Northsiders to Know: Joy Rohadfox
Paving New Roads
written by JENNIFER COLOSIMO | photography courtesy of JOY ROHADFOX
If YOU’RE IN THE MARKET for a role model in today’s world, you don’t have to resort to fictional Disney heroines. There’s a real-life wonder woman living right here in our neck of the woods. Her name is Joy Rohadfox and she’s the president and CEO of Rohadfox Construction Control Services Corporation (RCCSC). That’s right, she’s a woman at the helm of a company in a stereotypically male-dominated industry … and she has quickly become one of the best, earning respect from the field, including the men.
It wasn’t Rohadfox’s dream to one day own and operate a construction company, but it was the family business. Her father started RCCSC 40 years ago in Los Angeles, Calif., building a legacy that included completing the Los Angeles Airport Tom Bradley International Terminal ahead of schedule and on budget prior to the 1984 Olympics.
After Rohadfox took over the company in 2001, they made the move to Atlanta. She grew up with three brothers who each worked in various sectors of the industry, or for her father’s company, but Rohadfox was taking a different path, studying biology and public health. She wasn’t the obvious successor, but in her eyes, it made the most sense.
“My father’s health started failing in 1998,” Rohadfox said. “Then, he was in a car accident, and I decided it was time for him to go and rest.”
His guiding principals stay with her, and she will be the first to tell you she couldn’t be afraid to get her hands dirty.
“You have to do exactly what anybody else will do,” she said. “I had the best mentor in the world, my father. He never allowed me to be sad or to complain. He would tell me, ‘These are the cards you’ve been dealt, so go ahead and inflate the cards.’ He taught me to stay on top of my game and continue to learn, stay up on the latest technology and not to wear my emotions on my shoulders.”
Rohadfox is constantly on the road, maintaining and building relationships, and challenging the mindset that she belongs in the office or offsite because she’s a woman.
In fact, she’s been very much at the forefront, establishing a new reputation for her minority-led company. Under her leadership, Rohadfox Construction has continued to handle projects in rail and transit systems, roads and highways, aviation and more including holding a 15-year Capital Improvement Program contract with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and serving as part of the MARTA Joint Venture team since 2007.
At the airport, they are responsible for projects on the fifth runway and the international terminal including routine inspections, civil flight inspections, scheduling and cost estimating. With MARTA, they are a part of the general engineering consulting team handling maintenance, electrical engineering and scheduling. Globally, RCCSC has worked with clients ranging from the Afghanistan Construction Logistic Unit to the African Development Bank and is currently working with the Federal Highway Administration, conducting inspections for roads and bridges internationally.
“I am always looking at ways we can do a better job building infrastructures for individuals,” she said. “I’d like to expand our projects, to include working at parks and recreation spaces, with public works or the [Georgia Department of Transportation] and become more involved with other major projects within the city.”
As she describes her job, RCCSC exists to ensure that the taxpayers are getting what they expect. If there is a major program happening, it’s their job to make sure that the project happens efficiently and economically. It has even inspired her to get back to her public health roots – she will work toward a master’s degree in public health at Mercer University next year. She fully admits that she loves school and the idea of reinventing herself every few years, ultimately hoping she can examine how infrastructure affects society as a whole.
“It’s a proud moment for me, doing this job,” Rohadfox said. “I used to hear my father say, ‘building infrastructure is really about helping individuals,’ so watching the MARTA trains, or seeing work [being done] at the airport or in the watershed department means we’re bringing clean water to the citizens of Atlanta and helping them get to school or get to work. Ultimately, it’s about helping mankind.”
In more ways than one, her mission continues to move us.
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