Thomas Moorehead had initially wanted to pursue a career in education, but was at the peak of his career when he decided to take a risk in the automotive industry in 2001. Fortunately, it turned out to be worth it as his company, Sterling Motorcars, became the first African-American Rolls Royce dealer in the world, and first African-American Lamborghini and McLaren dealer in the United States.
Moorehead started out learning about the automotive industry from his mentor and fraternity brother James Bradley, who owns the Bradley Automotive Group. Bradley encouraged him to pursue the opportunity and said that he could be a millionaire through it.
Truthfully, Moorehead climbed up the ladder of success. He entered several dealer training programs using his own savings until he opened his first dealership in 1988. He eventually launched Sterling Motorcars in 2001.
With his good reputation and dedication to customer service, Moorehead caught the attention of Rolls Royce and became its first ever African-American dealer in the world. Since then, they have added the Mini Cooper, McLaren, and Lamborghini to their lineup. It has become the largest and leading luxury car retailer in Delaware, Southern Pennsylvania, and the Washington Metropolitan area.
“Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to take a step forward. If you want to get in this business, you have to be willing to start at the bottom and work your way to the top,” Moorehead said.
In 2018, Sterling Motorcars reportedly generated $632.2 million in revenue, which is the second highest for a minority-owned company in Greater Washington.
Moreover, Moorehead, who grew up economically disadvantaged, never forgets to give back to the community by sending students in need to college. Since 2004, through the Joyce and Thomas Moorehead Foundation, he has provided about $400,000 in scholarships to hundreds of high school students. He also regularly donates to HBCUs such as Grambling University, Bethune Cookman, and Howard University, among others.
“This is really what it’s all about, bringing other people up and giving something back,” he said.