I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail – 2000
The year is now 2000 and the world didn’t end on 1/1/2000 as some had predicted. The computers kept running and commerce didn’t stop. What did come later in 2000 was a recession and a work slowdown for part of 2000 and part of 2001. I had made through it through the recession of 1990 and part of 1991, now 9 years later another recession was coming in 2000.
Now that I was in business for 12 years, I now knew I had a Tiger by the tail and sometime I felt like I was just holding on for dear life. I learned in my first 12 years of business, that there were many things out of my control. I learned that an entrepreneur is also a risk manager. We spend most of our time managing risk, seen and unseen. An entrepreneur has to be pretty good at seeing the future and having a plan and vision to navigate the future. As an entrepreneur you have to have options A, B and C ready at all times, based on your predictions of the future and what work you have in hand at that time. An entrepreneur or business leader, must constantly read, listen, and stay in tune to the world and see which ways the winds are blowing today and where you think they will blow in 12- 24 months. I realized if I make one wrong decision or prediction, I can be out of business quickly and lose everything. That thought of losing everything will make you stay focused. (smile)
In the year 2000, I would often think, wow, people are depending upon me to live. Organizations are expecting us to give our time and resources and my family is counting on me. When you care about people, those thoughts can sometimes wear you down. I realized I was at that point in my business that I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. I had invested back into the business, what I was earning in the company. We were building a good track record and employees were feeding their families and counting on the company to succeed. Basically everything we had was tied up in the business. It was not that I wanted to stop, but this was the year I realized I couldn’t stop trying to grow the business; too many people were counting on me to lead. The other thing I realized was that I loved construction and architecture more than the fear of failure. My family often would laugh at me when I would visit any building that caught my attention. My wife would say I look at a building and touch it like I have a personal relationship with that building. I do rub on the walls, admire, listen and feel the bones of a building, and when I see a great museum or some incredible building, I daydream about C D Moody Construction Company building a structure like that someday. It is a great feeling I get when I walk on a job site, and marvel at the craftspeople and their talent and see the action and hear the noise. I love going into a project job trailer, and seeing all of the drawings and the huge schedule on the wall while the project team is busy getting the job done. I can spend hours on a job site. My team hates when I do spend too much time on site, so they always hurry and try to get rid of me. I always laugh at how they want me out of the way.
In 2000, we were working on some fun high end projects with high end finishes. For many years I would have my wife Karla visit the project during the finishing phase and get her opinion on the end product. I am blessed with a wife that is a handyman. She has her own tool belt and builds and repairs everything at home. I often tell her, she is the best wife/husband a man can have for a wife. She can flat out get it done with tools.
One project we started in 2000 was a historic renovation. This project was a full renovation and a lot of glass was added to the renovated exterior. I love turning an unused old building into a beautiful space that can be used for people to enjoy. I also love projects that allow a lot of sunlight in the building. I love the sun and outdoors. This was the year we were going full steam on the joint venture for the Federal Reserve Bank project. This project had some beautiful stone and marble work and I am very proud we were a part of this project.
I began to notice a change in the industry in 2000. I didn’t see as many young people trying to get jobs in construction as I did when I first started my business. I was no longer seeing young people wanting to work with their hands. There was a time when we had to put signs up on the job site trailer and at the office saying if we were hiring or not, because people came all the time. By 2000, very few people, especially young people were coming to look for work in construction. I was interviewed for an article in 2000, and the title was Executive Pushes Vo-Tech Education.
I was very concerned in 2000 about vocational education for young people. I remember when I was in high school in 1973 and I wanted to take the homebuilding class. This class actually built a home and sold it. I was told I couldn’t take the class because I was in college prep and not the vocational education track. I wanted to learn how to be a carpenter, because I believed it would make me a better architect one day. I still believe today, as I did in 1973, and as I stated in the article, “that they still put students in tracks, either college prep or vo-tech. The college prep kids are looked at as the cream of the crop and vo-tech kids are looked at as less than. The school systems look at those kids differently too. I think they need to work on creating an equal status for vo-tech students and college prep students.” There is good money to be made in construction, and I noticed in 2000, we were really losing the young kids interest in construction. In my opinion, people look at a kid that doesn’t go to college and say they can’t be successful. I also believe many people look at trade schools and technical colleges as secondary educations. I believe that construction is the one profession that robots and computers will never be able to replace the expertise of skilled craftspeople. We must get our young people feeling excited and respected to be in construction. I am a strong believer in vocational education and giving the respect to trade and technical colleges as we do the the elite 4 year colleges. They all serve a great purpose and we need trade, technical and 4 year colleges to all be successful and produce the best and the brightest.
I am truly blessed to be doing what I love. Even though I get tired of the pressure sometimes, I wouldn’t trade it for another life. By the year 2000, I am meeting some great people from all walks of life, races, gender, different economic status and religions. In the year 2000, it was still being confirmed daily to me that love is the greatest commandment of all. When we truly love others and give of ourselves and expect nothing in return, we can change a life for someone. No matter what our life story might be or how tough our challenges are in life, we can make it through the challenges and fears. I am thankful for my many blessings and a God that holds me and guides me every day.
Keep going for your dreams and remember life is great. Every day we wake up, we can face a new day with a smile knowing we did get up this morning and that we are full of life.
Here is a short video of my daughter singing 1 1/2 years ago at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia. Enjoy and see you next week.