Board Member Spotlight Oct-Nov 2016

As part of our new 2015/16 Board member appreciation program we are showcasing a board member in our bimonthly Board Member Spotlight.  Our board member spotlight recognizes board members of outstanding contributions to the profession and our local communities. For any questions regarding the program please contact the Past President at

For the October and November spotlight we would like to introduce...

Michael Pierce

We asked him to state his name, company and position in ASCE:

  •             Michael Pierce
  •             Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona
  •             Mentorship Program YMF Chair

We also asked him a few questions about the following:


Where did you grow up?

Redlands, California.

What made you want to become an engineer? If you had to choose a different career what would it be?

When I was in high school, I always thought I was going to be a computer programmer. I began taking computer programming classes at the local community college before I was a junior in high school. By the time I finished high school, I was half way done with my Associates degree and realized that computer programming would not be a good career for me because I am naturally a very outgoing, active person and I didn’t want to be sitting at a desk all day. I decided then that I was going to become a fire fighter because it is a respectable career that allows you to be very active and socialize with the community. However, it wasn’t long before I learned the incrementally small odds of actually getting hired on to a department due to the very large number of people who also want to be fire fighters. I continued to take general education classes at the community college hoping that something would spark my interest. By the time I received my Associates of Arts degree, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

I went to my dad to seek advice and he told me that I would be a great engineer. He said that civil engineers solve complex problems and get to design and build large infrastructure projects that help civilization continue to grow. I did some research on the career field and decided that it was something I would enjoy; And here I am.

What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?

Associates of Arts degree from Crafton Hills Community College

  •             Alpha Gamma Sigma Honors Society

Bachelors of Science Degree from Cal Poly, Pomona.

  •             ASCE Concrete Canoe – Placed 13th nationally


Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.

Primary Role:  

I am a civil engineer for the United States Navy. I support the war fighter by designing training facilities around the world. That’s as much detail as I am allowed to give.

Non-Project work responsibilities

Some work responsibilities that I have accomplished during my career include networking with outside organizations.

What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?

I like how this is a career where you work with a team to create a final, finished result and when you’re done, you can stand back and be proud of what you have helped create.

What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?

The skills I find most valuable are the simplest ones that we should be taught early on, about safety and what to look for when entering a site.  These skills grow more though experience rather than knowledge.  These skills can be taken to any job as well, even non-engineering related.

What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?

I began my career as a transportation design engineer because I hate the traffic in Southern California and I wanted to help be a solution to the problems. I was at my first job for over three years before I stumbled across the opportunity to work with the U.S. Navy. Though I enjoyed my work as a transportation engineer, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help my country by working with the U.S. Navy and being a part of unique projects that I otherwise would never have been able to be a part of.

Describe a situation that was a great learning experience for you?

When I was a transportation engineer, we had a large design-build project that required very quick turnarounds on complicated new designs. The two lead engineers who had been working on the project for a couple years moved away and had to resign from the company. My project manager at the time entrusted me to step up and make sure the project kept moving forward. I practically lived at the office for the first couple of months while I learned the ins and outs of this project. I feel that this run-before-you-can-walk approach bumped up my design skills to someone with two more years’ experience in just a short few months and I thank my project manager for giving me the trust and opportunity that he did.


How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay?

I first got involved with ASCE while I was still in school because I wanted to join a club or organization to meet more people and make more friends on campus. I ended up joining the concrete canoe team as a paddler and am proud to say that we made it all the way to nationals. I stopped participating in ASCE events once I graduated mainly because I didn’t know ASCE existed outside of school. Shortly into my career, the president of the company began pushing for more networking with outside organizations. He got the whole office to attend a branch luncheon and those who enjoyed it were encouraged to continue going to these types of events. I did enjoy the networking side of engineering, so I kept going to events and gradually got more and more involved.

How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?

My current project manager was my mentor in the ASCE OC Mentorship Program so I literally would not be where I am now if it weren’t for the relationships I have built in ASCE. My favorite part of the involvement is friendships that are built and the sense of satisfaction every time I leave an event with the feeling that I have gone to an event on my own free will (i.e. not required for work) and am continuing to improve myself.

What has been your favorite ASCE event since you got involved?

My favorite ASCE event has to be the 2016 Western Regional Younger Member Council (WRYMC) conference. At this conference, I was given the opportunity to present to over 100 people on the inner workings of the ASCE OC Mentorship Program.


Favorite sport? 


Hobbies and Interests outside of Engineering. 

  • Dirt bike riding
  • Skydiving
  • Go kart racing
  • Snowboarding
  • Scuba diving
  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Travel
  • Fitness


If you missed the last Board Member Spotlight, Ryan Hankes, you can click here to read his article.


To view the archive of all past Member Spotlights click here.


Newsletter Sign-up

If you would like to be on our OC YMF e-mail distribution list, please use the newsletter sign-up box.

President's Message

Welcome to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Orange County Younger Member Forum (OC YMF)! For those who are new to our organization, OC YMF aims to help Younger Members grow professionally and serve the public and communities!

I am blessed and honored to be serving as President for the 2021-2022 fiscal year and contribute to the amazing legacy of OC YMF. A little about me: I work at Parsons as a Road & Highway Engineer and I am so grateful for the support, technical and soft skills I have learned through YMF to enhance my career! I have been in Orange County for 5 years now and love the community of family, friends, and colleagues that has grown over the years and enjoy all the fun things that the OC has to offer!

About Our ASCE OC YMF Leaders & Events

Everything that we do would not be possible if it wasn’t for our amazing team of 40 board members! I am joined on the Executive Board by Past-President Melissa Hilsabeck of Port of Long Beach, President-Elect…

Read More

Upcoming Events

More Events

Latest News

ASCE OC EWRI - Yorba Linda Water District PFAS Treatment Plant Tour

By Jenny Robinet, MS, PE, CFM | EWRI Chair

ASCE OC EWRI received an in-depth and informative tour of the Nation’s Largest Ion Exchange PFAS Water Treatment Plant located right here in Orange County! 

Read More »

ASCE OC Branch - Newsletter Information

By ASCE OC Publications Committee

The ASCE OC Publications Committee is looking for volunteers!  Do you appreciate documenting the legacy of ASCE and being connected to our key members?  This is…

Read More »

More News

Stay Connected

Copyright © 2022 ASCE Orange County, California Branch, All Rights Reserved