Blog
December 5, 2018


David Knowles has joined Otak to direct our transportation business. David will help build on Otak’s strong reputation for integrating natural and built environments; designing roads and bridges, trail/bike/pedestrian amenities, transit, aviation, and ports; and advancing our transportation planning practice.

With a record of directing major transportation and land use planning projects, David has worked on iconic Northwest programs such as the West Seattle to Ballard Light Rail Extension, Tacoma Link Alternatives Analysis, Oregon Passenger Rail, Willamette River Light Rail Crossing and Portland Milwaukie Light Rail expansion, East Link Light Rail Transit preliminary engineering, Rose Quarter Plan, and Portland Mall Revitalization.

He brings a valuable combined perspective of both client and consultant, with leadership roles at Portland Metro, David Evans and Associates, Sheils Obletz Johnsen, Inc., and the City of Portland. In the last nine years, David led CH2M HILL’s transit business and managed the Portland office, the largest outside of corporate headquarters.

“We’re looking forward to having David expand our transportation business, broaden our technical capabilities, and serve our transportation clients by lifting our project delivery to a new level,” said Jim Hamann, CEO of Otak.

“I am excited to join a company that is small enough to be nimble and strategic, while also having a deep bench of talented planners, architects, and engineers,” said David. “I was attracted to Otak by its reputation for smart planning and design that makes a real difference in the places we live and work, and Otak’s culture and creativity convinced me it was the right place to work.” 

 

Corporate | Engineering | Oregon | Planning | Transportation | Make a Comment | View Comments
December 4, 2018

Are you an architecture student who is an organized communicator with a passion for sustainability? We need you! Apply now!

Otak has received a 2019 Net Zero Emerging Leaders Internship grant from the Energy Trust of Oregon to hire an architecture student for a 12-week internship beginning in January 2019. 

The intern will run energy use intensity analyses of past and current Oregon projects and report findings into the AIA 2030 Challenge DDx database. Working closely with design staff in determining project energy performance, the intern will gain experience in energy analysis and its role in high-performance design. The individual will gain knowledge of the processes related to the AIA 2030 Challenge and collaborate with other interns to improve the database’s efficiency and accuracy.

“We are moving the AIA 2030 Challenge forward with this grant!” said Brian Fleener, Otak’s Director of Architecture. “This is a wonderful opportunity to grow the next generation of energy-efficient architects. Thanks to the Energy Trust of Oregon for your commitment to this important effort!”

This is a paid internship at $20/hour, requiring a minimum of 15 hours a week from January to March 2019. Preference will be given to students who can work up to over 25 hours per week; have excellent organizational, file management, and communication skills; and have experience with Revit, SketchUp, and Sefaira. 

The internship program advances Energy Trust’s goal to design all buildings to net zero energy by 2030. The interns will share the knowledge they gain with their peers and the larger design community at an Energy Trust training and education event in April 2019.

The 2019 Net Zero Emerging Leaders Internship Program supports students on a path to becoming leaders in their field, while also growing Oregon’s network of forward-thinking design professionals throughout the state.

Architecture | Oregon | Sustainability | Make a Comment | View Comments
November 13, 2018

Congratulations to Jonathan Nyone, project manager with DAY CPM (a division of Otak), named as one of eleven Phenoms under 40 by the Daily Journal of Commerce. Phenoms & Icons is a new awards competition to honor the local building industry’s rising stars and building industry icons.

Jonathan is managing a critical, high-profile project for the City of Portland as owner’s representative: the $195 million complete renovation of the iconic Portland Building, adorned with the famous statue “Portlandia.” Not only is the project one year ahead of schedule and on budget, but the project team is also seeking LEED Gold and WELL certification for the building’s sustainable features. The Oregonian noted that “the fact that the massive renovation remains on budget is notable, given the white-hot competition in the construction market.”

Jonathan has promoted more active involvement with minority/women/disadvantaged business enterprises (M/WDBEs) on his projects, and consequently the Portland Building contains the most diverse subconsultant team we’ve ever had. He is also the social equity work group lead, representing the owner in bimonthly meetings, interfacing with procurement, talking about outreach opportunities, working closely with DAY’s equity subconsultant (FM Burch & Associates), coordinating with different subconsultant firms, and helping the City exceed its M/WDBE target.

Miro Radoynovski, DAY CPM senior project manager, said, “Jonathan is the champion of using new technology tools in the quest to better serve our clients. He is a natural leader who teaches, guides, and helps not only the people on his team, but also everyone who approaches him with a request. Jonathan conducts company-wide training sessions for how to use cloud-based project management software and improve work efficiency.”

Jonathan has also been working with Otak and DAY CPM to promote greater equity and inclusion on projects and in the company. Jonathan serves on Otak’s new Rising Together team, which is advising and educating Otak’s leadership and employees on how to create a more equitable, inclusive workforce and community.

"Jon has demonstrated unmatched forward-thinking, progressive management as a leader in our organization,” said Mike Day, president of DAY CPM. “He is always looking for opportunities to creatively serve our clients in addition to sponsoring new initiatives that advance our company."

Jonathan will be honored with the other 22 Phenoms and Icons on December 13 at the Sentinel Hotel from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Congratulations, Jonathan!

Construction project management | Oregon | Make a Comment | View Comments
November 7, 2018

Otak, in partnership with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Quincy Engineering, provided design and construction management for this $25 million roadway improvement in the heart of Tillamook. The project made significant improvements to both US101 and OR6 and the intersection between the two highways, and it included reconstruction of the US101 bridge over Hoquarton Slough.

Otak designed the one-way couplet through downtown Tillamook and provided stormwater treatment and landscape architecture services throughout the project. With construction starting in summer 2016, we provided construction management and inspection to oversee work progress. The project was substantially completed in October 2018, a success story for both ODOT and the City of Tillamook.

On October 31, 2018, the City and ODOT held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the 2nd Street plaza, a festival street that will be used for farmers markets and other outdoor festivities to bring the community together. Members of the local community shared stories, along with ODOT and state representatives such as Senator Betsy Johnson and Congressman Kurt Schrader.

This project provides great value to the Tillamook community through improved traffic flow, pedestrian connectivity, and safety improvements, and it continues downtown revitalization with the new streetscape and aesthetics.

The Otak team is excited for ODOT, the City of Tillamook and its citizens, and the road users who will experience this great project!

Construction management and inspection | Engineering | Oregon | Transportation | Make a Comment | View Comments
September 19, 2018


Otak is honored to announce that two of our senior women have been named Women of Vision by the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce: Li Alligood and Tammi Connolly.

Li Alligood, AICP, LEED Green AP, is a senior planner and project manager who has mentored young women through the American Planning Association’s mentoring program; elevated Otak’s Green Otak (GO) Committee, which focuses on sustainable practices, operations, and training; and enjoys working with a large team of positive, sharp, committed professionals to build vibrant community spaces. Recently, she has worked as a senior planner on “The Fields,” a 264-unit affordable multifamily development and 100,000-square-foot office development in Tigard.

Principal Don Hanson believes his decision to hire Li is one of the best contributions he’s made in his 32 years at Otak. “Li’s exceptionable performance has upped our game on complicated projects and given both our team and our clients confidence that projects will be successful,” Don said. “Before joining Otak, Li did excellent work in the public sector on community-based planning initiatives. Li provides much of the glue that unifies our team moving forward.”

Tammi Connolly, P.E., CWRE, ENV SP, is a water resources engineer with a true passion for helping others develop their technical and leadership skills. She’s a role model for young professionals through her commitment to diversity, sustainability, and community outreach. Tammi is on the board of Women Leading Water and chairs the annual Women in Leadership Symposium, a place for women to come together to talk about the challenges they face in the workplace, find ideas and support, and discuss how they can bring others along on the journey. She also co-chairs Otak’s GO Operations Subcommittee, coordinating sustainable operations at our offices, including composting, recycling, transit programs, and energy and water saving.

Tammi has been mentoring a young engineer, Jeremy Tamargo, P.E., for the past four years. “Tammi’s leadership manifests itself daily through her deeds, particularly her willingness and commitment to go above and beyond her job description to support team members. She always sets high standards, challenging team members to uncover latent abilities and talents which otherwise would remain untapped.” Jeremy concluded, “Tammi has made me feel like an appreciated and valued member of the team since my first day at Otak. Unsurprisingly, Tammi inspires a deep sense of loyalty and affection. I feel grateful to call her a mentor and a colleague.”

Otak is proud of Li and Tammi for what they have accomplished in their careers and for our communities. “Li and Tammi are with Otak not because they are women, but because they are leading professionals in our industry," said Jim Hamann, Otak’s CEO and president. "It’s our responsibility as a firm to ensure we continue to foster and increase our focus on establishing a culture of inclusion and equity for all. We look forward to the continued advancement of Li and Tammi, and all women in Otak, to make us a stronger and better firm in the future.” 

The Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce Women of Vision awards pay tribute to Oregon and Southwest Washington women who are shaping the built environment with their leadership, mentoring efforts, community involvement, and promotion of industry diversity. The awards ceremony will take place Oct. 18, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront hotel.

Congratulations to Tammi and Li!

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September 18, 2018


The first phase of construction is wrapping up this month on the salmon-safe clean water retrofit that Otak designed at Mt. Hood Community College. This project, led by the Sandy River Watershed Council, will improve water quality and salmon habitat in Gresham’s Beaver Creek by treating 1.9 million gallons of polluted runoff per year. Older parking lots like this college campus were built without the stormwater treatment that is typically required in new development today. 

Otak’s water and natural resources engineers designed the retrofit project to treat as much runoff as possible while keeping costs down, minimizing loss of parking spaces, and protecting the mature trees that shade the parking lots. Stormwater swales and planters fit into slivers of available space, with drywells added to increase infiltration. A large raingarden creates the focal point of the retrofit, providing a visible opportunity to educate campus visitors about stormwater and watershed health. New signs designed by students will help spread the word about the project’s environmental benefits, and the City of Gresham installed devices to monitor water quality and flow rates before and after construction.

The project is funded by East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, Metro regional government, the City of Gresham, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. In 2016 the partners came together to identify retrofit projects on the college campus that would maximize environmental benefits and public education opportunities. These parking lots got top priority and are expected to be the first of many future improvements. Mt. Hood Community College is the first Salmon Safe certified community college in the country, and the stormwater retrofits will help the college maintain its certification.

On October 27, volunteers will plant the portions of the project that were built by the nonprofit group Depave. Contractors for the project are Britton Excavating and Grow Construction. The second phase of the project is expected to be built next summer, pending funding. 



*Photo credits: Mt. Hood Community College

Engineering | Oregon | Sustainability | Water | Make a Comment | View Comments
August 21, 2018

Employees began congregating in the lunchroom and adjacent conference room around 4:00 p.m. They lined up to fill their plates with food and their glasses with wine, beer on tap, or kombucha. After a busy day at work, it’s fun to relax with our coworkers.

Soon the attention was focused on the screen and Christina West and Nolan Dalman from the Architecture and Planning & Design teams, which hosted Wine-Down Wednesday’s brief program. We said goodbye to one of our summer interns, Nolan Dalman, and congratulated Otak’s two winners of the Daily Journal of Commerce Women of Vision awards: Li Alligood and Tammi Connolly.

First: a game! Employees viewed a series of project photos and competed to guess the name of the project. Was it the Beaverton High School gym repair and remodel; the Kronberg bridge, an elevated, meandering bridge through ecologically sensitive Kelly Creek; the new 22-story hotel and apartment tower in the Pearl District, Hyatt Place; or Yosemite Big Oak Flat visitor station? The first person who guessed correctly got a (fitting for the event) bottle opener.

Next: a rousing, quick game of Pictionary! Teams of two were called up and invited to draw, concurrently, the word on the piece of paper. The first team that guessed correctly went onto the next level of the tournament. Each team got just one try to get it right, but in the finals the best of three rounds won! All of the words related to Otak’s design and architecture work…bicycle lane, curtain wall, mass transit, rebar, crane…some of which challenged our creative attention. Creative Juices, the communications team (1/2 of which was a graphic designer), quickly learned it didn’t necessarily require drawing skills to win a round!

The winning team of Mandy Flett and Otho Belkhayat, titled “WOOOOW,” defeated the last remaining team from Marketing & Communications with the helpful name, “Don’t Eat Yellow Snow.”
Just another Wine-Down Wednesday in Otak’s Portland office, where every other month, we enjoy hanging out with our colleagues and laughing at ourselves!

After Hours | Community | Fun | Life @ Otak | Oregon | Make a Comment | View Comments
August 13, 2018

Congratulations to the U Champion team, an amazing trio of students who participated in the 16th annual OAME Youth Conference.

Five Otak employees participated in this great event. Stephen Wasserberger, senior project manager with DAY CPM (a division of Otak), coached the U Champion team, which took first place!

Each team of young people developed their own product or service from concept to presentation. They conceptualized a need for a product or service, came up with a name, branded it, made a promotional video in only 20 minutes, and developed and made a final presentation. They needed to consider how to allocate $5,000 of seed capital, advertising, marketing, pricing, and most of all, how to add a “secret sauce.” A panel of judges evaluated the teams’ presentations, similar to the TV show “Shark Tank.”

“I very much enjoyed working with the students,” said Stephen Wasserberger. “They are a remarkable group of kids with a strong future ahead of them.”

The winning U Champion team came up with a service to help student athletes who might not be recruited by top-tier colleges and universities. U Champion would match young people with the right divisional levels and help first-generation athletes and their families navigate the scholarship process. The service would advocate for students in what can be a stressful and complicated process.

The U Champion team consisted of Michelle (pursuing her master’s degree in counseling), high school student Myles, and middle school student Isaiah. Stephen assisted this team with Phil Miller of Fortis Construction and two people from Hoffman Construction.

“Sponsor support is critical to maintaining successful programs that champion education of our youth,” said Stephen. “I am proud to be a part of Otak/DAY CPM’s commitment to mentoring the leaders of tomorrow.“ 

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