January 1, 2020


Otak Colorado Team recently took part in the Go-Tober challenge, a regional commute challenge between local businesses throughout the month of October. The event is hosted by WayToGo, a program through the Denver Regional Council of Governments. The challenge was aimed at getting employees out of their single-occupancy vehicles, and using “smart commute” options, such as biking, transit, walking or carpooling for their commutes and work-related activities. For each trip logged, the employees earned points for the Otak team.

Well, DRUM ROLL…. 

The results are in, and Otak came in first place in our category!**


We are 2019 Go-Tober Champions.

A total of 2,538 participants in the Go-Tober challenge logged 64,366 commutes. Their efforts resulted in 742,814 smart commute miles traveled and a reduction of more than 430,719 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Go-Tober commuters also burned 3,979,980 calories and saved $205,299.08 in travel costs.

Go-Tober is presented by Way to Go, a regional partnership between the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and a group of seven transportation management associations (TMAs) that are dedicated to transforming the way people get around. Go-Tober works directly with employers to introduce new commute options to those who normally drive alone. Ultimately, Go-Tober is designed to inspire lasting changes in commuting behavior to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. Employees are encouraged to carpool, telework, vanpool, bike, walk, take the light rail or bus their way to prizes and annual bragging rights.


Kudos to everyone who participated! We saw folks go above and beyond to organize carpools to work and to meetings, and many employees tried smart commuting for the first time this month. We also had a handful of employees who took the bus or biked every day throughout the month—impressive!  


**Categories were determined based on the RTD service level areas to level out the playing field so that suburban companies were not competing against those in downtown Denver. 

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May 17, 2019

Otak was an essential part of the team that won this year’s National ACEC Engineering Excellence National Grand Award for design of the Linking Lookout: US 6 and 19th Street Interchange Project. Otak provided bridge and retaining wall design for this seamless connection between the residential, west side of the US 6 and the Colorado School of Mines and Downtown Golden. What was previously an at-grade intersection, which was dangerous to navigate on foot or by bike, became a safe, grade-separated crossing with US 6 dropped 25 feet below 19th Street.

The bridge crossing consists of a 40-foot-wide vehicular section and a 240-foot-wide, landscaped “lid” with multi-use-path connections, a single-track trail, and seating areas.  The lid required special waterproofing techniques to ensure structural integrity of the concrete girders that were covered by grass and plant material, with engineered fill up to 10 feet deep in places. Otak was also responsible for the design of approximately 70,000 square feet of soil-nail retaining wall, as well as urban design elements consisting of masonry pilasters and a decorative steel arch.

Dan Beltzer was Otak’s project manager and bridge engineer and Pete Loris was responsible for the retaining wall design. Otak (previously Loris and Associates) was a subconsultant to IMEG (previously TST).   

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January 7, 2019


By Nick Grenfell

Fueled by excitement and several cups of hot chocolate, Cody Christianson, a senior project engineer at Loris, a division of Otak, attended a community thank you event, celebrating the successful completion of the Castle Creek Bridge/Hallam Street Improvement project in Aspen, Colorado. The event had a hot cocoa bar and site tours guided by the City of Aspen, Gould Construction, and the Otak/Loris design team.

The project team held the event to thank the Aspen community for their patience, participation, and understanding of the construction process, as well as to highlight the value of the critical capital asset project and close the loop on community education for the improvements and value added.

A large round of applause goes to PR Studio for assembling an event of this magnitude and for their diligent efforts in public involvement during project construction. Additional thanks go to the City of Aspen; members of the Otak/Loris design team, which consisted of Connect One Design, Z-Group Architects, KL&A, and RMH Group; and Gould Construction, for taking this project from conception to completion.

We were honored to be part of this important project, improving the community amenities in the City of Aspen.

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November 1, 2018

Paul Moreau, P.E., brings decades of experience and expertise to Otak's growing Transportation and Infrastructure team.

He joins Otak as the Transportation and Infrastructure technical manager, responsible for leading and growing the firm's transportation and infrastructure capabilities in the region. With 29 years of progressively complex design and management experience on many challenging transportation and traffic projects, Paul has served in leadership roles at Stantec, Matrix Design Group, and Drexel, Barrel & Co., among other firms.

With strong experience in civil engineering and project/program management, Paul has expertise in highway and intersection design; traffic engineering; signal design; signing and striping; plans, specifications, and estimates; and construction engineering. In addition to engaging and leading technical teams on complex transportation and traffic design projects, Paul enjoys mentoring staff and engaging with the public on projects.

“Paul provides well-rounded transportation design experience on a variety of small and large projects across the state. His experience and leadership will strengthen our ability to successfully deliver projects to existing and new clients. We are excited to have him on our team,” said Pete Loris, Otak’s Colorado region manager and senior vice president.

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July 14, 2018

Congratulations to the City of Golden, Colorado, which received a Project of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association (APWA) for its Linking Lookout project. Otak worked as structural engineer-of-record to develop the design, construction phasing, and construction cost estimates for this $30 million project.

Linking Lookout is a beautiful and user-friendly path linking Golden and the communities at the base of Lookout Mountain, while helping bicyclists, pedestrians, and cars safely cross over US 6. The project is part of the City’s overall approach to transportation, designing highways that meet regional mobility needs and unite the community.

Otak worked with the City of Golden, Kraemer North America, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and Colorado School of Mines to design the two-span, 160-foot-long by 280-foot-wide structure, which serves as an urban park as well as a major multi-modal transportation conduit. When the design team learned that hundreds to thousands of bike riders crossed US 6 each day, the design team knew that no ordinary interchange would do. Because there would be no other chance in a hundred years to do it right, it was a “Designable Moment.”

The team took the opportunity to create an urban park setting, with up to 10 feet of fill and trees added on top of the bridge deck, along with picnic tables, park space, and a small amphitheater. In addition to reconnecting the community, providing recreational amenities, and enhancing pedestrian and bike safety, the environmentally friendly project also improves traffic flow and air quality and reduces noise.

The design not only improves service for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians, but it also improves connectivity from the residential areas on the west side of US 6 to the Colorado School of Mines campus east of US 6. It also increased safety for what used to be Golden’s most accident-prone intersection: 19th Street and US 6. Now US 6 is an underpass and vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians cross safely over the busy highway on their way between downtown Golden and other local destinations, including the Colorado School of Mines and Lookout Mountain.

Peter J. Loris served as the project manager for the LORIS and Associates team. Senior LORIS project manager Dan Beltzer, PE, and former LORIS bridge engineer Sarah Navarro, PE, provided the structural design. The project previously won the 2017 Innovative Transportation Solution of the Year award from the Women’s Transportation Seminar.

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June 8, 2018

Early in his career, Matt Marshall found his passion for discovering clients’ objectives and crafting unique solutions to their challenges. Now he is joining Otak as our Colorado region business development manager, where he will use this passion and his 25+ years of experience to collaborate with our team to elevate Otak’s business development and client care practices.

“I jumped at the chance to join Otak,” said Matt. “I have always thought highly of and respected Otak’s reputation as a trustworthy, talented, and creative engineering, planning, design, and construction management firm. I look forward to helping Otak grow our presence, our impact, and our business in Colorado and surrounding states.”

“Matt will be an important contributor to our growing Colorado team,” said Pete Loris, senior vice president and Colorado region manager. “We saw in Matt an ability to develop a deeper understanding of clients’ needs and help them recognize the unique strengths of the services we offer, along with the integrated approach Otak brings to projects.”

Matt graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a B.S. in environmental science. He earned an MBA with a concentration in marketing from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Otak, Inc. is an award-winning architecture, urban design, engineering, planning, and landscape architecture firm specializing in helping both public and private client’s build vibrant, healthy communities that protect and enhance natural systems. Otak’s Oregon, Washington, and Colorado offices serve clients wherever their needs are.

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June 7, 2018

Brian Murphy

With a passion for ecological justice and sustainability, Brian Murphy, P.E., began his career working in water education in South America. Now, after nearly 20 years in the water resources consulting field, Brian has joined Otak in Denver, Colorado. He will direct our water and natural resources business throughout Colorado, pursuing new business opportunities, advising staff on standards of practice and emerging trends, and managing large projects and programs.

Brian has managed and executed freshwater ecosystem restoration, watershed studies, and floodplain resiliency projects across the U.S. and internationally, leveraging his multidisciplinary experience and expertise. As a subject matter expert, he is skilled at conveying technical and policy information related to river engineering and floodplain management.

“I joined Otak because it is a unique consulting firm,” said Brian. “Otak values sustainability, social equity, and community involvement. Also, as a long-time Subaru owner, this analogy resonated with me: ‘if Otak were a car, it would most likely be a Subaru: adventurous and dependable, but also fun with a loyal and spirited following.’ I am excited to help lead Colorado Water and Natural Resources and collaborate with a team that is passionate about innovation and being thought leaders in the water resources field.

“We are delighted that Brian has joined Otak’s Colorado operations,” said Pete Loris, Otak vice president and leader of the Otak Colorado team. “His expertise in urban drainage and floodplain management perfectly complements the strong river and stream restoration capabilities of our Water and Natural Resources team. Brian also brings strong business management and team leadership abilities, which will help Otak Colorado grow through expanded service offerings for our clients.”

Pursuing a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering, Brian’s research is focused on the nexus among river restoration, water quality, and environmental regulations. Brian is a professional engineer in four states; a professional hydrologist; a Diplomate, Water Resources Engineer; a certified Project Management Professional; an EnvisionTM Sustainability Professional; and a certified floodplain manager. He holds an M.S. in environmental science and engineering from the Colorado School of Mines.

Otak, Inc. is an award-winning architecture, urban design, engineering, planning, and landscape architecture firm specializing in transit, residential, commercial, industrial, and mixed-use developments; regional planning; public works; and civic, institutional, and recreational projects. Otak has offices in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Arizona. 

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September 22, 2017

On Friday, September 15, cities across the world participated in PARK(ing) Day, an event in which parking spaces are temporarily converted to public parks. Teams from Otak offices in Portland and Denver contributed to parks in their respective cities, taking the opportunity to temporarily transform an ordinary parking space into a beautiful piece of urban landscape.

In Portland, designers from Otak’s PAD group collaborated with Friends of Trees to create a Micro Forest. The Micro Forest was a big hit—several Otak departments held meetings in the space, and diners from the adjacent Chipotle restaurant enjoyed having a cozy, shaded space to devour their burritos.

The landscape architecture team from Otak’s Denver office partnered with students and local designers to create the biggest PARK(ing) Day installation in the city, consisting of five parking spaces in front of Union Station. Otak oversaw the event and designed two of the spaces. The installation was designed to address adaptive reuse.

According to PARK(ing) Day’s website, “The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space and sustainable design, to generate debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human least until the meter runs out!”

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April 24, 2015

The United State Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently published “BLM Tech Note 446: The Use of Color for Camouflage Concealment of Facilities.” The BLM hired Otak to evaluate advanced camouflage technology in the field to determine the suitability of this technology and application methods to serve as a visual mitigation for oil and gas facilities. Otak helped coordinate and develop camouflage patterns and color combinations in different landscapes to preserve landscape character. The document is a result of numerous field studies conducted over an 11-year period.

To view the document, please click here.


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March 2, 2015

Otak is pleased to welcome 14 new hires!


Patrick O'Neill has joined Otak as a Bridge Engineer/Project Manager. He has worked on a wide range of projects, including long-span bridges, movable bridges, rail projects, and new and existing steel, concrete, and timber structures. His services on these projects have included design, load rating, inspection, analysis, and QA/QC. Patrick earned his Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland and his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University.

Bree Hines has joined Otak as a Project Assistant. She brings ten years of experience encompassing financial, administrative, and customer service roles, including two-and-a-half years in the A/E/C industry. Bree earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in Business from Portland Community College.



 Laura Martin has joined Otak as a Landscape Design Professional. She brings over 15 years of experience and professional skills in all areas of landscape architecture from conceptual design and visioning through design development, construction documents, and field supervision. She has worked on various large, high-end resorts and hotels, as well as multifamily and institutional projects in the United States and Mexico. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from Morelos State University in Mexico.



 Brent Deets has joined Otak as a Bridge Engineer. Prior to joining Otak, he worked for five years as a Senior Structural Engineer at a private engineering firm where he specialized in bridge design. He earned his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil (Structural) Engineering from the University of Southern California, and he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Richmond.

 Shannon Gray, LEED AP BD+C, has joined Otak as a water resources engineering designer. She brings over five years of experience in sustainability, water resources, and engineering, and she has worked on a variety of site development and street improvement projects. She possesses a strong background in roadway drainage, urban stormwater design, hydraulic analysis, and flood mitigation. Shannon earned her Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado, and her Bachelor of Science in Sociology from College of Charleston.


Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Bernie Viloria has rejoined Otak as a Highway Design Manager. He has over 24 years of experience in the field of engineering with an emphasis on highway design. He has extensive experience in the design of interchanges, roadways, internal roads, drainage, and street lighting. Bernie earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from St. Louis University, and he has been working in the United Arab Emirates for almost 20 years.



Glen Bolen, AICP, has joined Otak as a Senior Planner. He brings 20 years of planning experience in Oregon and nationally. He has a proven record of success on planning projects ranging from small area urban design plans to city comprehensive plans, as well as multi-jurisdictional regional programs. He specializes in land use, transportation planning, and urban development. Glen earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon.

Brian Burby has joined Otak as Vice President/Business Development Director. He has led numerous sales efforts from strategic sales assignments to smaller “sustainer” projects. He also brings experience coaching and mentoring sales and business development staff on sales processes and tools. Brian earned his Master of Science degree in Environmental Biology from Ohio State University, and his Bachelor of Art degree in Zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Amy DuBoff has joined Otak as a Senior Marketing Coordinator. She brings seven years of experience in proposal preparation and marketing coordination. At her previous firm, she wrote and edited proposal content, solicited and coordinated information from internal team members and consultants, and managed an opportunity database. Amy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Portland State University.



Blair Vajda, PE, has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer/Project Manager. She brings nearly ten years of experience in water resource engineering with a special focus on restoring the natural function of stream ecosystems using an integrated approach of science and engineering. Blair earned her Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering - Hydraulics from Colorado State University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry from Cornell University. She is currently the President of the Colorado Riparian Association.

Julie Ash, PE, has joined Otak as a Senior Project Engineer/Project Manager. Prior to joining Otak, she served as Engineering Group Director of a multidiscipline water and natural resources team that specialized in water resources, particularly river corridor restoration. Julie earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University.

Rachel Williams has joined Otak as a Water Resources Engineering Designer. She brings experience supporting a multidiscipline team with a range of hydraulics, sediment transport, and design tasks. She has developed and updated 1D hydraulic models for existing design conditions on different streams, and she has assisted on designs for bank stabilization, habitat improvement, and flood mitigation. Rachel earned her Master of Science degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Colorado State University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Resources Engineering.

Luke Swan has joined Otak as a Senior Geomorphologist. He brings nine years of experience in flood and watershed planning, river restoration, geomorphic process modeling, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, GIS, and remote sensing. Luke earned his Master of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from Central Washington University, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from Ohio University.

Tracy Emmanuel has joined Otak as a Geomorphologist. She is experienced in geomorphic stream corridor assessments, sediment budgets, sediment transport and scour analyses, and large-scale stream inventories. She has worked on numerous multidisciplinary teams and is knowledgeable in one- and two-dimensional hydraulic modeling, channel and bank stabilization design, fish habitat design, and riparian revegetation.

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