Engineering a Successful Partnership
It’s not every couple that can spend all day every day successfully working together, but Ann and John Luciano from First Capital Engineering—and happily married for 28 years—are accomplishing just that. As Ann Luciano so clearly put it, “I really can’t imagine working anywhere else!”
Ann Luciano grew up at the foothills of the Pocono Mountains. She received an undergraduate degree from Marywood University, and her Master of Science degree in audiology from Columbia University.
In the early 1990s, the Lucianos moved to York due to John Luciano’s job relocation. Ann Luciano took a position with York ENT as an audiologist but was also very much involved with her children’s busy lives.
Because her husband’s new job demanded more than 80 hours per week, they rarely saw each other, and that wasn’t something they were very happy about.
“Finally one day, I suggested to John that we should start our own engineering firm,” she said. “He accepted the offer!”
In October 1995, First Capital Engineering was established, drawing on the skills of both partners to get it off the ground.
“I built the foundation of the company by writing the business plan, obtaining insurance, renting office space, and applying for a small-business loan,” Ann Luciano said. “John focused on providing professional engineering services to clients.”
It wasn’t easy at first. When their company initially opened its doors, they had no leads and no contacts and hadn’t yet been able to develop a reputation in the community.
“But we both believed in the business and knew we were going to be successful,” Ann Luciano said. “People recognized our commitment, our values, our customer service, and our quality of work that we provide to our clients. As a result, we continue to annually increase the number of clients we serve and the work that we do.”
The Lucianos take great pride in each project they work on and treat each one as though they themselves were the customer—something that they feel sets them apart from larger firms.
“One particular job I am especially proud of is the redesign of the Red Lion Horn Football Field,” Ann Luciano said.
They were originally contracted to conduct a feasibility study to determine the best way to meet the various needs of the student body.
“Our job was to determine the best means of using and modifying the properties that Red Lion School District had on hand,” Ann Luciano said.
First Capital Engineering worked hard to complete the study, obtain all the approvals and bids, implement the contracts, and break ground all within one year … and the students were never without their field space because “construction began the day the last graduate walked off of the stage on Horn Field and was completed for the first home football game that fall,” Ann Luciano said.
The Lucianos are proud to be able to act as mentors for their staff and are happy to provide training programs for them to grow professionally, using “lead by example” as their motto. They are also proud of the fact that many of their employees serve within the local community as volunteers.
Personally, both Ann and John Luciano recognize the importance of giving back to their community, and it’s something their parents and grandparents instilled in them from an early age.
“Since it was never an effort for our own parents, we automatically ‘stepped up’ when we moved to York and got involved in various organizations and volunteered,” Ann Luciano said.
Ann Luciano serves as the district chairperson for the New Birth of Freedom Council, Boy Scouts of America; she is on the Farm & Natural Lands Trust board of York County; and she is on Drexel University’s advisory council – College of Engineering Executive Development.
Her husband, John, is an executive board member, a finance committee member, and a camping committee member for the New Birth of Freedom Council and Friends of Scouting, Boy Scouts of America, and is serving as the committee chair for the annual York Distinguished Citizen Celebration.
He is a member of the Rotary Club of York; chairs the Youth Leadership committee; serves as the Parish Council president and long-range planning chairman for St. Patrick’s Church in York; serves on Drexel University’s advisory council College of Engineering executive development; and is a PIAA track and field official.
Having fun is also important to this busy couple, so they enjoy exercising, skiing, running, and biking together on the rail trail.
But no matter whether they’re working together or playing together, Ann Luciano makes it very clear that “it’s not work if you love what you do … and if you are able to spend every day with the person you love, then every day is a gift.”
John Luciano is in agreement with his wife that every day is a gift. A cancer survivor, he is celebrating that he is now cancer free, but he hasn’t forgotten his journey from diagnosis and through treatment.
It was his wife who discovered a hard spot on his stomach and encouraged him to see a doctor. He wasn’t too keen on the idea at first, and in fact told his wife when she suggested and then insisted on it, “I just ran 9 miles yesterday. I am not going to the doctor.”
But go to the doctor he did, and after much discussion, it was decided that an ultrasound would be completed to investigate Ann Luciano’s discovery. The results showed the likelihood of cancer, although more rests were needed to confirm.
The eventual diagnosis was that John Luciano had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A treatment regimen of chemotherapy was designed, and the Lucianos were required to attend a seminar before the treatment began.
Always one who was very active, John Luciano remembers that “they said I may only have enough energy after the treatment to walk to my mailbox to get the mail, and that this would be good exercise. I was devastated.”
He had done his homework on what to expect during the treatment regimen, which was three days every 28 days for six months.
“I brought in a laptop and phone and worked to pass the time and keep up my morale,” he said. The Benadryl he was prescribed to prevent a reaction to treatment made him very tired, but he was able to work out following treatments.
Due to the prednisone he was also prescribed, he additionally wrestled with hair loss, mood swings, the loss of sleep, and the desire to “consume massive quantities of food,” he said. “My family, especially my wife, took great care of me during this time.”
At the conclusion of treatments, John Luciano and his son were able to ride the Lancaster Bicycle Club’s Covered Bridges Tour in August 2012.
“I was a little slower than previous years, but I completed the bike ride,” he said.
He truly believes that the fact that he was in great physical condition before the diagnosis helped him through.
“My advice to everyone is to stay healthy—be prepared for the fight. If it were not for the great condition I was in before the diagnosis, it would have been much more difficult to recover,” John Luciano said.
He also said how grateful he is to live in an area where there are great physicians, nurses, and technicians, but most importantly he is grateful to his wife. It’s just one more example of a successful Luciano partnership. BW