Hard work and initiative have brought Robert “Tito” Thacker to where he is today: site superintendent for the general contractor that’s in charge of tearing down four once crime-ridden motels on Tukwila International Boulevard.
“Everything on this job I have to deal with,” said Thacker, who works for Construction Group International of Woodinville.
Like many Tukwila residents, Thacker knows the history of the motels and the dark image that dogged International Boulevard for decades. He rode his bike there as a teen.
He lived near the Tukwila Community Center in Allentown, which he describes as a “tight-knit community.”
He attended Showalter Middle School and Foster through much of his senior year. He moved to Renton a little over a year ago and still has lots of friends in Tukwila.
“It was pretty cool when I got the call that I was coming on this project,” he says.
Like other Foster students, he earned a GED (General Education Development) rather than a diploma with the help of a credit-retrieval program, receiving his in 2007.
He uses his own experience when his nearly 11-year-old daughter says she’s upset with homework. Now is the time to get an education, he tells her.
“I’ve had to deal with so any things to get to this point because I didn’t get to this point because of my education,” he says. “I didn’t go to college.”
Thacker is where he is today, he says, “because I got into business, I kept my nose to the grindstone and I had to learn the ins and the outs and get the experience. And I had to do it early.”
Thacker started in the construction demolition and recycling business while still attending Foster. He worked for Contractors Concrete Recycling in the Skyway area for a number of years.
“I used to get off at Foster and go to work for four hours every day from 3 to 7 p.m.,” he says. “That’s really how you get the experience. You really have to have that perseverance and initiative.”
It wasn’t the easiest way to go, “but it can be done,” he says.
His view of the motels’ demise mirrors that of many others.
“I am excited for these motels to come down,” he says “I am excited for that bad mark on the community to go away.”
He’s also excited to play his part in fulfilling Tukwila’s vision for International Boulevard.
“I know that especially with the new building going up there [Tukwila Village], these guys are really going to want to start cleaning this up,” he says of the urban-renewal project.
Part of that renewal is tearing down the motels, he said.