This is the sixth profile of a series to introduce ASCE’s New Faces of Civil Engineering 2014. Geotechnical engineers evaluate the soil and other components of the earth to determine whether a particular project site is a good one for a given project. Today, read about Matthew R. Landschoot.
Throughout his young career, Matthew R. Landschoot, P.E., M.ASCE, has often heard people talk about the importance of acquiring leadership skills. So Landschoot decided that he didn’t want to talk about being a leader, he would become one.
Last year he was one of the youngest members to be accepted into the Florida Engineering Leadership Institute (FELI), whose goal is to transform professional engineers into society, community, and workplace leaders. Organized by the Florida Engineering Society, the 10-month class – which is normally only open to engineers with at least 10 years of professional experience – trains an engineer like Landschoot to become a person with a vision and the know-how to effectively use their talents to shape events around them.
“This is not something many people get a chance to do,” says Landschoot, a geotechnical engineer with Environmental and Geotechnical Specialists, Inc. (EGS), where for the past 5 years he has specialized in the implementation and interpretation of geophysical testing data for geotechnical site investigations. “I am the youngest person in the class and I would like to think that this training and experience will help me along that way with my career.
“As part of the program, the previous 2013 FELI class raised funds and designed and constructed a training bridge for My Angel with Paws, a Deland, Florida-based organization which trains service dogs for children and adults with physical disabilities. As part of the leadership project they broke down old fences on the property and installed a new cement walkway. Graduating from this program [in August] will certainly be one of the proudest achievements of my life.”
Beyond leadership training, Landschoot is a young civil engineer with significant professional accomplishments. Two of his EGS projects relating to sinkhole remediation received the APWA (American Public Works Association) Project of the Year award for Emergency Construction and Repair in 2010 and 2011. In addition, Landschoot has written 2 articles for the Florida Groundwater Association’s magazine, Florida Driller, and has been asked to present on the topic of Geophysical Testing for Subsurface Investigations for both ASCE and the APWA audiences.
“I would like to say it was great winning those [APWA] awards for those projects, but I am extremely honored to be a New Face of Civil Engineering,” says Landschoot, a graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. “The one personality trait that I pride myself on is [that] I’m a problem solver and not a problem creator.”
He went on to explain, “My job with EGS generally consists of geotechnical and geophysical engineering projects for preliminary site investigations and also construction materials testing and management. We perform geophysical testing, a nondestructive method to look into the subsurface materials prior to installing soil borings. We scan the ground and evaluate for sinkhole features or debris, and then verify findings by drilling. But I would have to say that I have almost based my whole professional career on being able to troubleshoot problems and figure out solutions to difficult, tricky situations.
“I also manage our [EGS] construction materials testing department, where we do construction materials testing for large-scale aviation jobs such as airports, terminals, and runways. Right now, we have two large airport projects for which I am the project manager: Brunswick Golden Isles Airport [in Glynn County, Georgia] which is about 50 percent complete, and Tallahassee Regional Airport runway extension.
Actively involved in ASCE, Landschoot has served as vice president, secretary, and currently president of the Tallahassee Branch, even though he recently moved to Jacksonville, which is 157 miles away.
“It is kind of weird,” he explained, “but I was elected as president just before I left Tallahassee and I gave my word that I would finish my term of office.”
Growing up, Landschoot says his main source of inspiration was his father, Gary.
“My father always worked in managerial roles at different engineering firms,” recalled Landschoot, who is also the EGS Jacksonville laboratory and office manager. “I can remember going to his office when I was in elementary school and seeing the pictures [on the wall] of the massive Liberty ship dry docks and then being given CAD [software] drafts of Homer Simpson by one of the engineering technicians. Although at the time the only drafting that I was doing was with a crayon, I knew that I wanted to one day play a role in large-scale design projects.”
Next in the series, read about Ravi Shah