Otak Reviews | Glassdoor

Otak Reviews

Updated September 4, 2017
10 reviews

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3.8
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R. Nicholas Loope
2 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great interdisciplinary firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Otak full-time

    Pros

    Energetic workforce, cool office, interesting projects, peer learning

    Cons

    Hectic deadlines, unclear expectations, internal friction

    Advice to Management

    Provide more leadership training and QA/QC


  2. "Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Otak full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Co-workers team effort and support.

    Cons

    Poor management and project direction.

    Advice to Management

    A great place to work because of the co-workers, not so great due to the management of projects. Managers are poor in project direction and organization resulting in constant fire drills, last minute changes, and low level of review and quality control. There is a constant turnover and loss of good qualified employees due to the previous mentioned and low pay scale compared to local pay averages.

  3. Helpful (3)

    "Easy-going friendly culture, effective management and pay are lacking"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Civil Designer (EIT) in Portland, OR
    Current Employee - Civil Designer (EIT) in Portland, OR
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Otak full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    * People are friendly and easy-going
    * The culture is budding into a fun place to work with meaningful connections and friendships
    * Work seems to be flowing in faster than Otak can hire people
    * Benefits are decent: your basic health, dental, flex spending account & pre-tax account for childcare, AD&D, basic life, short- & long-term disability, 401k with small match, AND they provide alternative medicine coverage including naturopathic, chiropractic, acupuncture and massage. :-)
    * Occasional bonuses

    Cons

    * Mentorship and clear direction is seriously lacking
    * They are green-washed; they compost and print double-sided, but they do not make sustainable design practices a priority at all - they are a slave to the client and the status quo. The company doesn't stand for anything aside from making money - which isn't a value, it's just what makes it a business. Sustainability, stewardship, community quality of life and social justice are an afterthought that they might try to throw in at the end if there is extra money and the client doesn't mind.
    * Managers do not appear to know what they want and therefore are very poor at communicating these needs to the employees they "manage"
    * Salaries are seriously below the industry average and don't seem to be going up any time soon
    * They say they are a "family" company but they will work people until they burn out if you don't set really clear boundaries.
    * The engineering side is very white-middle-aged-male heavy. No woman in upper management positions. Very few minorities as well. If you don't think like them, you may feel like you are the problem, not the lacking mentorship and management skills of the project managers. It's subtle and mild-mannered but very demoralizing. You can ask for help or to establish a different interpersonal/management dynamic, but ultimately they will probably expect you to conform to their style or figure it out on your own.

    Advice to Management

    * Create or have others create basic reference material for Otak standards, practices and project timelines to refer staff to: What is the general process for a ________ project? Where is a template for a standard plan set? These would be so simple to create and not having something like this is highly inefficient and a morale-killer.
    * Train your manager in how to manage and mentor!
    * Set clear expectations and goals for employees to strive for and measure against
    * Take initiative to reach out and get to know the people you manage. Don't expect them to always initiate and manage up; their job is to work, yours is to manage.


  4. "Planner"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Otak full-time

    Pros

    Work environment and the people make this a wonderful place along with the wide variety of project types.

    Cons

    I would say that sometimes salaries are not where they should be.


  5. Helpful (1)

    "Great Place to Work, Well Above Average"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Redmond, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Otak full-time

    Pros

    Excellent work environment, flexible hours, fun and talented co-workers. Recently I was doing what I normally have done in the past, kind of started looking for my next career move. Then I realized that I really love it here and didn't even know it. When I thought it out, I came to the conclusion that Otak is the best place I've ever worked.

    Cons

    Well it can get too busy sometimes, but in the consulting world that is more of a plus for your company and job security, and only a temporary minus.

    Advice to Management

    I will say that I personally think the management "gets it", and I think every managerial move, while occasionally curious on the surface, is for the greater good, aka the employees. So keep it up.


  6. "Architecture and Urban planning"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at Otak full-time

    Pros

    Engineers and architects work under one roof although the collaboration is minimal.

    Cons

    -Average designs that only meet the needs of profit driven clients.
    -Unethical practices and not a healthy environment to work in.
    -The business development team is disengaged from the architecture team; no culture, no values.

    Advice to Management

    Become more engaged in the passion and vision of the industry and the employees rather than focusing solely on profitability.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great place for the entrepreneurial spirit to thrive."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Otak full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    People, senior leadership, benefits, growth, opportunity.

    Cons

    Building momentum after dip in the economy. On the road to recovery.

  8. Helpful (3)

    "Working at Otak was a lot of fun"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Landscape Architectural Designer in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Landscape Architectural Designer in Seattle, WA
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Otak full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    One of the best things about working at Otak was working with high quality, good natured and dedicated people who worked hard to provide great design for the community.

    Cons

    Sometimes the work-life balance was off balance, but that would depend on project deadlines.


  9. Helpful (7)

    "There's definitely potential here...."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kirkland, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kirkland, WA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Otak full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    A lot of great projects to work on. Reasonably flexible schedules if needed.

    Cons

    The company is just coming out of survival mode after the financial downturn. Employees who remain haven't seen much reward/compensation for all the patience and hard work it took keep the company above water. Still waiting for basic "perks" to return...


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Smart and Personable"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in Lake Oswego, OR
    Former Employee - Senior Manager in Lake Oswego, OR
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Otak full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    This company has a group of really sharp and talented senior managers who are very contemporary. If you are a young professional you will be listened to and given opportunities to wear many hats. The firm is moving downtown Portland to be closer to urban clients.

    Cons

    The company has recently been purchased by a Korean comany and some adjustment is still occurring.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to allow the former manager to manage!