Board Member Spotlight August-September 2020

As part of our new  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

For the August-September 2020 Spotlight, we would like to introduce...


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

Mathew Picardal, PE
Project Manager | DCI Engineers
Programs Co-Chair

 We also asked him a few questions about the following:


Where did you grow up?

I was born in the Philippines and came to the U.S. when I was very young. I grew up in the LA/San Gabriel area in California.

What made you want to become an engineer?

Watching engineering shows on the Discovery Channel as a kid, seeing how we could use engineering to solve real world problems and create amazing structures that people could enjoy.

Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?

  • Salsa/bachata/zouk dancing
  • NBA basketball
  • Anime
  • Netflix
  • Listening to audiobooks
  • Podcasting
  • Creating helpful content for civil structural engineers on YouTube

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...

...sleeping in and drinking iced cold brew coffee.

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

  • Cal Poly Pomona - Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering
  • UC San Diego – Master of Science in Structural Engineering
  • At Cal Poly Pomona, I was a Cal Geo officer and was a researcher and designer for the Geo-Wall and EERI Seismic Design teams where we won 1st and 2nd place, respectively, at nationals.


Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.

I oversee and perform structural calculations, design, and analysis for buildings, communicate and coordinate with clients and contractors, mentor project engineers, and develop staff scheduling projections. Some significant projects include Santa Clara Retail Square, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, and Marina Del Rey Marriott Courtyard.  

What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?

There’s always something new to learn and interesting problems to solve, I’ve rarely had any boring days

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

As an engineer, technical and problem-solving skills are the most important skills to continually improve upon early on, I think of those technical skills as the foundation of a building. But communication/people/soft skills are what I think make a great engineer later in their career, those skills are the skyscraper sitting on top of the foundation. 

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

Using science, math, and physics to positively impact and shape our communities and environments and seeing something that you’ve imagined on a piece of paper to seeing it built in real life. I think there are few professions that allow you to have that much impact and satisfaction in your career.

If I were to start my career differently, I would’ve taken my early engineering classes a lot more seriously, joined engineering clubs earlier, and I would’ve started looking for internships earlier also. Professionally, I would’ve gotten involved in engineering organizations, such as ASCE, right after graduation. I know it would’ve accelerated my career growth significantly because of the people you get to learn from, the management skills you develop, the supportive friends you make, and the confidence that you build.


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

One of my mentors really encouraged me to get involved as he knew how much engineers could benefit from contributing to these types of organizations. I was skeptical at first, but I listened to his advice and attended my first meeting and asked how I could help. After that first meeting, I knew these were people who I wanted to learn from and emulate based on their character, energy, execution, organization, and the supportive and friendly environment that they provided.  

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

I love helping engineering students and young professionals in their careers and ASCE has given me many opportunities to do that and to help give back to the engineering community. Through these opportunities, I improved my project management, public speaking, networking, and communication skills

Who is someone you admire and why?

I admire my previous ASCE mentor Kevin DuMont that I met through the mentorship program. He taught me a lot about people, leadership, business, work-life balance, family, investing, success, and the importance of helping others and giving back to the community. I really resonated with the values and lessons that he taught me.

If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?

Ask questions, be curious, and speak up and share your ideas. Sure, you may occasionally feel that you’re asking a stupid question, but that’s a lot better than making a stupid mistake

Lastly, what would be your personal motto?

I really like the quote “Earn your success based on service to others, not at the expense of others.”

If you missed the last (June-July 2020) Board Member Spotlight, Crystal Mena, you can click here to read her article.

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

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