Rock Creek merges with Otak | AspenTimes.com
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Rock Creek merges with Otak

For the founding partners of what became one of the valley’s most innovative planning firms, things have been changing fast in the last several months.

The biggest change came on July 1, when Rock Creek Studio, a three-man planning and design shop set up several years ago by Tim Malloy and Dave Michaelson, merged with Otak, Inc., a 225-employee design and planning firm based in Portland, Ore.

Otak has gained recognition in the valley as a consultant on rail and other transportation issues. Most of its work has been done in the Pacific Northwest, where it is currently helping Seattle install a light rail system.



Otak’s Roger Millar, a part owner who is consulting with the Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority, said his company is particularly impressed with Rock Creek’s work in the area of geographic information systems – known among planners as GIS – which weds computer and satellite scanning with the age-old craft of map making.

“They’re doing work with the software that the software manufacturer said isn’t possible. It’s superior to just about everything I’ve seen in this area,” said Millar, who Otak named principal-in-charge.




Michaelson will manage the company’s Carbondale office, which is expected to grow in coming months from four to 15 employees. He said one of the biggest payoffs has come in the form of administrative support.

“I no longer have to do all of the brain damage parts of the job,” he said.

Michaelson is now looking into spreading the firm’s work outside the Roaring Fork Valley, including potential jobs in Telluride and on the Front Range.

Meanwhile, Rock Creek co-founder Tim Malloy, has struck out on his own. Although Malloy’s name is, for many people, associated with Rock Creek Studio, the fact is he has been working out of his Carbondale home as a consultant since February.


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