Employee Spotlight: Paul Mateo January 23rd, 2020

I was born on July 4, 1988 (I get fireworks and the day off every year. I wonder why…) in San Francisco, but grew up in Cotati, a small city in Sonoma County. I was the first of four children for my parents, with three sisters coming after me. As a kid I was very active in a variety of sports: soccer, baseball, track and field, basketball, volleyball, football, lacrosse, and cross-country running. With my SF roots, I’ve been a fan of the 49ers and Giants for as long as I can remember. Needless to say, sports have always been a huge part of my life.

After graduating high school I attended Cal Poly SLO, where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2012. As for why I decided to study civil engineering, all signs pointed towards this career from an early age. As a child, I was obsessed with trains. I laid out my train sets and watched Thomas the Tank Engine every chance I could. I also come from a long line of civil engineers. My grandfather, two great-uncles, and great-grandfather all studied and practiced civil engineering. Based on this it seems that I was destined to be a civil engineer.

As a student at Cal Poly I participated in many extracurricular activities, including being part of Cal Poly’s club lacrosse team for one year. However, it was being part of the Society of Civil Engineers where I began to develop an interest in the applications of civil engineering, specifically geotechnical engineering. Upon graduation, I moved to the San Jose area and started working for a private geotechnical consulting firm. During my time with this company I obtained a vast amount of professional experience, which ultimately led to earning my professional license in civil engineering in 2015 and project management. 

Although geotechnical engineering was my primary focus, I was always intrigued by transportation engineering (it probably had to do with my fascination with trains), specifically when it came to pavements. In fact, I was always excited to work on pavement-related aspects of my projects. In early 2019, I got to meet several Wallace Group employees, where I learned about the services the company offers and how I could tie in my geotechnical background. I was offered an employment opportunity at the company, and I decided to take advantage of this opportunity. Although my time at Wallace Group has been relatively short, I’m very excited and thankful that I work for the company, and look forward to the challenges ahead. 

During my time at Cal Poly, I met my now-wife, Ayla-Louise. We got married in Cambria in the fall of 2012. We also have two dogs: Lizzy (Yorkshire terrier) and Jemma (poodle mix). We’re both very excited to live in SLO again as this place has always been special to us.

Questions not necessary in order of importance:

Describe what you do at WG

  • I mainly provide support with transportation engineering and land development aspects of projects. I’m also working with pavements and learning more about drainage and other services WG offers.

What are some of your favorite activities with WG?

  • Pretty much anything the Fun Committee plans. I’m also part of WG’s fantasy football league, and have enjoyed bantering with the other members on a daily basis during the season.

What are you involved in outside WG?

  • When I moved to San Jose, in addition to working as a civil engineer, I also became a lacrosse official for boys teams up through high school. Officiating was a great way to pocket some extra cash, as well as stay in shape. The main season was during spring, where I would usually officiate 3-4 days per week, and occasionally everyday of the week. The rest of the year, I would officiate at tournaments some weekends. 
  • I’ve put officiating on hold for now, but to fill my time I like to hike in the Irish Hills Natural Reserve and workout at Kennedy Club Fitness. My wife and I have also been members at Claiborne and Churchill Winery, which we became members of about a year before we moved down here (talk about foreshadowing!). Overall, since moving back to SLO, we enjoy visiting places we first discovered as students while also exploring new areas. 

Favorite pastime

  • Bike-riding, skateboarding, or walking around Cotati with friends while growing up.
  • Attending Giants games at Oracle (formerly PacBell/SBC/AT&T) Park, including taking the ferry or train to the game.
  • Driving through redwood forests and ending up on the coast. 
  • Visiting a new winery or brewery.

Favorite movie

  • The Sandlot dating back to my childhood years, but more recently(-ish?), Inception, Sherlock Holmes (as well as the sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), and Pacific Rim.

Favorite food

  • Breakfast burritos

Describe your dream vacation.

  • Standing on top of a snow-covered mountain the day after a snowstorm, taking in the serenity and picturesque views, then snowboarding down. My wife and I also took an Alaskan cruise a couple years ago, and we enjoyed it so much that we’re thinking about planning one to a new destination.

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

  • Winning championships in baseball, volleyball, and basketball.

What’s your secret ability? (expert pool player, play the harmonica, know how to tap dance)

  • I can recite the alphabet backwards. I can also recite the NATO phonetic alphabet both forwards and backwards.

What is the furthest away from SLO have you been?

  • Black Sea Region in Turkey where my wife was born.