March 19, 2012

David Shafer has joined Otak as a CPA in corporate finance working out of our Lake Oswego office. David has over 12 years of experience in accounting and law, and he started his career as a Deputy District Attorney at the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office. Prior to joining Otak, David was a staff accountant at Strand Boyce Associates, CPAs, Inc., in California. He received both his MBA and Juris Doctorate from Tulane, and his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of California Santa Barbara.


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   March 15, 2012

Congratulations to Kaitlin North on becoming a LEED Green Associate! Kaitlin is a Landscape Architect working out of our Lake Oswego office, and we congratulate her on passing the exam! Our talented LEED Accredited Professionals are instrumental in helping Otak plan sustainable communities.


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   March 12, 2012

Dave Speck was one of the first people hired at Otak. “I always thought that Dave was too skinny and that he needed more meat on his bones and that he would never last,” said co-founder Greg Kurahashi. “I was wrong.” Dave worked as a land surveyor at the Lake Oswego office for over 30 years. Not only did he “last,” but he made a lasting impression on everyone who had the pleasure of working with him. “He has earned our trust, respect and admiration many times over,” said CEO and co-founder Nawzad Othman. “I have been lucky to have had him as an employee, and, even more, as a friend.” Dave retired on March 2nd, and his retirement is well-deserved. Jack Carlson, Otak’s Principal-in-Charge of Surveying and Mapping, had this to say about his coworker:

Dave was one of the constants that good companies must have in order to be successful. He was there every day and he anticipated what was needed. Clients knew that if Dave was on their job, no task or item would fall through the cracks. He never talked up or talked down to anyone. He was the consummate partner with everyone he worked with and for.

Friends and co-workers from throughout Dave’s time at Otak met at Gametime near the Lake Oswego office to celebrate his retirement and wish him well. Once again, we thank Dave for all he’s given Otak and wish him a long and joyful retirement!



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   March 8, 2012

On March 1st the United Way of King County held its annual Spirit of Caring Celebration to honor the community’s most outstanding companies, most creative campaign coordinators, and most committed volunteers.

Otak’s United Way campaign team consisting of Curtis LaPierre, Tyler Christofferson, and Marissa Chargualaf, attended the event where they were nominated for a Spirit of Caring Award this year in the category of Campaign Coordinator of the Year. During our more than ten year history of participating in United Way, we ranked as one of the top firms for the amount of dollars pledged per employee among A&E firms in Puget Sound.

All of us at Otak thank the Kirkland team for serving their community and organizing Otak’s campaign—we are proud that they were considered for this award!

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   March 6, 2012

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

Andrew Midwood has joined Otak as Federal Business Development Director working out of Colorado. Andrew has over ten years of experience in strategic business development and complex selling strategies with an emphasis on business to government marketing, relationship development and lead generation. Throughout his career in business development, Andrew has demonstrated a knack for building and managing new markets and facilitating relations with various governmental organizations. He earned his MBA from the University of Colorado at Denver and his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Kurt Creager has joined Otak as Housing & Community Development Director working out of our Vancouver office. Kurt has over 30 years of experience working with policy, program and project implementation. In recent years, he has focused on place making and community building through mixed-income and mixed-use development projects in the Seattle, Portland/Vancouver, Phoenix, and Los Angeles areas. As a public official, Mr. Creager has worked in planning and management positions responsible for local and regional land use, housing, economic development, and environmental plans and policy. Mr. Creager served 15 years as CEO of the Vancouver Housing Authority where he produced over 3,500 dwellings in Southwest Washington State. Before joining Otak, Kurt served as the Executive Director of the Stardust Center at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts and President of Urbanist Solutions. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he was a Fannie Mae Fellow in the State and Local Public Executive Program; the University of Washington’s Cascade Management Institute, and Western Washington University, where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Planning and Architectural Graphics.

Chris Rayasam has joined Otak as Chief Financial Officer. Chris began his career at Balboa Capital Corporation where he worked as SQL DBA. He later joined AECOM/Boyle Engineering Corporation, where he held the positions of Senior Finance Manager/Assistant Controller, Senior Manager of Business Analysis/Finance, and Manager of Development. He led Boyle Engineering’s implementation of financial systems to Deltek Vision in addition to leading real estate transactions in the western region at AECOM. In each phase of his career, Mr. Rayasam has utilized his proficiency in IT and finance to run businesses more efficiently. Prior to joining Otak, Mr. Rayasam was the Corporate Controller and Director of IT for Hemmera Invirochem Inc. Mr. Rayasam earned both his MBA and Bachelor of Science in Computer Sciences from the University of California.

Sara Mahoney has joined Otak as Intern Architect our Lake Oswego office. Prior to joining Otak, Sara served as Architectural Intern at MulvannyG2 Architecture in Portland. She has also provided green design and consulting services for Mahoney Homes, LLC, in Beaverton and participated in the AmeriCorps program as an Outreach/Marketing Coordinator. She was responsible for educating the community of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, about sustainable living. Sara received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

Melanie McCandless has joined Otak’s Water Resources team in Lake Oswego as an Engineering Designer. Melanie began her career as an AmeriCorps Volunteer for the City of Gresham’s Natural Resources Program. Her responsibilities included developing geospatial models, groundwater hydrologic monitoring, creating relational databases and supervising the restoration of riparian vegetation along a degraded urban stream. She later worked for the City of Gresham on an on-call basis. Ms. McCandless received her Master of Science degree in Environmental Engineering: Water Resources from Portland State University, and dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies: Policy & Economics from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Lloyd Fonger has joined Otak as an accountant in our Lake Oswego office. Lloyd has almost 15 years of experience working in accounting for such diverse firms as Command Management Systems; Things From Another World, Inc.; Dark Horse Comics; Mail-Well Envelope, Inc., and Photogroup, Inc. Lloyd studied computer information systems at the DeVry Institute of Technology in Phoenix, Arizona.

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