Wednesday, May 11th, 2016


Catena Welcomes Recent Hires Mitra and Mike

by Kate Rurik

Mitra Amini thrives on the variety of projects at catena consulting engineers and excels in meeting the challenges of building design.  While formerly working at James G. Pierson, she gained an understanding for residential design and school upgrades.  Since December, Mitra is putting her skills to work on the Legacy Emanuel Hospital expansion, ATA Middle School, and the PSU School of Business Administration projects.

Several years ago, Mitra prepared for Iran’s national exam, a placement test required for all students who complete high school.  During the long hours of studying, Mitra remembers gazing out the second-story window at a building under construction across the street.  She was fully mesmerized by the process.

“What makes me love structural engineering more than other types of engineering is the tangible outcome of the work and the completion of a useable physical structure for society; it’s a very satisfactory feeling,” says Mitra.

Not long after she received her bachelor’s degree, she enrolled into the civil engineering graduate program at Portland State University and relocated to Oregon.  Portland is small compared to Tehran, Iran, where she grew up, but she has grown to love the area.  She enjoys winter skiing and biking on the weekends.

When she is not traveling, Mitra fancies the exceptional food in Portland.  She visits the historic McMenamin pubs and hotels, and anticipates the appearance of their seasonal blackberry cider yearly.  Mitra loves music of all varieties, and also plays the santour, a Persian string instrument.


With over twelve years of experience, Mike Poulos brings extensive project management skills and an impressive ability to bring project details and design together.  After spending the past decade in Chicago, he moved to the west coast and worked at DCI for three years, filling the role of senior project manager.  Here at catena, he feels at home with the unique office space and the constant influx of projects ranging from simple to complex.

“The taller the better, or anything unique,” replies Mike in response to what projects he enjoys the most.  “I’m helping with Portland State University’s School of Business Administration.  The building is not that big, but is very complex.  There are unique floor shapes connecting into the existing building, and a large sloping glass wall six stories tall hovering between the buildings.  Anything that isn’t a typical box is especially enjoyable.”

He owns two rambunctious chocolate labs named Lucia and Porter who keep him active year-round.  Mike and his wife take the dogs camping, hiking, and make the rounds to Portland dog-parks.  They love to attend the annual Oregon Humane Society events where the dogs are peanut butter contest eating enthusiasts at the Doggie Dash.

Although catena is known for a dog-friendly office, Mike is quick to say the dogs have a ways to go on proper office etiquette.

“They probably won’t make the best office dogs,” laughs Mike.  “They like to eat just about anything, including paper.”

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