Business type Construction
Based Virginia Beach
Revenue 20 percent growth from 2010 to 2012
Employees 35 in 2010; 40 in 2011; 45 in 2012
Carol Curtis calls her entry into the construction industry a total fluke.
As a student at Tidewater Community College, she was an accounting major and landed a job keeping the books of a construction firm. She worked out of a satellite office on a construction site.
Yet as she sat inside at a desk with a calculator, she found herself gazing out the windows, wishing she was out on the construction site instead.
"It was the fun and excitement of watching the building go up," she said. "I changed my major from accounting to civil engineering."
That was more than 20 years ago. Curtis then went to work at a local construction firm and worked her way up to vice president. In 2004, she decided to strike out on her own.
Now, Curtis is president of Noah Enterprises, a certified general contractor headquartered in Virginia Beach.
Its revenues have grown more than 20 percent over the past three years and it now has 45 employees.
But while the company has continued to grow throughout the bad economy, it hasn't always been easy.
"Changes in the construction industry have had a big impact on all contactors," Curtis said. "Noah is no exception. Client resources have been a challenge, with reduced budgets for both commercial and government entities. Keeping employee morale up during this economy has also been a challenge."
The company is responsible for the development, repair, renovations and remolding of small and high-profile projects such as Granby Street Park in Norfolk and the 67th Street Cottage Project at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
In addition, the company just completed work on Hampton Roads' first LEED-certified platinum project.
The project at JEB Little Creek-Fort Story was Building P-851 1NCD/NECC Operations Control Facility. The 28,000-square-foot building was completed at a cost of $11.9 million. The design-build project was constructed for the U.S. Navy Seabees (1NCD).
Being a woman in a male-dominated fields has "always been interesting," Curtis said.
"But I have been extremely pleased," she said. "For the majority of people, being a woman doesn't matter. You just have to be a good person and move on. I wasn't always paid the same, but I always loved with I did, so I focused on that."
The success of the company hinges "100 percent on delivering projects," and the biggest challenge Curtis faces is finding skilled craftsmen.
"People have a misconstrued idea about construction," Curtis said. "Construction is actually a very well sought-after profession and offers a lot of different types of employment opportunities.
"You have to have the skills, but skilled craftsmen have a great opportunity for growth. It's a wonderful thing to see something you build to completion."
- Bill Cresenzo
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