Our great clients and friends at Cho Wines, Lois and Dave Cho, are launching an epic food and wine fest in May to promote Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) wineries and restaurants here in Oregon.

“Thank you so much for your support. So very grateful for your team in many ways.” Lois Cho, Chief Executive Officer/Founder, Cho Wines

In 2023, Cho Wines Owners Dave and Lois Cho founded Oregon Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Food + Wine, a nonprofit created with the mission to celebrate the diverse wine and culinary scenes that make Oregon so unique. The goal is to uplift Asian American Pacific Islander food and wine businesses, promote diversity, and educate the public regarding non-traditional food and wine pairings.

This inaugural event will be an epic two-day food and wine festival on May 20 and 21 from 11am to 5pm at the Stoller Family Estate Experience Center in Dayton.

As proud sponsors, we are helping to celebrate and elevate the increasing diversity of Oregon’s AAPI food and wine entrepreneurs. In addition to the standard benefits of our Gold Level Sponsorship, our own Stephanie Phillips negotiated even more visibility by asking Lois Cho what else we could provide that would help kick off this inaugural festival. Stephanie explains how this smart question took our company visibility up another notch, “We get to provide pens for the AAPI festival and that is exciting. Even though it is small, it gets our name out there even more and of course, you can never have too many pens.”

For tickets and more information on this celebration of diversity in Oregon’s food and wines, go to https://oregonaapifoodandwine.com/

It’s Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) Awards submission season and we want your nominations for our worthy Design Build projects that meet the specific criteria outlined below and will be selected as AWARD WINNING!

Please email your nominations by noon on Tuesday, May 2nd to michelle.winningham@obrien-co.com

Projects must meet these minimum requirements:

  • Completed and Owner-occupied after March 31, 2020 and before March 24, 2023

Note: We have a rolling 3-year window for submitting completed projects so if you have a worthy project that we should keep any eye on that will be completed after March 31, 2021 or later, we will keep a list to consider for future years of the cycle.

  • Completed under a single point of responsibility contract

Note: this means it must be a Design Build contract.

  • Completed on or ahead of schedule
  • Completed within budget (if cost/schedule overruns resulted from Owner-directed changes or unusual/unforeseen conditions, we can explain the circumstances approved by owner.)
  • Completed with no claims or litigation
  • Project met or exceeded Owner expectations as demonstrated by a letter from the Owner
  • Completed with no OSHA recordable fatalities

Project Categories:

Note: Bold categories are the ones we think are most matched with our project types but please consider the whole list, especially in looking ahead to future years to submit.

  • Civic/Assembly
  • Commercial Buildings
  • Educational Facilities
  • Federal, State, County, Municipal
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Industrial, Process and/or Research Facilities
  • Office Buildings
  • Rehabilitation, Renovation and/or Restoration

Submissions are rigorously judged by DBIA jurors and evaluated for design-build process, excellence in design and teaming performance.

Welcome to our first ever O’Brien Employee Spotlight, where we will regularly post interviews with team members so that we can better get to know and appreciate each other.  Please reach out to me with suggestions on people whom we might want to feature in future posts.

When I asked Stephanie Phillips, Operations Coordinator, why she suggested that we feature Andrew Adams for our inaugural spotlight post, she said to reach out to Derick Handley, Senior Superintendent, Coast Division, as Derick had shared with Stephanie how much he admired Andrew’s strong work ethic and career goal to be an accomplished carpenter.

“I have been in the construction industry for about 45 years and in that time, I have worked with many, many people. I first worked with Andrew on the North Haven project in fall 2022 and he impressed me with his eagerness to learn all aspects of construction.  He is a first-year apprentice who is meticulous and good at problem solving.  Andrew is a great person to have a conversation with if you can get him to not be shy or bashful, which he tends to do. He wants to learn everything and put it into practice, which he does with patience and humility and intelligence. All the way from putting up security fences to digging ditches, when I give him a task, he completes it and learns from it. He has a strong interest in woodworking and spends a lot of his own time working with wood.  I gave him a little router so that he can use the tool to make signs and such. I have been Andrew’s Catalytic Coach this year and he not only embodies our core values of trust, collaboration, and innovation – he is going to make one heck of a finish carpenter and the sky is the limit with Andrew at O’Brien.” 

Derick Handley, Senior Superintendent, Coast Division

Q&A with Andrew

I gravitated towards working with wood in my early teens and have continued woodworking for several years. One reason I keep working with wood is that I really enjoy watching plans progress from paper to physical objects. My goal is to transfer that enjoyment to being a carpenter, and so I entered construction as an apprentice.

I am currently in the Oregon registered JATC, or Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee through Central Oregon Community College. I am working through the curriculum, job hours, and tests required by this 4-year apprenticeship program. When looking for a job, I searched for construction companies affiliated with the JATC and reached out to all of them.  O’Brien was the first company to call me back and that is how I got hired.

I am always looking for more opportunities to work with wood and this job is moving me towards my someday goal of being a finish carpenter.  I hope that in the future, I can work specifically with trim and other visible parts of finish carpentry.

I work out of the Newport office. My parents moved to the Oregon coast and so I have good reason to be living and working here.

I am a homebody and spend most of my free time working in the woodshop that we have set up in an old horse barn.  We cleaned it out really well and it doesn’t smell like horses anymore.

Attention to detail is critical – both for avoiding actual problems and for creating a nicer finished product.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally bought a wood planer, which has been on my list to buy for several years now, that was a big day. I am having a grand time using it on woodcraft projects.

Show up on time and ask questions.

If you know a team member whom we should feature in a future Employee Spotlight, please reach out to me!

Michelle Winningham

Director of Marketing

(503) 516-3774


The March 2023 International Mass Timber Conference was the largest gathering of mass timber experts in the world. Our booth was a hub for meeting new people and sharing information.

We met people from all over the world exploring the role of innovative wood products in design + construction

With nearly 3,000 people attending from around the globe, the 2023 International Mass Timber Conference provided our enthusiastic team with a smorgasbord of opportunities to learn new things and meet new people in a shared exploration of innovative wood products currently being used and under development. From cross-laminated timber and glulam mass plywood panels to dowel-laminated timber, and laminated veneer lumber, we were blown away by the potential of these products and approaches to design and build projects that are more beautiful and high performing.

This conference is recognized in our industry as the most important single event to learn about innovative wood products.

Our booth was a big success and our people came back with new approaches that we can immediately apply to projects. “One real benefit of being at this conference is that we learned quite a bit more about Glue Laminated Timber (GLT). After about half an hour spent talking with Tom at Vaagen about the pros and cons of GLT vs. CLT, we were able to directly apply this new information to our Accretech project by suggesting swapping out GLT rather than CLT, which lowers the cost while maintaining high performance.  With this minor change, we eliminated about half of the CLT beams required to build Accretech,” says Sarah Young. 

Quantified Value, Integrated Technologies, Virtual Design + Construction, Systems Thinking

Yates Point Hotel is a 7-story cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure that exemplifies creating more density in a way that still feels comfortable.

The story of the Yates Point Hotel design build project had a messy beginning. Another design firm had created inefficient base documents that were over budget, disconnected from geographical context, and did not reflect client goals.

Our integrated team empowered the owner to explore new approaches to align with their mission, returning hope to the process and transforming the project. And it wasn’t just our engaging personalities that convinced them to reimagine what is possible. Our team employed new approaches to analysis, technology, and systems thinking to create a better process and a better building.

Designed to capture Bend’s beauty and uniqueness, the project will be built around existing Ponderosa pine trees, nestled into the existing hillside, constructed with wood to celebrate as an abstraction of the surrounding forests.

Passive solar shading along the primary south and west facing building elevations informs the exterior design, reducing energy loads for mechanical systems. Prefabricated insulated wood wall panels, photovoltaic (PV) panels at roof, and potential for solar water heating round out the new building’s sustainability aspects.

Yates Point Hotel’s renewable materials are more resilient to forest fires. Its sustainable approaches illustrate the possibilities when we step outside the box and tailor a project to a specific community. This pivotal project creates a new place that is high performing and wholly engrained within its site context and the region’s native ecosystem.

Collaboration in action: Everyone pitches in to get through a sticky situation

Cho Wines is best known for making Willamette Valley pinot noir and sparkling wines with grapes grown at high elevations

With Cho Wines’ new tasting room and winery building projected for completion early next year, our team is moving forward to be ready for preconstruction and demolition to begin the first week of May.

Along with the proverbial May flowers, our team found that April’s showers brought a big MUD PIT to the job site at Cho Wines. And while that temporarily slowed down our progress unloading the prefabricated building components that will be their new production room, everyone involved pitched in to get the job done.

Yes, our machinery got stuck in the mud. Yes, our team was covered in mud. Yes, we eventually prevailed because literally everyone involved pitched in to help.

Our Project Manager, Carol Depiante, and Superintendent Will Salser, put out the call for help which was answered by Michael Pumputis, who drove to the jobsite with reinforcements. Cho Wines’ management team pitched in right alongside us while owners Lois and David Cho took photos and videos of the team in action.

When we asked Carol about lessons learned from this muddy collaboration, she didn’t miss a beat with her response, “Don’t order too early in the season…!”