Matthew M. McDole
Matthew M. McDole
Matt McDole received the 2012 Francis C. Turner Award for his contribution to the advancement of the knowledge and practice of transportation engineering. McDole has served with distinction in the transportation industry for more than 40 years, and is internationally known for his extensive experience and dedication to the transportation industry, specifically in U.S. public transit.
His experience spans the Southern Pacific Railroad to the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District to the Denver Regional Transportation District. A Denver resident, he is currently a consultant on Salt Lake City's light rail system, and is developing a state rail plan for the Colorado Department of Transportation.
McDole has served the American Society of Civil Engineers in numerous positions at section and national levels. He was president of the Transportation & Development Institute in 2008-2009 and chairs the institute's as rail and public transit council. He is also active in other professional groups, such as the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies and Design-Build Institute of America.
McDole is vice president of transportation services for consulting firm LS Gallegos & Associates in Denver, where he lives. He talked to Arizona Engineer about his time at UA Engineering.
How has your UA education benefitted you?
Pursuing civil engineering at UA was a natural for me. My dad was a CE grad at UA and had a long career with the Southern Pacific Railroad. He was a highly respected engineer in Arizona (with low three-digit PE number) and was a great role model for me. My engineering education at UA was the foundation for a very interesting and rewarding career.
What are your favorite memories from your time at UA?
One is my senior design project. Two fellow students and I designed a new alignment of about three miles for the Southern Pacific Railroad line east of Benson, Ariz., that reduced the number of curves from 21 to three. Southern Pacific provided the aerial photography and for the base map, and we plotted a huge contour map of the area on the UA's new Kelsh plotter, overseen by professor Phil Newlin. When Southern Pacific's president saw the work he said, "Build it." Upon graduation this project was my first job -- doing surveying, material testing and construction inspection. A great experience from to go from design through construction.
Tell us something about yourself that people might be surprised to learn.
I moved several times time in my career to relocate for transportation projects. This includes moving to San Francisco three times and to Denver twice. But I still have roots in Tucson, Ariz., as my hometown. I was born and raised in Tucson and usually get back several times each year. I hope to spend more time there after retiring.
Tell us about your hobbies and pastimes.
I follow UA sports and watch games when I can, on TV or in person. I have enjoyed playing some myself: baseball, basketball and tennis. I like skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and camping. Model railroading is also a hobby, and I'm involved in professional organizations, the primary one being the Transportation and Development Institute of ASCE.
What are your hopes for the future of UA?
I hope the football team will finally make it to the Rose Bowl, and that the basketball and baseball teams win more national championships. I hope UA will maintain a record and reputation of excellence in engineering education.
Describe something remarkable or noteworthy you have experienced since graduating.
I have been very fortunate to attend UA and to have an enjoyable and gratifying career in transportation engineering and construction. It has been my good fortune to work on some great projects, including the Palmdale-Colton Cutoff (a 79-mile rail line to bypass Los Angeles), the Denver area E-470 toll road, and the San Francisco BART. I have held the top engineering position (chief engineer or equivalent) at three transportation agencies, and I'm proud that my career achievements were recognized by the 2012 ASCE Francis C. Turner Award.
What else would you like our readers to know?
In addition to a good education, I think professional registration and continuing education are keys to opportunities in a civil engineering career.
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