April 30, 2014

Otak’s Mark Swartz and Brad Bielenberg attended the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Arizona Conference recently in Tucson. Over 1,500 representatives from a wide variety of state and municipal agencies and consultant service providers attended the event, and Otak’s booth and expertise both garnered positive reactions. Mark and Brad discussed significant opportunities for a variety of Otak disciplines with both existing and potential new clientele. The conference golf tournament was also a success with Otak’s pairing helping to build our relationship with two significant clients. Fore!!!

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   April 29, 2014

Kaela and I began carpooling when we started at Otak in October 2012. When Cheyenne joined our carpool a month later for the savings and witty conversation, I took on the task of designing a tracking system to ensure we paid everyone fairly. The resultant marvel of spreadsheet design and efficiency (a personal opinion) calculates who owes what to whom, what payments have been made, the amount saved per month, per person, and the total on tolls and gasoline. Our carpool grew with Chris and Jessica joining in Spring 2013, and from the start of our spreadsheet on November 27, 2012 through March 31, 2014, the five of us have saved a total of $6,550.90! The newest member of the Kirkland water resources team, Francesca, has already joined our carpool, promising more benefits.

In addition to the financial benefits of carpooling, each of us realized the environmental benefits as well. In the spreadsheet, we track saved carbon dioxide emissions using a typical conversion rate (one gallon of E10 gasoline emits 17.68 pounds of CO2 with combusted), and between November 2012 and March 2014, we saved 5.23 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere. The importance of this number cannot be overestimated with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report predicting large and negative effects resulting from climate change. While these problems may seem daunting, small actions can have immediate benefits and each one of us can make a difference.

I encourage you to evaluate your own commuting habits. Could you help your bank account with a small change or sacrifice? Or have you heard of the tragedy of the commons? We all can and should do our part to participate in grand solutions.

- Submitted by Neil Schaner

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   April 29, 2014

Saturday, April 26, was SOLVe’s 25th Annual SOLVE-IT Earth Day event! Over 6,500 volunteers at 175 sites throughout Oregon worked together to improve environmental health. Otak’s Melanie McCandless led a group of 15 Portland State University students in a clean-up of green street facilities in the Lents Town Center. The green street facilities were installed in 2013 as part of the Streetscape Improvement project. Green streets manage stormwater quantity and quality, using biofiltration to slow down and treat the water before it discharges to Johnson Creek. The students removed approximately 60 pounds of trash and debris from the facilities and cleared inlets of accumulated sediment. The clean-up was a partnership with Green Lents, where Melanie serves as the Watershed Team leader; SOLVe; and the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services’ Green Street Stewards Program.

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   April 17, 2014

Last Sunday, Otakians Jennifer Snider, Sarah McCloskey, Sami Auclair, Ae-young Lee, and Jason Karam donned sneakers and running gear to participate in Albertina Kerr’s Race for the Roses. The proceeds for this event benefit Albertina Kerr, a local nonprofit that helps children, adults, and families living with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges. It was a great way to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day in Portland while contributing to a wonderful organization.

To learn more about Albertina Kerr, please click here.

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   April 17, 2014

Otak is committed to both sustainable business practices and sustainable project designs. Several Otakians in our Vancouver office recently received Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP) certification, and 12 of our 16 technical staff members in Vancouver are now certified in Envision or LEED. These certified professionals help our clients and project teams achieve higher levels of sustainable design. Our certified staff in Vancouver include:

Ryan Billen, PE, ENV SP
Nick Brown, ENV SP
Derek Chisholm, AICP, LEED Green Associate, ENV SP
Rich Darland, PE, ENV SP
Grant Evenhus, PE, ENV SP
David Haynes, PLA, LEED Green Associate
Tim Kraft PE, ENV SP
Cory Kratovil, PE, ENV SP
Theo Malone, ENV SP
Hannah Marré, ENV SP
Greg Mines PE, ENV SP
Kelly Youngberg, ENV SP

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