When Chicago native C. David Moody Jr. worked for MARTA as a bus driver in the late ‘70s, he expertly made his way around the city. Often assigned to a different route, he fell fast for Atlanta — a city that would be home to the largest airport in the world, experience explosive growth and host the 1996 Olympics. Prescient? Perhaps.
His career clutching a big 20-inch steering wheel turned out to be short-lived because it was a seasonal opportunity for students at Morehouse College, where the future entrepreneur was studying psychology. Moody graduated and attended graduate school at Howard University to study architecture. After graduation, he was offered a job at Bechtel Power Corporation, the largest in the industry, and started working on nuclear power plants. “I took a field assignment that required an architect,” he reflects. Moody found his soul mates: a hard hat and work boots. “I fell in love with the dirt and the action.”
Uh-oh, what about his childhood dream to be an architect and draw pretty buildings? “One, I realized that I was not going to be that good of an architect. I would be average. Two, I realized I didn’t have the patience for architecture. Three, I realized I love the building part of it more than drawing and [transferred] that knowledge into construction because they go hand-in-hand,” he explains.
Fast forward 30 years, following his marriage to Karla, a move back to Atlanta to work for a small minority-owned firm that fell into bankruptcy within eight months of his accepting the job offer, working for a host of other small construction companies and honing his craft to his first contract in 1987 working on Underground Atlanta, and you have Moody Construction, celebrating more than 23 years in business and earning $70 million in annual revenues.
Moody Construction has been a beneficiary of inclusion efforts that were enacted by late Atlanta mayor Maynard Jackson. “I have to thank the City of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson and those who came after him for the program that required 35 percent participation. If you are going to have a contract with the city of Atlanta, minority- and female-owned businesses will have a fair opportunity. I like to stress that they didn’t guarantee 35 percent success. They guaranteed an ‘opportunity.’ It was never a ‘set aside.’ It was not a handout. They allowed us to have an opportunity. It was up to us to take advantage of the opportunity and build companies from it,” he shares.
Projects include The Home Depot, Morehouse College, Omni Hotel, Bank of America, World of Coke, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and a host of churches, schools and government centers.
“I always tell young people, ‘You might think you want to do one thing, but once you see what your true passion is, what you’re most comfortable with and what you will excel [at], then you take that knowledge and use it.’ Go for your real passion, and be smart and real about what you’re good at,” commands Moody.
A philanthropist, Moody serves on various boards and has a foundation, which provides scholarships to minority students. He has two children, Charles III and Karia. –yvette caslin