gave a presentation on November 30, 2011 for EWRG’s monthly meeting at the Lucky Lab. He presented a case study of modeling the complex hydraulic system posed by Otak’s East Lents Floodplain Restoration project, which is currently under construction.

The presentation gave an overview of the project with an emphasis on the unique application of an unsteady-flow HEC-RAS model to capture the salient hydraulic characteristics of the reach, including the off-channel storage of flood waters north and south of the creek. It was very well attended, and sparked lots of good questions and discussion within the audience.

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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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