Meet a Woman of Asphalt: ATS’s Tracy Moore
BY Sandy Lender
Tracy Moore started in the asphalt industry in 1988 with Sloan Construction. Over the years, she’s gained experience with quality control/quality assurance (QC/QA) as well as equipment operation, and she’s learned not to take any guff from negative types.
“I first got into the industry in 1988 as a roller operator with literally no experience,” Moore shared. “I was hired kind of as a joke where they took bets on how long I would last. After mastering rollers, I went on to testing in the lab and continued to work for the company for seven years.”
In 2018, she joined Asphalt Testing Solutions & Engineering (ATS), Jacksonville, Florida, as a roadway quality control technician. Now as an asphalt roadway specialist for ATS, she’s certified in CTQP Paving levels 1 & 2; she handles contract documents; she measures and ensures spread rates don’t exceed bid amounts in the field; and she performs all the tasks that work entails.
One of Moore’s colleagues at ATS was excited to nominate her for this feature. “One of Tracy’s most valuable qualities is her confidence,” ATS’s Molly Berry shared. “She knows she does great work and takes pride in it—she won’t let anyone tell her otherwise and the crews respect that. When I started in the industry, I worked alongside Tracy in the field. She taught me a great deal about quality control, inspecting the mat, calculating spread rates, figuring out tonnage quantities, etc. Having someone like Tracy to help those of us new to the industry is invaluable; she is more than willing to share her knowledge. For me, as a female, it was nice to have another female to relate to when I was learning in the field where the majority of the workers were men.”
True to her nature, Moore shared some of her tips and experiences as a woman of asphalt with the AsphaltPro audience.
AsphaltPro: Why did you become an asphalt specialist?
Tracy Moore: To ensure a career for myself being a single parent.
AsphaltPro: What about that position is “most cool” to you?
Tracy Moore: Being in a different place daily.
AsphaltPro: You mentioned about 90% of your time is spent in the field. What about working in hot Florida is challenging and what is appealing to you?
Tracy Moore: The heat doesn’t bother me, every day is a challenge on its own.
AsphaltPro: What is a facet of the lab work that you enjoyed doing in the past, and what is a tip you’d suggest to a woman considering a lab tech position to make her transition to lab tech or QC officer easier?
Tracy Moore: Making changes to the mix, you have to be tougher in the field. An example: My foreman at the time  used to tell me, “Tracy, never let the fellas get to you.” They would pick at me so bad I would cry, he would put me in the truck and ride me down the road until I calmed down, eventually I got tired of being the brunt of their jokes and would “give back” what they threw at me and they stopped. After that, I was one of the boys.
AsphaltPro: What do you think is the most important skill you’ve brought to your role as a quality control team member in the asphalt industry? And how would you encourage other women entering the industry to hone a similar skill to be any kind of lab or field tech they want to become?
Tracy Moore: Do not overthink. Go with your gut. If you’re unsure about something, ask.
AsphaltPro: What would you say was the most challenging “obstacle” you, as a female in the asphalt industry, had to overcome in the past 33 years, and how DID you overcome that obstacle? How do you think other women in the industry can incorporate that skill or habit into their workdays?
Tracy Moore: Being a woman in a “man’s” world requires you to prove your knowledge over and over. Be strong in your belief in yourself.
AsphaltPro: Let’s talk about Teamwork. What is the most challenging project you’ve been a part of and how did you and the ATS team work with the contractor or DOT or other project participants to overcome the challenge?
Tracy Moore: One particular highway job was a nightmare change orders, design errors. We worked together to solve the problems. Most of the time they were easy fixes.
AsphaltPro: What are some of the reasons you’ve stayed with ATS for so much of your career?
Tracy Moore: Strong leadership. My boss is very knowledgeable and helpful as are all the team members.
AsphaltPro: Let’s talk about Perceptions. It’s a fact that asphalt paving can be hot and dusty. How do you respond to people who say it’s a “dirty job?”
Tracy Moore: Well, it is! I’m not going to lie but I’ve always been a tomboy so you can’t be afraid to get dirty.
AsphaltPro: What do you think is an incorrect perception that we, as an industry, can re-educate young people about to encourage more women to consider a career in the asphalt business?
Tracy Moore: I found that if you enjoy a daily challenge, asphalt can be very rewarding. I would say if you have a strong backbone and enjoy being outside, a career in asphalt should definitely be looked at as an option.
AsphaltPro: What is the most challenging aspect for you of being in the asphalt business?
Tracy Moore: Meeting someone (usually men) who do not believe a woman should be in “the business.” I love to prove them wrong. I show them that I do in fact know my job and I’m good at it.
AsphaltPro: What is the most rewarding aspect for you of being in the asphalt business?
Tracy Moore: At the end of the day, not wasting or needing another load of asphalt.
AsphaltPro: Tell us about a person who served as a mentor for you:
Tracy Moore: Thad Dampier. At first, he fought me for years, never calling me by name. After about six years he would ask for me to be on his jobs. He taught me so many things, it’s hard to pinpoint just one or two. He retired after about 45-50 years.