THE COMMERCE CLUB CONGLOMERATE
Featuring Dave Moody, CEO,
C.D. Moody Construction
If you visit C.D. Moody Construction’s website, you would notice that their “History” section reads more like a page from a motivational, self-help manual than the chronological timeline one would expect. Much like the way its CEO speaks when presenting to an audience, the site is peppered with words and phrases like “people business,” “community involvement,” “relationships,” and “vision,” to name a few. The company boasts the tagline, “We are leaders building quality…” This is not just a clever advertising ploy, however, but tried and true testimony; for after you have met the company’s founder, who recently paid a visit to The Commerce Club, Atlanta’s premier business and civic club, you can’t help but to identify the man and his company as one and the same.
C.D. Moody – or Dave, as his friends prefer to call him – comes from a long line of ambitious dreamers. His grandfather, whom he sites as his first and most influential role model, arrived in Louisiana, in 1901, from British Honduras, with nothing, he says, but a dream and a passion.
Moody gazed off, remembering something in the far-off distance, as he fondly recalled this grandfather’s beloved words of encouragement, “Go for it! The hand is what it is.”
And so he did.
Beginning his company, now regarded as one of Atlanta’s Top 25 Commercial Contractors and Top 100 Private Companies by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, in 1988, with a team of just three employees, Moody, a graduate of Morehouse College, joked that his initial plan was fail-proof. “Be broke – then you can’t help but go up!” Having already tried his hand at a number of other enterprises, bounty hunting being one, he figured he may as well chase his real dream. Too, going into business with nothing, he laughed affectionately, meant that there was no chance of not being successful.
Successful is quite the understatement! 26 years later, the company has delivered more than 150 commercial projects valued at over two billion dollars. Some of his more high-profile work includes the Olympic Stadium, Turner Baseball Field, Philips Arena, Coca-Cola, Disney World, Mercedes Benz, Home Depot, and the new Maynard H. Jackson International Concourse at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Moody Construction’s professional reputation throughout the Atlanta community is as sound as its financial one.
Still, success and acclaim, and with these, the accompanying power and prestige which they bring, haven’t seemed to change the man much.
“I went into business for myself because I had nothing to lose,” elaborated Moody. “I loved the dirt, the moving. I took the field assignments. I was the guy wearing the jeans.”
For a trained architect, this humble strategy, to take the important-but-still-somehow-lesser jobs paid off. Moody has built an Atlanta-based empire in that same dirt, wearing those same jeans.
“If you can’t do the work yourself in the beginning, you don’t need need to do it. You’ve got to know your product. You can’t successfully own a business if you don’t know the product, if you’ve never worked in the field. And in construction, or any business, you have to know the business. I still don’t wear anything that I can’t get cement or dirt on,” he affirmed.
He went on to credit more than just modest beginnings for the winning streak he’s on. He sited a vigorous work ethic, instilled in him by grandparents and others at a very young age (“You have to be willing to work hard” and “Be the best at what you do”); ambition (“Life is what we make it, regardless of how we start it” and “I didn’t have big dreams, so I’ve exceeded those. I’m trying to recreate those for the second half of my life. Make some big dreams – you’ll hit them”); and our progressive city (“Atlanta people got it really early about inclusion. Atlanta got it right. I never got a hand out, but I did get a fair chance. If you don’t make it, it’s on you!”), all as part of the equation that helped him attain his goals.
Not to sugar-coat things, Moody is quick to point out that a fair chance does not necessarily mean a free ride, and life was certainly not without its bumps in the road.
“Now I ask people, ‘How have you been a good mentor?’ Be honest. I try and tell people to tell others when you have failed and had to get up. People look at us and think we’ve had no hiccups along the way. So the greatest thing we can do is be honest.”
Honesty. Moody embodies this mantra daily, mentoring, speaking, and encouraging those he encounters to listen to his story and, in turn, to tell their own. A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, he has grown a grassroots fan-following – which, ironically, has unarguably given him more influence than what he has managed to achieve even with his business – for the blog he began in 2012 in order to chronicle what he calls his “journey of life and healing.”
“This blog was started to celebrate 25 years in business. I quickly realized, as I opened up and dug deep inside, I couldn’t tell an accurate story [of] my journey in business without telling the accurate story of my life.”
Read in more than 80 countries, Moody is continually transparent throughout the blog’s posts, as he bravely tackles not just the sexual abuse he endured as a child, but subjects such as PTSD and panic attacks, trauma, his faith in God, and healing.
Speaking to his audience, a room full of small business owners, entrepreneurs, and up-and-comers, about the impact that all of these combined experiences have had on his company and the precautions one should take when in the business, Moody advised that one should embrace personal awareness.
“Everybody has a story. Know your story. It impacts your career. Know your triggers. Being an entrepreneur, a professional, you have to know what makes you tick.”
Upbeat and optimistic, C.D. Moody closed by reminding everyone not to make room for negativity in their lives. Regardless of what anyone has been through, happiness is most certainly obtainable.
“At the end of the day, life’s about what you make it,” he stated frankly. “I use my grandfather as an example because he thought he had a choice. He had a dream and a vision. The greatest thing that stops us is fear – real and imagined – and most of it is imaginary. You have to push through fear. There’s beauty on the other side.”
The Commerce Club Atlanta proudly presents programming geared toward small business each and every first Wednesday of the month: “Innovators, Trailblazers, Start-Ups, Entrepreneurs, Up-and-Comers and More … If This is You, You Won’t Want to Miss!”
The Commerce Club Conglomerate: Mission Statement
The Commerce Club Conglomerate (CCC) was created in 2014 for Club Members and their guests as an assimilation of small businesses, their owners, employees, as well as their patrons and supporters to aid, assist, educate, and engage the small business sector. Understanding that small enterprises account for 52 percent of all U.S. workers, the CCC also recognizes the role that small business plays in our overall economic stability. The CCC serves to celebrate this strength by working to build and grow its businesses and leaders both in the Atlanta and global marketplaces.
To join this group or for reservations or additional information about these one-hour speaker luncheon events, please e-mail Anna.Chafen@ourclub.com or call 404.222.0191.