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  • who we are

    Wallace Group is a reflection of the communities we serve. We are neighbors, family members, active volunteers, professionals and leaders in our business and personal communities. We believe in contributing and we have a commitment to the long-term health and viability of our built environment.

  • what we do

    We are service oriented professionals in Civil & Transportation Engineering, Construction Management, Landscape Architecture, Mechanical Engineering, Planning, Public Works Administration, Surveying / GIS Solutions and Water Resources. We understand the importance of thoughtful collaboration in order to deliver meaningful, elegant and cost-effective planning, design and engineering solutions for the needs of our community.

  • why we do it

    Since our founding in 1984, our focus and passion has centered on the personal side of business. We value our partnerships; we believe in earning trust and work diligently to demonstrate integrity, fairness and reliability to our clients and amongst our staff. At Wallace Group we love what we do and the value it provides to people. Our work reflects our Dedication to Service and results in high value services and-quality products for our clients and our built environment.

the latest news

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10/ 21/ 2014
I have three sisters, and also a large extended family. My dad’s side gets together once a year for a camping trip and there are usually 50 or 60 of us. With all girls, my dad needed at least one tomboy, and quite frankly he ended up with four. I have great memories of building forts and wrenching on cars with my dad. When I was growing up my grandparents had a little beach shack in Cayucos where we would spend holidays and summers, so SLO has always felt like home to me. BigRiverBeach-w   I grew up in Salinas, yes the salad bowl of the world. I made my way up to northern California, living in the town of Mendocino and then Arcata where I met my now husband Craig. After 40+ straight days of rain (yes, we were building an ark) I decided that SLO was the right climate for me. I moved here when I started at Cal Poly, Craig made the move a few years later, and we both feel very fortunate to call SLO home. Craig and I do miss the redwoods and the rivers, he was big into salmon fishing (yum! He bbq’d a fresh caught fish for our first date) and we spent a lot of time during the summers rafting and swimming. CherryCreekRaft-w   Now our days our filled with sunny weather activities, hiking, back-packing, and tending to our fruit trees and veggie garden. The love of our life is our 100-year old house, we have big dreams to restore it to its original craftsman glory. So far we have focused on the yard (it takes a few years to get good apples!) and we are in the planning stages for what we’d like to accomplish on the inside. PrizeLettuce-w   I try to fit in some form of physical activity (OK, exercise) every day, it is my “me” time and my mental break from the rest of life. My go-tos are swimming, yoga, dance, and riding my bike (yes the commute to work counts). I also spend my free time in the kitchen, I love to cook and eat, and I cooked in a couple restaurants while I was in school. My mom has a great picture of me as a little girl standing in front of the stove on a step stool making breakfast for myself, so I guess I’ve always been a fan of the Cal Poly “learn by doing” motto. Craig and I have been experimenting making hot sauce with our home grown peppers so if you like the kind of food that can burn a hole through your spoon then let’s talk. I think I burned off a few taste buds when we were in Thailand, we ate plenty of meals that left my eyes watering and my forehead dripping. WhiteLedgeBackPack-w   Questions not necessarily in order of importance: Describe what you do at WG: Play with spreadsheets. I have been known to exceed the Excel limit of 1,048,576 rows. What are you involved in outside WG? Organizations – Central Coast African Rhythm and Dance. I’ve been dancing with them for about 6 months now and I am hooked. Trying to undertake African dance has challenged my coordination more than anything else I’ve tried and it feels good to push my limits. Service groups – Coastal Cleanup! Every day is cleanup day. Craig and I usually participate with a group that is organized by the US Forest Service on the Arroyo Seco River, one of my favorite places in the world. We have also been known to spend a Saturday morning walking to the creek and filling a garbage bag. My mom has always been a big proponent of bringing a garbage bag everywhere you go and leaving a place nicer than you found it, and it has stuck with me. Favorite pastime: Eating! Favorite food: Sour cream. I eat it with pretty much everything. Describe your dream vacation: Any place where I can unplug, spend time outside, and preferably experience a new culture or activity. What’s your favorite childhood memory? Playing cards with my grandmother. What’s your secret ability? Name that tune. What is the furthest away from SLO you have been? Geographically: Thailand Culturally: Taiwan Mentally: Backpacking in Yosemite
09/ 30/ 2014
“What, me worry?” - Some of you will remember that and where it comes from. Go to university of Google to find out if you don’t! I’m not worried (and I mean it) but I am paying attention! Our American infrastructure is getting failing grades (see the American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card) and both our private analysts and government leaders have spoken openly that there is a big gap between what is needed and what exists to fund infrastructure (see the Forbes article and Reuters article on government actions).   GPA   Being a transportation specialist, I’ll focus on that aspect and explain a commonly cited reason this is true for transportation. A major source of funding for transportation infrastructure and systems has historically been the “Gas Tax” collected at the pump. The federal gas tax has not been raised in approximately two decades while its purchasing power has been eaten away by inflation and increased fuel efficiency. So why am I focused but not alarmed? Because we Americans have a long history of doing more with less (when we need to) as well as a history of creativity, boldness and ingenuity! I’ll share two quotes that reflect my thinking. The first is from a gent who faced enormous challenges and was an example of achievement in spite of or even because of those trials named Art E. Berg: “While the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.” The second is from one of my favorite founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” We are obviously not only planning but acting to not fail! Beyond quotes and abstracts I’ll share a local example that we at Wallace Group have been very fortunate to help the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) and the Kittelson team deliver: the US 101 Corridor Mobility Master Plan. In a nutshell it’s a plan to prioritize where our limited transportation dollars are spent to gain the best Return on Investment.   slocog   The US 101 Corridor Mobility Master Plan (101 MMP) is a San Luis Obispo county-wide effort by all our transportation agency representatives and involved stakeholders to do more with less. This plan reviewed needs and prioritized transportation improvements along the roughly 70 miles of US 101 corridor running through our County. The 101 MMP is to influence the Regional Transportation Plan that is updated every four years and is used to program transportation projects. Lots of details but the bottom line is it’s the plan where we as a region put our money for transportation. The 101 MMP had both technical and user perspective components to address needs holistically. The physical and traffic operations data was analyzed and users observations and opinions of the corridor was also gathered to help decision makers formulate the plan. A consultant team gathered/analyzed data and facilitated the public input process. An agency Task Force was formed from each of the member agencies to SLOCOG to receive information and make recommendations to the SLOCOG Board. This Task Force was comprehensive in representation and temporary, once the plan was formulated and approved the Task Force was done (approximately a 22 month effort). Knowing the 70 miles or so of the US 101 corridor was too much to handle in the time frame and budget allowance for the effort, the highest areas of need were identified as four segments for a total of approximately 25 miles. Using a performance based metrics system and then a benefit/cost ratio various potential multi-modal packages of improvements were identified for the Task Force to review. The recommendations of the Task Force were documented and a Draft Final plan is to be reviewed by the SLOCOG Board in October of 2014 with a final approval anticipated in December of 2014. I encourage readers to visit the SLOCOG website and learn more about this plan. This is just one example of community members implementing innovative ways to address great needs and challenges to our infrastructure. There are many other initiatives under way and being planned to locally and regionally address infrastructure funding and the long delay we’ve experienced in improving or even maintaining our existing infrastructure, whether transportation/water/energy or other focused.   paying   As we act locally we also see the national and local attention tuning into the real need to revamp the way we fund our infrastructure. I should note that this is different than other tax or credit programs being implemented for other reasons such as the carbon credit in CA). Congress is debating and taking (some) action, both at the federal and state levels healthy research is going on to identify a change from the gas tax model to perhaps a “VMT” (Vehicle Miles Traveled) model or even some combination of modes to fund the needs. Why? Because transportation is key to a thriving economy, not only is it critical for our everyday livelihood but for our regional and national economic vitality as well.   econ   So with these local and national examples we see not only good planning but action, to do more with less, prioritizing the improvements and healthy dialogue and measures to revamp our infrastructure funding system. But more work needs to be done at the federal, state and local level and we must pay attention! We no longer live in the 1970’s or 80’s and need to reinvent how we maintain economic vitality locally and nationally. I’m not worried, but I am paying close attention, taking action and I think we all should. We must act together, one last quote to accentuate this point: “We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” – Benjamin Franklin.   ben      
09/ 24/ 2014
The morning winds were calm and the water like glass when 20 deep sea fishermen set out from the peaceful Morro Bay Harbor. It was mid-September and conditions looked promising. On the 55 ft. “Fiesta” fishing boat the anxious anglers readied their rigs and looked hopefully off towards the horizon. Little did the unsuspecting cod realize that a group of mild mannered engineers were headed their way.   out   On the journey to the fishing grounds (a secret spot to be sure) the linesmen were treated to the spectacular and majestic show of California Grey Whales. This was a welcome sight and seen as a good sign (fishermen and engineers are a superstitious bunch). We reached our destination and dropped our lines. It was not long before we had our first bites and with excitement building we started to bring home the bounty of the sea. Lines were humming and the crew was hopping as more than 200 rock cod were hauled in.  
photo4

Michael LeBrun

  Jorge Milanes was the hero and victor of the day with at 16.5 lb ling cod caught. John Wallace came in second with a very respectable 15 lb. fish.  None of the anglers were disappointed; all came home with enough for dinner and nary a seasick person to be found. Now that is what we call a good day.  
Winner

Jorge Milanes and John Wallace

09/ 02/ 2014
I am a Senior Planner at Wallace Group, and that means I work in the nebulous world of land use, zoning, policy and politics. I love to wade into those murky waters and navigate a path to entitlement for someone’s dream of creating a cozy neighborhood or a new commercial venture that will enhance the community. I think my favorite work task is to write – project descriptions, technical reports, correspondence, grant applications – it doesn’t matter, I love to find the best way to lay out an argument or paint a picture with words. Outside of Wallace Group, I spend time with my McNab dog Hank, who found me 10 years ago outside the Lost Hills Carl’s Jr. and suckered me into taking him home. We like to do daily morning and evening walks and share popcorn while watching movies. My (current) favorite movie is “Pitch Perfect” with Anna Kendrick. I also like to refinish old furniture, sew quilts, make jewelry and stained glass, paint in watercolor, and hang out with family and friends. I am fortunate to have much of my family living nearby. My two children live within a few miles and sometimes come around to share Hank’s popcorn. My youngest brother and his family live in San Luis Obispo and my sister and our parents are also within easy visiting distance.   Cindy-Hank     I am the second of four children, born in Ohio as my parents made their way west. My youngest brother arrived a few years later when we finally settled in Santa Barbara, California. After attending high school in Santa Ynez, I traveled the US for a few years, eventually returning to Santa Barbara to become a cosmetologist. The clientele of the salon where I worked included the likes of Julia Childs and Kenny Loggins, although most of my clients were merely rich, not famous. Always restless, I went to Hawaii to live out the 1980’s on Kauai and Oahu, where my son Thoren (now 28) and daughter Ingrid (24) were born. Upon returning to California with my babies, I enrolled in Cuesta College and six years later walked out of Cal Poly with a BS in City and Regional Planning. We moved back to Santa Barbara where I worked in Current Planning at the City of Santa Barbara. Eventually I took a contract Planner position with the City of Paso Robles and came to Wallace Group when that contract ran out. I have stayed with Wallace Group for the longest run of my life – 11 years and counting! Farthest I have been from San Luis Obispo is Florence, Italy – I loved the Leonardo DaVinci museum. My dream vacation would involve travelling around ancient sites – castles and ruins in Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy; over to Egypt to explore the pyramids, Istanbul to see the Hagia Sophia, Jerusalem… it could happen.
08/ 19/ 2014
Wallace Group Marketing Coordinator, Susan K. Lee, is a volunteer for Woods Humane Society. Below she introduces us to Woods and the wonderful things they do for our community members; human, canine and feline alike! When people find out I volunteer at Woods, one of the most frequent questions I get is, “Doesn’t it make you sad to see all the animals in a shelter?” To which I can honestly reply, “Actually no, Woods isn’t like that!” Over the years I have volunteered at other shelters that have left me sad, but Woods is unique. The environment there is hopeful. The animals are welcoming and they are happy to see you. And any time people spend with the cats in the cattery or the dogs in their kennel area helps them socialize. Socializing gets them one step closer to finding a home, which is of course the whole point!   Woods   Woods Humane Society’s primary focus is as an adoption shelter. They are very proud to be able to say that 98% of the animals that come to Woods find forever homes. Clearly they are doing many things right! Dogs and cats are brought to Woods either through transfers from other area shelters or when their owners can no longer care for them. They receive excellent care and lots of love while they await their forever family’s arrival. In addition, Woods offers many other programs and services for the benefit of the animals in their care and for the community, a few of which are below: Please Don’t Litter Spay or neuter your critter! Woods is making a difference in the pet overpopulation problem faced by our county and the country as a whole. Their Spay and Neuter Program provides nearly 4,000 surgeries each year which translates into preventing tens of thousands of unwanted litters (wow!). And this program is not limited to the temporary residents of Woods as they also provide spay/neuter surgeries for the San Luis Obispo County Animal Services Division, and other local non-profit pet adoption organizations.   Pablo   Come. Sit. Stay. Don’t eat my shoe! Since behavior issues are one of the most common reasons an animal is surrendered to a shelter, Woods has a professional trainer on the team who works with the dogs in the shelter and also provides classes for you and your dog. They are also currently developing plans for the Woods Humane Society Behavior Center, a program dedicated entirely to rehabilitation and training of those dogs who display fearful, shy, and/or defensive behaviors in order to help them become adoptable. Back to School Fun & Furry Teachers! Woods has a Humane Education program and has partnered with the county’s schools and youth development organizations to teach children of all ages things like the effects of overpopulation and how to approach a dog. The program has reached more than 1,500 kids throughout SLO County so far! Other education opportunities are provided at Woods through story hours, birthday parties (Am I too old to have mine there?!), seasonal day camps, community service days/projects, and customized tours and/or off-site visits.   Ruby   Fundraising Fun As a non-profit organization, Woods relies on the community to continue to be able to do their amazing work. Fortunately, they have dozens of great events and activities throughout the year to provide enjoyable ways to donate money. The upcoming 22nd Annual Wiggle Waggle Walk is a great example! The theme this year is Peace, Love and Drool! (The wheels are turning for costume creation!) The walk takes place on October 18th so between now and then, I will be promoting the event to the people in my life; cajoling and bribing them with shameless displays of dog and cat pictures and baked goods to raise money for the event. If you would like to register for the walk or help me raise money for the animals at Woods, please visit the Wiggle Waggle Walk donor website!   Woodstockvf   Please visit the Woods website for more information on: Woods Humane Society Woods Volunteer Program Woods Spay & Neuter Services Woods Pet Training Program Woods Humane Education Program  Woods Events Woods Wiggle Waggle Walk