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Don Tocco

January 1, 2016

Owner, D.L. Tocco & Associates Inc.

Don is the founder and president of D.L. Tocco & Associates, a national company based in Troy, MI that specializes in business development and marketing for industrial construction companies throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The firm’s collective sales total over $4 billion since inception.

With his father and his grandfather employed in the automotive industry, Don was certain to follow, and for a considerable amount of time he did drive a truck and worked in a small job shop. Lacking a formal education, mentoring, or any financial assistance, he had a spiritual urge and strong passion to read a number of the classic inspirational books of the ?70s. Armed with this information and help from Dale Carnegie’s Leadership Training, he created a business from a one-bedroom apartment that is still today a one-of-a-kind enterprise.

Taking six small industrial contractors with annual sales ranging from $400,000 to $3 million, he helped them grow into market sector leaders with annual sales growth skyrocketing from 25 times to 150 times annual original sales (on average) in less than 12 years. Today, Tocco & Associates is the premier one-stop source for major construction projects ranging from $500,000 to $250 million per project.

Don has given extensively to the youth of America and the world community of young leaders for over 35 years. His special outreach programs include in part:

  • Keynoting over 30 international leadership programs through Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, reaching students from every state in America and 70 countries, sharing the podium with a past president of the United States, a Cardinal from the Vatican, senators, congressmen, military leaders, famous industrialists, and best-selling authors.

  • For over 13 years, Hillsdale College and now Northwood University students have heard his message on “burning desire” and how to discover their God-given talents. A number of these students have recently taken critical leadership positions in Washington D.C. in an effort to take America back from those who would abandon the Constitution.

  • In 1988 at the behest of a principal of an elementary school, Don created his now popular Youth Enrichment Series (YES) designed expressly to teach elementary-aged students life’s success principles. This program was discovered, promoted and initially funded by one-time General Motors division EDS. Don has presented YES’s five-week program at over 25 schools.

Not to be found wasting any of his valuable time, Don has authored a book, Art of the Journey, that is replete with sculptures, paintings, photography, and poetry, all done by the author. Three of his sculptures can be viewed at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, MI. The book is sold at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Charles Wright Museum in Detroit, plus on Amazon.

More can be found on Don’s commitment to our youth at

*All biographical information is only current up to the date of the award.

Philosophy of Life

Dear Student:

As you sit quietly in your safe place at home or perhaps at a desk in an empty classroom, attempting to get some meaningful work accomplished, please know you are not alone in your frustration, disappointment, and need to overcome the uncertainty being created by COVID-19. It has in an instant, singularly and effectively dismantled our successful routines and the ability to generally enjoy our lives.

There should be some genuine comfort knowing we are all in this together; and together we shall strive toward and expect the best of all outcomes. It is for certain our focus must be upon God, our faith, truth and goodness, character and virtue; and in these ways we can be an example for others.

One of our shared frustrations is that all important plans for springtime activities at Northwood University have been either canceled or postponed. Indeed this is disheartening for us, yet I am totally confident the American Dream is alive and well in you. Through your resourcefulness and with blessings from God, you will totally self-actualize.

All crises without exception provide opportunities for great leadership. As you are a leader, it is a terrific time to figure out how to engage with positive thoughts and actions. We are obligated to put our life and familiar routines on hold, but we must do so without trepidation.

So, the 2020 challenge for you is to thoughtfully answer three questions: 1) What is the most important thing you have personally learned from this “black swan event” (COVID-19)? 2) What are the four major adjustments you have successfully made in your life? And 3) What advice would you pass down to your underclassmen or younger family members as how to best get through such unique and difficult times? Writing down your responses honestly and creatively will help you gain more clarity and confidence going forward.

My heart goes out to you, your families, friends, and professors, at this time. As a gesture of support from me, I offer two powerful literary items in poetic format that have helped me immensely in my life. May you find strength and solace in the wisdom of these enduring works and be uplifted until the sun comes out again. Please be sure to send everyone important to you copies of “If’ by Rudyard Kipling and “Whatever Be Thy Fate Today”. (Both attached).

Remember, I believe in you and your dreamslll

God Bless America!!!

Your friend, fan and supporter,
Don Tocco


If you can keep your head
when all about you
Are losing theirs
and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself
when all men doubt you
And make allowance
for their doubting, too;
If you can wait and not be tired of waiting
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies;
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating;
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream,
and not make dreams your master;
If you can think, and not make thoughts aim;
If you can meet
with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors
just the same;
If you can bear to hear
the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves
to make trap for fools,
Or watch the things
you gave your life to, broken
And stoop, and build them up
with worn out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn
of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again
at your beginnings
And never breathe a word
about your loss;
If you can force your heart
and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn
long after they are gone,
And so hold on
when there is nothing in you
Except the Will
which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can walk with crowds
and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings-
nor lose the common touch-
If neither foes nor loving friends
can hurt you,
If all men count with you-
but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds
worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth
and everything that’s in it
And – which is more –
you’ll be a Man, my son!

~by: Rudyard Kipling

“Whatever Be Thy Fate Today”

Whatever be thy fate today
Even this shall pass away,
‘O jeweled sentence from the mine of truth,
What riches it contains for age or youth.

No stately epic measured in sublime
So comforts or so councils for all time,
As these few words.
Go and write them on your heart,
Make them of your daily life apart.

Art thou in misery brother?
Then I pray be comforted,
Thy grief shall pass away.
Art thou elated – be not too gay,
Temper thy joy.
It too shall pass away.

Fame, glory, place and power;
They are but little babbles of the hour.
Thus be not over proud,
Nor yet cast down,
Judge thou aright.

When skies are clear, expect the cloud
In darkness wait the coming light,
Remember whatever be thy fate today…
Even this shall pass away.

~Author: unknown