Reader Profile: Jo Moore

May 10, 2014

Jo Moore enjoys her job managing environmental regulatory compliance for Ranger Construction Industries in Florida. It’s been a long journey for Moore. When she first entered the workforce, equal protection for women did not exist. At one job, she was paid less than a man doing the same job and whose mistakes she constantly corrected. Moore says she was naïve about Equal Employment Opportunity. “My parents raised us all to be a part of a team and never told me there was anything I couldn’t do because I was female,” she says. “Dad taught us about house and car maintenance, gardening, hunting, and shooting. Mom taught us cooking, cleaning, canning, and sewing. I was shocked to realize folks thought there were ‘girls’ jobs’ and ‘guys’ jobs’.” Moore praises Ranger’s gender-blindness as well as its environmental commitments.

What She Does Day to Day
Ranger is a highway construction/asphalt paving contracting company with seven asphalt plants. Moore manages the environmental regulatory compliance of the plants, equipment maintenance facilities, and construction projects. Facilities regulations involve air pollution reduction, stormwater treatment and pollution prevention, oil spill prevention, hazardous and nonhazardous waste, used oil management and building, septic and well permits. Construction projects’ environmental permits require compliance involving stormwater, working in or around protected waters, and protection of threatened and endangered species, among other factors. Moore developed a compliance and training program from scratch to assist Ranger’s staff in its environmental responsibilities.

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What Led Her Into This Line of Work
Moore’s initial interest was forestry. After spending a summer marking timber for the US Forest Service in Texas as the first woman hired in a nontraditional position, she opted instead for a career yielding more “immediate” results. She earned a Bachelor of Science in ornamental horticulture/nursery management/landscape design from North Carolina State University, graduating into a weak job market-“especially for women interested in nontypical positions,” Moore notes. She took various drafting jobs, including conducting environmental impact studies for the Raleigh Durham Airport expansion. Another drafting job led to work for the Nello L. Teer Co., where Moore spent two years doing scheduling and job cost before her promotion to project engineer. After six years, she was laid off. Two years later, she started at Ranger as an estimator. “It wasn’t long before they realized I could do a lot more than measure roads and parking lots for resurfacing,” says Moore. “I got involved in small site work estimating as well as setting up a new estimating system and training other estimators in its use.” After three years, Moore was asked to do contract and project administration and then to help the company president with environmental regulatory tasks such as reports and permit compliance. The company’s expansion laid the foundation for Moore’s full attention to environmental compliance tasks.

What She Likes Most About Her Work
Moore says she finds her work “interesting and challenging” in contrast to jobs involving the same thing day in and day out. “I feel like I’ve come full circle and am finally doing what I wanted to do all along, helping the environment, but from the industry side of things,” Moore says. She eschews the perception of those who say some industries want to cut corners and don’t care about pollution. Not Ranger and not on her watch, she says. “We believe it is important to take care of the world we have been given and see a need to achieve a balance between regulation and “mindless” construction. A lot of companies I encounter along the way feel the same.”

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Her Greatest Challenge Getting people to change “the way they have always done things” will always be a challenge, notes Moore. “Human nature seems to resist change, whether it’s allowing women into nontraditional jobs or changing the way we build projects to do a better job of protecting the environment. Some folks think I get too wound up about my expectations, but the company president once said of me, “Jo is passionate about her job, and I want people working for me who are passionate about what they do”. Our company owner says, “Do the right thing.” It’s a great feeling to have that support from the top–it makes my job easier in many respects.”