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Louis Falco

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Hello. My name is Louis Falco. I've been in the underground industry for about 35 years. The last 16 years, I've worked with a precast segmental tunnel liner manufacturer, and it's been very satisfying because you get to see the product as it is put together, concreted, shipped to the job site, installed by the contractors, and you get to see the finished product, which is really awesome. Very satisfying.  

Before that, I did some underground work in underpinning of South Station in Boston, which was really awesome. That project, we got to hear the trains coming in because we were almost seven feet below the foundation. That was really awesome.  

Another project that I really enjoyed was in Austin, Texas. It was one of the highest production jobs that I was involved with. We did 43,000 feet in 22 months, start to finish excavating and concreting, and that's where I learned a lot with my mentor. His name was John Wagner. He was one of the best guys in the industry. He taught me a lot. He had a very good character. Nothing fazed him. Nothing fazed him at all.  

In the underground, you need to be ready for just about anything because Mother Nature throws you a lot of different things. I'm glad to be in the industry. It gives me the opportunity to travel across the country, see different cities, and be with a lot of different teammates. Because once you get on a project, you're on a team. And that team has got to bring you to the end goal line. You have to be able to transfer the information to other people.  

Every chance I get, I tell them of my experience. And they can go from there. At least they'll see how this one person did it. Then they can decide how they want to do it, and they can have an experience behind them and say, “Well, that guy did it that way. I can start that way and then move on to the next step.” 

When I worked for this construction company in Montreal, Canada, it was a company that basically did general contracting so it did everything. We had this tunnel project and we were in a joint venture with S.A. Healy Company at the time. My vice president said, “You're going to go and work with the tunnel guys.” So, I said, “Fine.”  

So, I ended up going and meeting the project manager, and I met him in the old hog house, which is the change room for everybody. And I did not know that I was speaking with him until he told me who he was. He was just sitting there like everybody else. You would not know that he was the top person. Very unassuming, if you wish.

And that struck me so much that this guy who was so much knew how to handle himself, but yet he was one of the common guys. And that helped me to realize that it doesn't matter where you are in the ladder, as long as you can help everybody, you just keep going forward. And that stayed with me from the very beginning, and it's still with me today.  

Well, UCA is a good forum to meet a lot of people in the industry nationwide and international-wide. It gives you the ability to be able to tap into other people's knowledge, see who else is in the industry. You get a big book of addresses if you wish, a book a knowledge. It's good to be in this group of people so that if you ever have a problem, you hear about things, about what happened before. You can tap into that knowledge and it's helpful.
If you love to travel and you like to see different parts of the country or even different parts of the world, the tunneling business is the way to do it. It gives you an opportunity to travel and to work with Mother Nature, because Mother Nature never laid it down evenly everywhere. She did a lot of different things elsewhere. So, it's a good challenge. It's a good, challenging career.  

Don't let it phase you because there are enough people out there who have gone through the same obstacles in one way or another. So, I guess my advice would be if they can do it, you can certainly try to do it, and you can do it.