Blog
   November 27, 2012

Sharlene Sherwood is Otak’s latest LEED Green Associate! Sharlene is a Landscape Design Professional working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington, and we appreciate her taking the time and effort to further her professional development and strengthen Otak’s core value of creating sustainable communities. Congratulations Sharlene!

Landscape Architecture | Sustainability | Make a Comment | View Comments (0)
   November 26, 2012

Otak was pleased to host several business colleagues at the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) serving the Valley of the Sun. The breakfast meeting in Tempe, Arizona, featured keynote speaker Kevin Johnson (KJ), Mayor of Sacramento (pictured), a celebrated figure in Phoenix Suns history. Mayor Johnson also serves LISC as a member of the National Board of Directors and was introduced by President Michael Rubinger. In KJ's first seven full seasons in Phoenix from 1989-1995, the Suns won the most regular season games in the NBA and the second most playoff games, trailing only the Chicago Bulls.

KJ recounted his creation of St. HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Excellence) a community development corporation in his hometown of Sacramento while still an NBA player. Johnson served as CEO of St. HOPE until January of 2008, when he ran successfully for Mayor of Sacramento.

LISC also awarded Native American Connections, a 501 C (3) non-profit developer the Project of the Year Award for Devine Legacy on Central; a 65-unit mixed-income Transit-Oriented Development in Central Phoenix.

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   November 20, 2012

Otakians Mark Cole, Keith Bates, Neil Schaner and Darcey Miller recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. They participated in the remodel called Westway 3.5 in Federal Way, Washington. The work party installed insulation, built a fence, disassembled part of the carport, and replaced a whole roof in a day! In addition, some high school students also removed shrubs and dug a ditch for a water line. Good job team!

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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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   November 20, 2012

Mark Swartz, RLA, ASLA, CLARB, has joined Otak as a Senior Landscape Architect and Planner working out of our office in Tempe, Arizona. He specializes in master-planned communities, resorts, themed-attractions and luxury high-density residential developments. Prior to joining Otak, Mark served as managing principal of the Arizona-based e group, where he managed many of the firm’s award-winning projects and oversaw their offices in Mexico and Asia. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Design: Landscape Architecture/Urban Planning from Arizona State University and his Associates Degree in Construction Technology from State University of New York at Farmingdale. He is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Urban Land Institute and Valley Forward Association.

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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.

Corporate | Landscape Architecture | Sustainability | Water | Make a Comment | View Comments (0)
   November 2, 2012

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

 

 

David Richard Jones has joined Otak as a Special Projects Manager working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. David is an urban planner and urban designer with over 20 years of experience in the development industry, and he has served as project manager on a wide variety of projects in Australia and throughout the Middle East. Recently, he has worked on projects in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria, Qatar and Malaysia. David earned a Graduate Certificate in Urban Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Studies from Curtin University of Technology in Australia.

 

Neil Schaner has joined Otak as an Engineer-in-Training working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Neil earned his Master of Science in Civil Engineering with a focus on Water Resources and Hydrology from the University of Washington, and his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. While pursuing his Master’s degree, Neil worked as a Graduate Research Assistant in both the Subsurface Hydrogeochemistry Group and the Land Surface Hydrology Research Group. While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree, he was active in Engineers Without Borders where he led the student engineering design team for a water distribution project for a community of 500 in western Kenya.

 

Kaela Mansfield has joined Otak as an Engineer-in-Training working out of our office in Kirkland, Washington. Prior to joining Otak, Michaela was a civil engineering/construction inspection intern at the City of Redmond Public Works in Redmond, Washington. She is a recent graduate of the University of Washington, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering. While pursuing her degree, Kaela served as an Engineering Technical Apprentice at the Spokane County Engineering Department and served as a summer intern at Acme Concrete Paving, in Spokane, Washington.

International | Planning | Water | Make a Comment | View Comments (1)
   November 1, 2012

Several of our Otak offices celebrated Halloween this year, and while it might be difficult to pick an award for best costume, the Vancouver, Washington, office easily won the award for best lunch! Engineer Greg Mines initiated a “harvest” potluck, and everyone pitched in with some great dishes. Doug Sarkkinen brought in fresh venison, and other Otakians contributed sweet potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, ham, beef brisket, pasta salad, vegetable soup, cornbread with honey butter, and fresh apple cider. Of course no Halloween would be complete without sweets, and the Vancouver staff topped off their meal with peanut butter bars and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this elaborate feast is that after eating all of this delicious food, nobody took an afternoon nap.

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