Employee Spotlight: Derek Salo

Derek and Family in front of their house under construction
Derek and Family with their new house
Derek and Family on the site of their new house

Q&A with Derek

I was running the family ranch for about a decade when I decided I wanted to do something new. Construction was always in the back of my mind, and before I knew it, I had signed up for a Construction Management Certification at the University of Washington. I was searching high and low to get my foot in the door somewhere and was about to move back to Portland when I received a call back from O’Brien for an interview. I haven’t looked back since.

There’s nothing I enjoy more about my job than interfacing with clients and peers. Working collectively to problem solve and provide a product that you can see come to life before your eyes is what I live for. I work best with a little pressure on me as well, which doesn’t hurt.

When I started at O’Brien, Keeley told me I could take this career as far as I wanted. That became a reality when I was given the opportunity to move from Project Engineer to Project Manager in the middle of O’Brien’s largest project to date. It was the most challenging yet rewarding time in my life. It’s incredible to see what you can accomplish when the team around you believes in you and provides the support you need. That project finished 3 months early, under budget and ended up winning a DJC Best Project award as well as a Trimble Viewpoint Most Outstanding Project award. I was then invited to speak about the project at the 2022 Trimble conference in Las Vegas.

I work out of the Cannon Beach Office. I was born and raised 30 minutes north in Astoria. My wife and I love living at the Oregon Coast and raising our family here, so having the opportunity to work locally and build on the coast at a company like O’Brien is a dream come true.

We love the coffee shop below our office in Cannon Beach, Insomnia Coffee! You can also find us every Sunday at the Big O Saloon in Olney for taco Sunday and a cold beverage.

Everybody has a story and everybody has some value to add.

We broke ground and are self building our dream house on our 20 acre compound.

Come in with an open mind and don’t be afraid to be challenged. Incredible things happen when you work hard and challenge the status quo.