If Margo Gray-Proctor or her six siblings used the word “can’t” growing up, they could expect an hour-long lecture from their parents. It is that simple philosophy that has stuck with her throughout her life.
In 1986, while working as an Edmond police officer, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The next year, after recovery from a hysterectomy she was selected to attend the elite instructor program for self-defense tactics for the Council of Law Enforcement and Training Center (CLEET). No women at this time had ever been asked to attend due to the physical and mental stamina this two-week course required.
“Sixty men and I attended this course and after two weeks of the most physically demanding course, only 29 men completed – and me! At the graduation there were all these men giving me a standing ovation,” Gray-Proctor said. “So when I am confronted with a situation in business or in life in general, I ask myself, ‘have I been through something worse?’ and my mind takes me back to 1986.”
In 1992, Gray-Proctor took a job with the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service as a sergeant in the criminal investigations unit. She then served two years as a legislative aide for the Osage National Council.
“After my position with the Osage National Council ended due to a 10th Circuit Court decision, I found myself unemployed for the first time,” she said. “I met my future business partner at a Christmas party and months later we incorporated and went for it.”
Using her knowledge of federal and tribal contracting and Carl Cannizzaro’s civil engineering knowledge, the two launched Horizon Engineering Services Co. in Tulsa, working for tribes by providing consulting engineering services. Gray-Proctor, a third-generation business owner, oversees the day-to-day operations and departments of Horizon Engineering.