January 23, 2020

Name: Dave Tocci

Current Title: Civil Engineer-in-Training

Office Location: Nashville, TN

Years at Gresham Smith: A total of 5


Meet Dave Tocci, a civil engineer-in-training in our Land Planning market and our latest Faces of Gresham Smith feature. When he’s not woodworking, wedding planning or watching hockey, this Pennsylvania native is helping us provide creative solutions to some of communities’ toughest infrastructure problems. Keep reading to learn how Dave got his start at Gresham Smith, what project he’s most enjoyed working on and what brought him back to us after leaving to pursue a different path.


Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When I was 16 years old my family moved to Middletown, Delaware to be closer to my grandparents.


Where did you go to college?

I attended the University of Delaware – the Fightin’ Blue Hens – where I received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering


When you were 10 years old what did you want to be?

A professional hockey player for the Philadelphia Flyers! Watching the team’s “Legion of Doom” – Eric Lindros, John LeClair and Mikael Renberg – was some of the most exciting hockey I’ve experienced.


What was your first job?

During the summer months and school breaks I worked as a site laborer for a construction company. My first few summers I either had a shovel or rake in my hands or I was jumping into trenches to lay utility piping and set structures. After college I joined the company full time and learned to run a bulldozer, excavator and dump truck—and passed the shoveling duties off to the greenhorns. Working in the field is what sparked my interest in the built environment.



How many years have you been with Gresham Smith?

I joined Gresham Smith as a Civil Engineer-in-Training in September 2013 before leaving in January 2018 to explore an opportunity at a different consulting firm. I rejoined Gresham Smith in May 2019 and recently celebrated my five-year anniversary with the firm.


You left Gresham Smith for a period of time. What made you decide to return?

My return to Gresham Smith was driven by three key factors. First, I was excited to rejoin the many colleagues who became great friends during my first four years at the firm. Work tends to be more enjoyable when the culture and environment is fun! Second, I knew that Gresham Smith would not only help me advance my engineering knowledge, but also provide professional development opportunities to help me grow into a leadership role. Last but not least, I wanted to work for the largest engineering firm in town. In case you missed it, Gresham Smith recently topped The Nashville Business Journal’s list of Nashville’s biggest engineering firms.


What is your favorite project you’ve worked on while at Gresham Smith and why?

My favorite project is the East Alley revitalization in Roswell, Georgia. The City asked us to turn their historic alleyway into an inviting, attractive and functional streetscape where residents and visitors can comfortably stroll, shop and dine. In addition to the overall layout and utility improvements, our team re-organized the area’s parking, installed permeable pavers and lighting, implemented a complete streets design, and improved some of the typical back-of-house functions. The project was much like stuffing 100 pounds of engineering into a five-pound sack, but it was encouraging to see the immediate positive impact our design had on the community.



What are the top three highlights of your life so far?

  • Getting engaged to my fiancé Jenna in September. The wedding is planned for September 5, 2020.
  • Witnessing the Philadelphia Eagles win their first Superbowl. I figured it wouldn’t happen in my lifetime, but thank you Nick Foles!
  • Becoming an uncle to two boys, Rocco Donato and Luca Gerado.



What would people be surprised to know about you?

I’m an avid woodworker and have a little shop set up in my garage at home. I’m currently working on a custom bathroom vanity for the house we’re remodeling.


What music is playing in your car right now?

I love rock from the 90s and 00s, so probably some Soundgarden, Seether, Blink-182 or Shinedown.