How fast-rising builder stepped out of dad’s shadow
When Coorparoo-based builder Sebastian Toscano founded the second iteration of Toscano Constructions in 2015, it was a ragtag group of carpenters who would take the "odd small job", typically renovations in the $50,000 - $100,000 bracket.
Five years on, it's a professional outfit of 10-12 full-timers who are regularly handling multimillion dollar builds, from boutique unit complexes, custom homes, townhouse developments and luxury renovations.
Their swift rise has now been capped by Mr Toscano, who is aged in his early 40s, winning the prestigious National Young Builder of the Year award late last month at the Master Builders Australia National Excellence in Building & Construction Awards.
But for Mr Toscano, the story of Toscano Constructions, which was originally founded in 1979 by his father Antonin, a post-war Sicilian immigrant, is not one of conquering markets but one of conquering himself.
"My brothers and I grew up on job sites, from the age of six it was childcare for us," Mr Toscano tells the Courier Mail.
A bricklayer by trade, Mr Toscano retrained as a carpenter and spent decades subcontracting to his father on Antonin's builds.
"He was one of those wave of Italian migrants who spoke English very poorly but could build," Mr Toscano said.
"Bricks and mortar was their thing, it's all they really knew."
However, Antonin suffered a shocking workplace accident in 2010 which forced him into early retirement and five months of hospital.
The stress of this among other factors made Mr Toscano realise he was at a crossroads.
"My life didn't seem like there was a direction," he said.
"I really needed a reset, so in 2011 I went away and bought a 35-acre block at Traveston for a working holiday.
"I still loved what I did, just needed to step away from Brisbane and put my life into perspective again."
When he returned, refreshed, he turned his mind to his future.
In 2013 - 14, Mr Toscano obtained his builder's licence and the following year, 2015, registered his new company.
This, however, prompted a new crisis of confidence - "Can I really back myself?" he wondered.
"I wondered whether to continue the (Toscano) name for the business.
"But a friend of mine said, 'You should really back yourself and back your name, it's the right thing to do'.
"And I did. I backed who I am.
"It was the first time believing in myself, putting my name out there."
This is meant figuratively and literally - Toscano Constructions will open its first office in January next year, right in the heart of Coorparoo.
"I'm no longer just following Dad anymore," Mr Toscano said.
"And he couldn't be happier."
Originally published as How fast-rising builder stepped out of dad's shadow