Otak designer finds “Katie Time” on TriMet

Katie Kersten, Otak

About the author: Katie Kersten is a senior graphic designer who has been working at Otak, Inc., for 18 years. She volunteers with EarthShare of Oregon and is on the board of directors for Third Rail Repertory Theatre. Katie has a passion for incorporating sustainable practices into her work and personal life. She lived in Portland for 22 years and moved to Sherwood in 2011. 

My office used to be located in Lake Oswego. Every workday I drove 14 miles round-trip from Sherwood to Lake Oswego. When my firm relocated to downtown Portland in May, my commute grew to 34 miles.

After figuring out that driving would cost around $15 per day for parking, gas, car maintenance, and depreciation, I decided my best option would be public transportation. A monthly transit pass would only cost about $5 per day, and my employer began offering a monthly transit stipend that covers the cost of the pass.

I believe that your attitude helps create your experience, and I have found many ways to enjoy my new commute.

During the past few months I’ve become a more transit-savvy rider, thanks in part to the many useful smartphone apps that have guided me. I’ve even incorporated MAX and WES into various trips.

I’ve recently integrated my workout studio into my commute without missing a beat. When my parents visit from out of town, they take the MAX from the airport to meet me downtown. This is always a fun experience for them. They are also able to have some similar experiences as I do when taking public transportation.

I’ve learned to think of my commute time as “Katie Time.” I read. I listen to podcasts, audio books, and music. I catch up with friends, family, and colleagues via email and social media. And I do research while I ride. People watching can be very entertaining, as well!

I believe that your attitude helps create your experience, and I have found many ways to enjoy my new commute.

Fun fact: Katie’s employer, Otak, Inc., recently achieved Gold Certification through the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work program by dramatically increasing employee alternate modes of transportation! Learn more about TriMet’s pass programs for employers