You Can Go Home Again, Contractor Martha Moore Learns

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Apr. 28, 2014 12:00 am  

Martha Moore: “Carissa turned a year old when I was in drug rehab, and I gave her a mother for her birthday.” (Photo by Jason Burt)

Martha Moore’s love for her daughter led the Las Vegas singer back to her Arkansas home. It led her to rehab and, ultimately, it led her to take control of what became McCormick Works, a paving company now based in Ozark and Little Rock.

Ten years after Moore assumed sole ownership of the company, McCormick Works has 23 employees and annual revenue of between $10 million and $14 million.

In 2012, she also opened Seal-Tite of Arklahoma, a Mulberry company that produces an environmentally friendly pavement sealer. So far it has only two employees, but it’s profitable, Moore said, and has the potential to rival its big sister company.

Moore’s story is an appealing one and a positive one, and the contractor and her company have received a number of awards, including 2013 Woman Business Leader of the Year from the Arkansas Women’s Foundation.

She is grateful for the accolades but Moore is also candid, savvy and focused. The recognition helps her achieve her two main goals: growing her business and opening a “transition” house for women like she once was, a drug-addicted single mother.

The recognition “helps me as far as being accepted in the area,” Moore said in an interview earlier this month in her Little Rock office. “And it makes me proud because it has been a lot of hard work. But it’s been well worth it. In the end, when I’m no longer here, I want to be able to have created something that’s going to outlive me and benefit my state.”

Moore’s father, Ed McCormick, opened McCormick Asphalt Paving & Excavating Inc. in Altus in 1990. The company focused on paving driveways and roadways.

McCormick, whom his daughter laughingly described as “one of those fierce competitors who never had any friends on the other side of the fence,” had been in construction since 1970. When the company he’d been working for sold its asphalt division, McCormick received some profit-sharing money, but he also found himself “looking around in his 50s saying, ‘Who am I going to work for?’ Because basically he had not made a life.”

So Moore’s father and her brothers launched their own enterprise.

His daughter, however, had her own dreams.

“All my life, when I was a kid, I was always a talented singer,” said Moore, now 55. “And I was in a band when I was a teenager. I always had a dream of being a famous musician. So when I was 21, I went to Las Vegas, and I worked out there for about 10 years. I was going to make my mark on this world in that career.”

But making music in Las Vegas is a hard business in a hard town, and Moore lost her way, only to find herself a single mother with a drug problem.



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