Lyall A. Pardee was born March 27, 1902 in Chamberlain, South Dakota. He and his family moved to California in 1912 where Mr. Pardee later was to attend and graduate from the California Institute of Technology.
He began his municipal career April 13, 1923, as a Topographical Draftsman. Two months later he was promoted to Junior Civil Engineer and began a promotion progression through the engineering series under the Civil Service Merit System. He spent all of his early career in street and freeway design activities, and in February 1937, he was appointed Assistant Division Engineer of the Street and Freeway Design Division. In January 1947, he was promoted to Principal Civil Engineer of the Administration Division, and approximately 5 years later he was promoted to Projects Coordinating Engineer. In January 1955, he was appointed Chief Deputy City Engineer, and seven months later, during a prolonged illness of the City Engineer, Lloyd Aldrich, he was appointed Acting City Engineer. After the retirement of Mr. Aldrich, he received the permanent appointment as City Engineer on December 21, 1956.
His distinguished service to his City and State was recognized in many ways. In 1957 he was appointed by the State Legislature to the Technical Advisory Committee for the purpose of advising the State Department of Public Works in the establishment of the California State Freeway and Expressway System. In 1957 he was recipient of the Samuel A. Greeley National Service Award, and in 1963 he was named one of the "Top Ten Public Works Men of the Year", both awarded to him by the American Public Works Association. In 1961, at the request of the German government, he was their guest as a representative of the City of Los Angeles, for the purpose of advising them on developments in all phases of transportation facilities (freeways, railroads, etc.) in West Germany. In 1969, he received the "Engineer of the Year" award from the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering, a national organization comprising all engineering societies in its membership.
In 1959, he served on the Advisory Committee on Street and Highway Deficiencies and later was reappointed by the State Legislature to a similar Advisory Committee. In 1971, he was appointing by the Governor to the State Advisory Committee on the TOPICS Program.
He was a past president of the following organizations:
- Public Works Officers' section and Board of Directors of the League of California Cities
- Metropolitan Transportation Engineering Board
- Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association of Southern California
- City and County Engineers' Association of Southern California
- Los Angeles Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers
In March, 1970, he was presented the "Distinguished Service Award" by the National Clay Pipe Institute, in Washington, D.C.
He was a Registered Civil Engineers in the State of California and a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Coordination and cooperation with representatives of other governmental organizations is evidenced by his service on numerous committees. He has been Chairman of the Coordinating Committee on Freeway Operational Problems for the City of Los Angeles.
He was a member of the:
- Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Traffic and Transit Committee
- Building Owners and Managers Association
- League of California Cities Transportation and Freeways Committee
- Federal of Sewage and Industrial Wastes Association
- California Water Pollution Control Association
- Highway Research Board
During his long career including his 17 year tenure as City Engineer, Mr. Pardee was most instrumental in guiding the City’s infrastructure system improvements so that they would smoothly mesh with the freeway system which was being constructed. He helped procure more than $200,000,000 in Gas Tax funds for use in Los Angeles City street improvements and collateral construction.
He retired in 1972, after devoting his entire 49 year professional career to the Bureau of Engineering.