Sponsored by Oregon Business

Global giant buys majority stake in Otak

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Thursday, June 09, 2011

By Ben Jacklet

Okay, so Otak is no Stumptown. Actually, Otak is twice as big as Stumptown, and while it may not have a fanatic customer base among hipsters, it does have 300 employees with deep expertise in how to make cities work better. So when a foreign company buys a majority stake in Otak, it’s a big deal for Oregon.

Unlike Stumptown, Otak is not trying to obfuscate the investment. CEO Nawzad Othman, an ethnic Kurd who came to the United States from Baghdad when he was 17, says the recently announced merger with HanmiGlobal will create all sorts of opportunities for Otak, both in Oregon and globally. HanmiGlobal is based in Seoul, Korea and is one of the 20 largest construction management firms in the world.

t_NawzadOthmanOthman (pictured left, from the magazine's January 2009 issue) started Otak in Oregon 30 years ago, during the big recession of the early 1980s. His company has grown into one of the state’s most successful urban design, architecture, planning and engineering firms.

When the most recent recession hit, Otak was heavily invested in projects in the United Arab Emirates, with an office in Abu Dhabi employing 100 people. Revenues peaked at around $70 million in 2008 for Otak, but have fallen off in subsequent years as the UAE building frenzy has slowed (Othman says they are now between $45 million and $65 million per year).

Although Othman’s company got hurt by the contraction in the Middle East, he says it had to happen. “They were moving way too fast [in the UAE]. Now they’re doing things that are more measured and focused, and that creates opportunities for us.”

HanmiGlobal’s investment in Otak could enable Otak to move into areas where it has not previously worked, such as India, China and Southeast Asia. Othman says he expects jobs to grow both in Oregon and abroad.

“We are going to remain an independent company,” Othman says.

Ben Jacklet is managing editor of Oregon Business.

 

Comments   

 
Jayson Blair
0 #1 So what does Otak do exactly?Jayson Blair 2011-06-09 12:38:49
"deep expertise in how to make cities work better" gives me a hint, but doesn't really do the job. Yes I could Google it, but I shouldn't need to.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Emma
0 #2 Emma 2011-06-09 12:42:52
It says in the article what Otak does: "one of the state’s most successful urban design, architecture, planning and engineering firms."
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
James Chesky
0 #3 What did the US contractors miss?James Chesky 2011-06-09 14:25:36
What did this Korean construction firm see that so many US construction firms did not? Too bad. They may have missed the long view and the boat.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
sangkon
0 #4 Very Nice.sangkon 2011-06-15 08:02:08
It's good news.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

City announces plans for Portland summer-league baseball team

News
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
IMG 3888BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Baseball is returning to Portland and city officials are hoping economic opportunity comes with it.


Read more...

Party Like It’s 1999

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
pets-com-sock-puppetBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Pets.com, GeoCities, eToys, and WorldCom … blasts-from-the-past that all signify the late 1990s Internet bubble. Yet we believe the dynamics of the market, specifically in technology stocks, are much different today than it was during the late 1990s.


Read more...

Game On

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The big news at Oregon Business is we’re getting a ping pong table. After reading the descriptions of the 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, a disproportionate number of which feature table tennis in the office, I decided it was time to bring our own workplace into the 21st century. It was a tough call, but it’s lonely at the top, and someone has to make the hard decisions.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

March 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Employment in Oregon is almost back up to prerecession levels — and employers are having to work harder to entice talented staff to join their ranks. This year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project showcases the kind of quality workplaces that foster happy employees. 


Read more...

ZoomCare rolls out new on-demand health clinics

News
Monday, March 02, 2015
zoomcarethumbBY KIM MOORE |  OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Portland-based healthcare provider ZoomCare said it plans to “remake American healthcare” by expanding its on-demand urgent care model to emergency, surgery, dental and primary care, among others.


Read more...

Meeting Facilities Perspective

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A conversation with Donna Earley, director of sales and marketing for the Salem Convention Center.


Read more...

The week journalism died

Linda Baker
Sunday, February 15, 2015
deadjournalismthumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

As the investigation against the governor moves forward, those of us in the news business should reflect on our own potential for subverting the democratic process.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS