GroundBreak Carolinas has named Chris Moore, President of CarolinaPower and 2023 Board Chair for ABC Carolinas, to the 2023 Class of GroundBreakers – an exclusive group of individuals recognized for going above and beyond to make a difference for the construction community in the Carolinas. GroundBreak Carolinas is an organization that focuses on connecting design, construction, economic development, and commercial real estate communities.
An ABC Carolinas Board member for the past six years, and ABC Apprenticeship Committee Chair for the past four years, Moore is a strong advocate for workforce development. He works closely with industry associations and public schools to promote construction trades as a viable career option through state-registered Electrical Apprenticeship programs. He has chaired the South Carolina Upstate Electrical Contractors Apprenticeship program since its inception 15 years ago and serves on construction industry advisory boards at three higher education institutions in the state.
GroundBreak Carolinas interviewed Moore to talk about his goals and aspirations for elevating the construction industry in our region and beyond. Their conversation with him follows.
Tell us what you are most passionate about when it comes to the AEC industry.
First, I believe in delivering successful projects through a quality construction experience. Building relationships is key to making this happen – whether internal teams, prospective clients, existing clients, subcontractors, suppliers, or other industry peers. I am equally passionate about paying it forward. I have thoroughly enjoyed my construction journey and have been very blessed by many industry leaders investing in me throughout my career. It is now my turn. I am very intentional about the need to promote the construction profession as an honorable way to build a career, provide for our families, and contribute to the communities where we operate.
What are some of the things you are doing inside and outside of your workspace and organization to improve the construction industry and encourage others to make construction a potential career choice?
As 2023 Board Chair for ABC Carolinas, I have had the privilege of leading during a milestone year – our 25th anniversary as a chapter of ABC. Together, the Board and staff realized that our silver anniversary presented an excellent opportunity to celebrate our roots in the merit shop philosophy, while strategically paving the way for the next 25 years – through ongoing initiatives with emerging professionals and across all workforce development initiatives.
I can’t say enough about “earn-while-you-learn apprenticeships,” like those facilitated by ABC Carolinas. Apprenticeships are an ideal way for young people and those wanting to change careers to enter the construction industry. I take every opportunity to promote this “best kept secret” career option and its nearly limitless opportunities for personal growth. I have seen the results first-hand: CarolinaPower apprentices who graduate from the program are well-prepared for permanent employment and have a strong foundation to pursue further education.
Our future is tied to the people who make up this great industry, and I am committed to building relationships with educators, students and entities focused on developing the next-generation workforce – both craft and professional. I serve as an industry advisor for Greenville Technical College’s registered apprenticeship program; Clemson University’s Nieri Department of Construction, Planning and Development; and The Citadel’s Construction Engineering program.
Internally, I am involved with a women’s employee resource group intended to promote gender diversity across CarolinaPower and our sister companies in Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The overriding goal of this professional networking group is to engage all women in the workplace – both in the office and the field – and improve the employee experience for all. I’m pleased to say that the group’s membership does include men, and I’m proud to be one of them – and part of the official mentoring program launched last year.
How can community involvement make a difference?
Community involvement is foundational across our businesses. We exist to provide quality service, grow people, and serve the communities in which we operate. As a company, CarolinaPower is purposeful about “shining a light” in the communities where we live and work, whether it’s providing board representation for a non-profit, picking up roadside trash on a Saturday, providing frozen turkeys for a Thanksgiving feast at a local homeless shelter, or participating in middle-school career exploration programs. For me, it’s always rewarding when CarolinaPower hosts a “job shadower.” This past year, we hosted a 12-year old student seeking a glimpse into the world of construction… a “day in the life” of an electrician. I also make a point to visit elementary, middle and high schools throughout the year. I enjoy introducing the concept of “careers in construction” to students and parents. Technology is a big part of today’s electrical construction, another draw for the younger generation.
What do you see as the future trends of the construction industry over the next 5 to 10 years?
Technology will continue to evolve, increasing productivity, profitability and more sustainable outcomes – through use of prefabrication, modularization and virtual construction/augmented reality, AI-Machine learning, robotics and more.
What do you think are the most important personal attributes one must possess to be successful in the construction industry of tomorrow?
- Do what you say you will. Be consistent.
- Communicate well; specifically, have a conversation.
- Set expectations, hold people accountable, but always be respectful.
- On a personal note, I let my faith guide me. Jesus says in Matthew 7, “By their fruit you will recognize them.” Successful people demonstrate the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22): Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In the corporate world, we call these “fruits” values in action.
What leadership principles have contributed to your success?
- Be trusting and trustworthy.
- Show humility.
- Lead by example – be a servant leader.
- Listen. Show care and empathy for your team.
- Take action.
Looking back over your construction career, is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance? Why?
Spend more time in the field. Growing up with my dad in the construction industry, I worked in the field. While at Georgia Tech, I participated in the cooperative learning program – work a quarter and go to school a quarter. I worked in our Atlanta office and spent a lot of time in the field – especially in the early years. Post graduation, I moved into a management role. To this day, I have such a respect for our craftspeople. More time in the field would have made me a better manager.