Robert P Wadell, P.E., F.ASCE

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 of real estate to the ASCE Foundation, placing him among members of 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 Jon Magnusson, P.E., S.E., F.SEI, Dist.M.ASCE, Foundation President at the time of Bob’s gift. “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 while still in his 20s, Wadell Engineering Corporation, in the San Francisco Bay Area with a practice limited to airport planning and design. 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 earliest years. “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.

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.”

You can take care of yourself and take care of ASCE with a gift of real estate. The sale of a home, commercial building, or investment property can provide tax benefits, generate income, and help the civil engineering profession.

Is giving real estate right for you?

  • Do you own residential, commercial, or undeveloped real estate that has appreciated in value and you no longer wish to manage or maintain it?
  • Has your home risen in value beyond the capital gains exclusion rate?
  • Do you have a vacation home that your family no longer uses?

If you are interested in making a gift to the ASCE Foundation and your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” a gift of real estate may be a good option for you. If you have questions, please contact us