WRITTEN BY MARK HOUSER
“When I think about what gets me the most energized, these days it’s developing other people,” says Lancia, a partner and tax market leader in the firm’s Pittsburgh office. “The impact you can have as you go through your career on those coming up behind you is significant. Being able to help people progress in their careers, and seeing them flourish and succeed, is a reward that’s priceless. So it matters a great deal to you when you’re able to do that for someone, and help them and coach them and bring them along in their career, and allow them to have the kind of success that you’re enjoying — and hopefully more success.”
For his successful career at PricewaterhouseCoopers and his exemplary service as a member of the Robert Morris University Board of Trustees, Lancia was given RMU’s 2013 Heritage Award at the annual President’s Council dinner at Heinz Field in December. The university’s highest award is given for distinguished achievement that brings honor upon the alumnus and his alma mater.
RMU Chairman Gary Claus‘74 says Lancia’s favorite day at work is when new candidates make partner. That’s because he has been instrumental in their rise, Claus says. “He would say they don’t owe him anything, but they would disagree.”
Claus and Lancia first met under tricky circumstances. Each headed the Pittsburgh tax practices of what had been two fiercely competitive major accounting firms — Lancia at Coopers and Lybrand, Claus at Price Waterhouse — which in 1998 merged into one. “It didn’t take very long for us to realize we were pretty much birds of a common feather,” Claus says. “We both have strong appreciation of family, we have great appreciation for client matters, and we both happen to be Robert Morris alums.” Years later, when he recommended Lancia as a candidate to join the Board of Trustees, Claus says his motives were “somewhat selfserving… I really want the best possible talent in the room to make decisions for the university. Having him on the board has been every bit as fulfilling as I thought it was going to be.”
Growing up in Baldwin, Lancia played drums in the high school jazz band and with a neighborhood group, Ashwood, which specialized in the brassy early ‘70s rock of Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire. After a couple years at Clarion State College and some summers working at the coke ovens in Hazelwood, he decided he needed to change his focus to a professional career, and switched to Robert Morris.
It was a fortuitous choice for Lancia. Besides the accounting degree he earned taking classes Downtown, his friends Antonio Lodovico ‘82 and Paula Lodovico Fisher ‘83 introduced him to their younger sister, Annamarie, then a junior at St. Anselm High School in Swissvale. David and Annamarie have been married 32 years now and have three children. Lauren Lancia ‘09, the oldest, chose her father’s alma mater for her undergraduate studies and now works for a leading ad agency; Alivia and David went to other schools but picked the same public accounting career path as their father.
Lancia, who also earned a master’s degree in taxation from the university, says RMU is on a “steep upward trajectory” thanks to its management, its faculty, and its students.
“You can see President Dell’Omo’s vision for the university coming to life through what’s going on right now. And the vision that he has put forth for management and the board to consider is just as exciting going forward, so it’s just been a tremendous transition. You hear about it all the time from alumni — you can feel the excitement. Because a lot of the alumni that I’m connected to most effectively from when I was going to school were Downtown. So to see what’s going on at the campus now, and to see that transition, it’s very exciting. It makes you very proud.”