ASCE has been there to help Robert P. Wadell, P.E., F.ASCE. So it only
seemed natural to him that he return the favor.
And then some.
Wadell recently made an extraordinary gift to the ASCE Foundation, placing
him among the Foundation’s 1852 Society – a prestigious group of 16 of the
most generous donors in ASCE’s storied history.
“Every ASCE member can be proud when one of our own hard-working and
successful members acknowledges the importance of our profession by giving back
and investing in its future,” said Foundation President Jon Magnusson, P.E.,
S.E., F.SEI, Dist.M.ASCE. “Bob has truly provided leadership for current and
future civil engineers.”
Wadell joined ASCE as a student at the University of California, Berkeley
while earning his BSCE and MSCE degrees. He later served as president for the
San Francisco Younger Member group, then known as the Associate Member Forum,
and secretary of the San Francisco Section.
“At every turn of the road, I found ASCE was an important component –
through the people you meet and the skills you develop,” Wadell said. “I think
it’s important to continue your education, to build professional relationships,
and to practice professional conduct. Through my ASCE participation and
observation, I have learned so much by meeting and serving on committees with
peers, highly regarded specialists, and principals and founders of impressive
civil engineering firms. ASCE has been an important part of that process since
I was a young member.”
Wadell started his own company, Wadell Engineering Corporation, with a
practice limited to airport planning and design in the San Francisco Bay Area
while still in his 20s. The firm has served as prime consultant for 500
domestic and international airport projects, both large and small, for general
aviation, military and commercial airports, and international airports in India
and the Philippines. Favorite projects include developing new runways and
hangars for the military, remote island airfields, as well as airstrips for
private individuals, making for a varied and interesting career.
Perhaps what makes Wadell most proud in his 44 years as president and CEO of
his firm, is the company’s successful projects and the relationships with his
clients. Some current public clients have worked with the company since the
“We learned early on through ASCE,” Wadell said, “that if you practice in
the areas in which you’re competent; work in the interests of your clients, and
pay close attention to your projects, then all of those things come together
for an enjoyable and successful practice.”
Wadell received ASCE’s Edmund Friedman Young Engineer Award for Professional
Achievement in 1974 and, later, the Outstanding Engineer in California ASCE
Activities Award. He served ASCE in a number of committee positions at the
section and national levels including chairman of the Executive Committee of ASCE’s
Engineering Management Division.
In addition to his gift to ASCE, Wadell established the Robert P. Wadell,
P.E., F.ASCE, Endowed Scholarship Fund at UC Berkeley to assist undergraduate
civil engineering students who show financial need and “to provide for the
creation of outstanding civil engineers through opportunity.”
Most recently, Wadell established the Robert P. Wadell Endowed Fellowship
for Civil Engineering Innovation, to support high-achieving doctoral students
in Berkeley’s CEE department and “to foster innovation in both research and the
practice of civil engineering.”
“Bob is an accomplished civil engineer who gives back to his profession with
a sincere desire to make a positive difference in the world,” said ASCE
Executive Director Tom Smith, ENV SP, CAE, F.ASCE. “The ASCE Foundation is
grateful for Bob’s generosity and support of the Foundation’s efforts to
advance the profession and public welfare.”
And though Wadell’s career is still going strong, he enjoys looking forward
to the profession’s future engineers.
“As you look back at your accomplishments and consider how you got here, you
start saying, ‘Well, what can I do? How can I contribute?” Wadell said. “So it
becomes a time to give back. Remember, it is never too early to give back, but don’t
let it be too late!
“ASCE has been invaluable to my career. ASCE helped in developing my
education, ethics, and confidence to start my own firm and run it successfully.
I want to offer to Younger Members the opportunities and benefits I have
received from my lifelong membership in ASCE.”
If you want to demonstrate your philanthropic leadership within the
civil engineering community by becoming a member of the 1852 Society, contact
Jen Ilchishin, Manager of Major Gifts, at 703-295-6092 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donald O. "Don" Dusenberry, P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCESarmad "Sam" Rihani, P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE
Helene M. Brennan, P.E., M.ASCE
Gregory E. “Greg” DiLoreto, P.E., P.L.S., D.WRE, F.ASCE
Kathy J. Caldwell, P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE, Pres.11.ASCE
Stan Caldwell, P.E., SECB, F.SEI, F.AEI, F.ASCE
Randall S. “Randy” Over, P.E., F.ASCE
Moustafa A Gouda P.E., D.GE., F.ASCE
Douglas D. Knapp, P.E., M.ASCE
James J. "Jim' O'Brien, Jr., P.E., M.ASCE William "Bill" Wallace, ENV SP, M.ASCE Silky Sze Ki Wong, S.E., S.MASCERasik S. Patel, P.E., F.ASCE