Powerful Women in Construction – Part 4: Lila

Part 4 of our 4 part series recognizing the women who work at Tocci and their role on construction projects. Click here for Part 1: FrancesPart 2: Tammi, and Part 3: Maria. Thank you to all of the wonderful women who participated in this series!

Lila Tocci is the Director of Company Life + Charitable Giving, she also happens to be the CEO’s, John Tocci, wife. While, technically, Lila has been employed at Tocci for five years, she has played a role in the company and the industry ever since she has known John and certainly for all 42 years of marriage. On the construction projects, Lila has an integral support role in the process. As Director of Company Life, she develops programs to build and improve Tocci’s culture and is involved with recruiting new employees, since the people who are a good fit with Tocci improve the culture tremendously. At Tocci part of Company Life is Charitable Giving, and our involvement with non-profits who are developing disadvantaged youth in creative and holistic ways has been tremendously rewarding for Lila and the employees whose lives these youths touch.

Besides being married to construction, Lila says construction chose her. “My dad was a hoisting engineer with Local 4. He left for work before I was awake and carried a lunch pail with two thermoses, one for coffee break and one for lunch, because he might be loading trucks in a gravel pit all day. There’s a certain humility that comes from making a living like that. As a child I expected to have to work hard every day, all day—and that is fact of life in the construction industry. In the end, your work has contributes to the greater work—a building where people work, live, or play, well-landscaped and inviting.”

Lila’s advice to women construction or young women thinking about a career in construction is to develop thick skin. Don’t take things personally. The role you play affects many people and outcomes—you need broad shoulders to carry the weight and dedication to follow through on the details. You need to enjoy solving problems and develop the flexibility that comes with each building being one-of-a-kind.

An interesting fact about Lila, she spent summers in college working on a vegetable farm and learned to drive a truck, a four speed, and when it was loaded with corn, she learned to back into a loading dock between 18 wheelers using her mirrors. A great skill to have today, when backing into the garage between a motorcycle and a snowblower after a Costco run.

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