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.

2 thoughts on “Employee Spotlight: Derek Salo

  1. Derek is great to work with, appreciate getting to read some of the back story.

    I do believe you can take this job as far as you want to Derek.

  2. I have been in and out of the construction industry for a little over 50 years and I have yet to meet someone that has the qualifications and knowledge that Derek has. I have the pleasure to work with him on the Whaler project in Newport currently and it has had it’s little hiccups as all projects do, but Derek has been right there at my side to help get a quick response and answers needed to continue to move forward without a loss in the flow we have going. I have come to know and view Derek as a brother and at many times a peer when questions arise. Not many people can handle the pressure’s of the job as well as Derek. His Knowledge and the flow he has with the software we use is something to behold. I will often times reach out in Teams to get answers or to just watch him maneuver through the drawings with awe and admiration as to how quick his memory is on specific details or where to find them. Derek Salo, there’s not many in this world of humans that I would throw my hat in with, but you my friend are one. You are a quality human in work atmosphere and personal life.

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