Wallace D. Mersereau joined BART in 1963, heading the appraisal section as one of its first right-of-way agents. The construction
of the interstate highway system had been launched in the mid-1950s by President Eisenhower, and this program was fully underway
in late 1963 when BART began to form its real estate department.
BART's first real estate manager, John S. Daniels, had been responsible for all Bay Area real estate activities of the California
Division of Highways (DOH). Daniels hired two senior right-of-way agents from the DOH to run negotiations and acquisitions,
and to oversee appraisal operations. Haskel O. Meredith was in charge of appraisals. He hired Mersereau, also from the DOH.
Originally hired for three years, his career with the agency spanned ten years, and culminated with his appointment as Director
of Real Estate in 1971.
During its early days, the Real Estate Department was the largest BART deparment. However, with no extensions of the system,
the department shrank. The right-of-way program for BART's initial system was virtually complete by late 1973, when Mersereau
left to take a position with the Port of Oakland.