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

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

The Green Paradox

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL

Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.


Read more...

An uncertain future

Guest Blog
Thursday, May 21, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

Uncertainty is a part of doing business, whether in through the lens of investment opportunities and risks or the business of running an enterprise.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Queen of Resilience

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Astrid Scholz scales up sustainability.


Read more...

No Boundaries

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Floor plans embrace the great wide open.


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