Honoring Anna Cassalia Thackray
This week in March is recognized as Women in Construction week, and there has never been a more vital time to build an inclusive, equitable and diverse workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women account for less than 11% of all people working in the construction industry. Not only was Thackray Crane Rental co-founded by a young woman entrepreneur, but it has and continues to proudly employ a growing number of women both in the office and out in the field.
In 1947, Anna Cassalia Thackray and her husband Walter Thackray started Thackray Crane Rental on the principles of honesty and integrity. Anna was greatly influenced by her own parents, Frances and Ben Cassalia, to become involved in the construction industry. Having emigrated from Italy, Anna’s parents both displayed a strong work ethic; Anna’s father was a builder who constructed many of the homes and apartment complexes in the Philadelphia area.
With the purchase of a single TL20 Lorrain crane, Walter was concentrating on the new business by operating the equipment and building relationships with customers, while Anna was at home running the administrative side of the company out of their kitchen, all while tending to her six children and taking care of her older parents and neighbors.
Anna was genuine and she quickly connected with the customers and leaders in the industry. As she engaged with customers, it became evident that Anna had a natural knack for cultivating life-long business relationships based on trust and customer satisfaction.
As a successful businesswoman, Anna was also fiercely dedicated to giving back to her community, along with her husband. The couple felt it was important to support their community as much as they could. Some of the philanthropic work that Anna and Walter spent much of their time on was helping to dismantle, rebuild and donate to St. Cecilia Church, the local parish where they remained lifelong parishioners.
As a trailblazer in the male-dominated construction industry, many would agree that Anna was ahead of her time. Her legacy continues to serve as an inspiration for other women to follow in her footsteps.
In celebration of Women in Construction Week, we are proud to honor our very own, the late Anna Cassalia Thackray, for all of her significant contributions to the construction industry and community alike. Thackray Crane Rental remains committed to the construction industry’s progress, and we will continue to do our part to ensure that women are a thriving part of the industry’s future success.