December 30, 2014

Otak's Portland office celebrated the holidays with a white elephant gift exchange last week. Lucky participants took home such treasures as a Snuggie ("the blanket that has sleeves"), a Grumpy Cat book, and Basket Case - the Headband Hoop Game. Otak provided food, including a chocolate fountain with several tasty items to dip.

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   December 29, 2014

Otakians from our Portland, Vancouver, and Gearhart offices gathered at the Treasury Ballroom in downtown Portland recently to celebrate the holidays. Guests arrived in ugly holiday sweaters or semi-formal attire and enjoyed dinner, dessert, drinks, and dancing. A few special Otakians received awards, including the Otakian who logged the most hours in 2014 (Bob Hawes), longest-serving Otakian (Jack Carlson), and the person who travelled the longest distance to join Otak this year (Jim Hamann, our President and CEO who moved to Portland from Thailand.) Rachel Laura also received an award for selling her first painting this year. As an integrated design firm, our different disciplines often collaborate on projects, but this party provided a nice opportunity for Otakians from different disciplines to get to know each other outside of the office. 2014 has been an exciting and prosperous year for Otak, and we’re looking forward to an exciting and prosperous 2015!

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   December 8, 2014

We are pleased to welcome three new hires working out of our office in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates!

Rawa Fawaz, PQP, has joined Otak as an Engineer/Project Coordinator. She brings nine years of experience as a Civil Engineer specializing in sustainability, quantity surveying, and specification writing. She has provided technical services on a wide variety of projects such as villas, industrial factories, towers, and communities. Rawa earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Water Resource/Civil Engineering from the University of Baghdad.

Alex Gandy has joined Otak as an Urban Planner. He brings a strong academic background with practical experience in key planning disciplines, as well as enthusiasm and passion for urban planning. He is conversant with the use of relevant planning tools and innovative approaches to complex issues. Alex earned his Master’s degree in Spatial Planning from Bartlett School of Planning, University College in London, United Kingdom, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from University of Durham, United Kingdom.

Aaron Schemeck has joined Otak as a Landscape Architect. He is an experienced landscape architect capable of supervising challenging projects in urban design, planning, and transportation enhancement projects. He is also well-versed in traditional landscape architectural design and planning on a wide range of resort, commercial, retail, residential and leisure, entertainment, and hospitality projects. Aaron earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from West Virginia University.

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