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


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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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