April 13, 2020

ELECTRI values its strong partnerships with researchers and industry partners across the country.  We are pleased to present this first interview and look forward to many more conversations.

 For more than 20 years, MCA, Inc. has been involved with ELECTRI International, providing innovative research, construction industry expertise, and its own financial investment in the Foundation.  From its start in the late 1980s, MCA has developed a positive reputation for its work, first with the automotive, aerospace, and healthcare industries. Today, close to 70% of its work is with the construction industry.

Dr. Heather Moore

ELECTRI recently spoke with MCA’s President/CEO, Dr. Perry Daneshgari, and MCA’s VP of Operations, Dr. Heather Moore. Their collective focus on the importance of productivity in the construction industry should be of interest and value to all contractors.

 ELECTRI: Many research firms investigate the construction industry, including electrical, and they do it well. What sets MCA apart?

Perry Daneshgari: We believe in the practical, pragmatic application of research. We help contractors focus on how to do what the research shows. One contractor from the Upper Midwest recently told me it had taken him 20 years to understand and put into place what he had read in one of our earliest studies. That’s way too long, but it’s the reality.

Heather Moore: One of my first research projects with ELECTRI in 2004 was to help produce the study on Operational Cost Differences for Union vs. Non-Union Electrical Contractors. We wanted to be sure this would result in practical research at a “boots on the ground” level. Every time I work on a research project, my first thought is to get contractors to think as business people, to give them a wake-up call.

ELECTRI: Contractors tell ELECTRI they have little time or interest in just reading reports. How do you recommend the Foundation can make this better?

Perry: Every contractor wants to know ‘If I do X, what kind of risk am I taking? Will my company be any better because I implemented X?’  Through our work, we try to show the evidence that process improvements can make for an organization.

Heather: Quality research requires clinical trials if the recommendations are to be put into action by the industry. It’s not enough to see facts and figures on paper. We need to be able to say, with confidence, ‘Yes. This does work and can work for you.’

 ELECTRI: Tell our readers about the history of your involvement with ELECTRI.

Perry: In the late 1990s, we were working with Gene Dennis from Universal Systems. He was passionate about productivity and thought our work would translate well for the electrical construction industry. At Gene’s suggestion, MCA submitted a proposal to the ELECTRI Council on creating an Optimal Operational Model. That was our start.

ELECTRI: No one research team can be all things to all audiences, right?

HeatherFor sure. We believe in the work we do on process design and productivity improvement and so do many members of the industry.  That’s our focus. We believe ELECTRI can do more on industry-wide changes. It can align its arrows to a new level – productivity in construction.

 ELECTRI: MCA took a giant leap from commissioned researcher to financial contributor and ELECTRI Council member. Why?

Perry: It’s simple. We wanted to be a contributing part of the team. For me, as the founder of MCA, the decision to join the Council meant we would have to shift our research relationship with ELECTRI. We had already been commissioned to provide nine research initiatives for ELECTRI on a wide range of topics from the Impact of Variation to a Methodology for Calculating Market Share . We knew we wanted to continue to provide meaningful research to help move the EC industry forward, but we also recognized we had to avoid any conflict of interest.

 ELECTRI: How could you be both a Council member and researcher at the same time?  You made a major investment at the $100,000 Founder level. What does MCA get in return?

Perry: We agreed with ELECTRI’s leadership that MCA would provide all of our selected research projects to ELECTRI at no cost to the Foundation, pro bono. Since that agreement went into place, we have produced seven new studies on topics the ELECTRI Council considered critically important, things like Industrialization, Supply Chain Disruption, and the impact of Pre-Fabrication on the industry. Collectively, our work has a contributed commissioned research value of $248,000.

Certainly, we understand that we get wide exposure throughout the construction industry and, in many cases, it does lead to work with individual companies. But let me be clear, I’m not looking for a legacy. Every member of our MCA team wants to see the EC industry improve and we know it can.

 ELECTRI: Right now, much of our economy is at a complete standstill as a consequence of the corona virus. What do you see for the EC industry on the other side, once we start to get back to a more normalized state of life?

HeatherI think there may be a change of pace in construction. Right now, the industry is far behind on productivity. Actions taken post-virus may accelerate the change process and the industry’s progress.

Perry: It will take a few years to recover. Contractors are going to have to act smarter with every decision and every action. For example, they will need to figure out how to capitalize on their ability to build offsite. Today, R&D has to work on making it all accessible through software – market share studies, product development, productivity tools. ELECTRI International is the bridge from ‘what to do’ to ‘how to do it’. We are honored to be part of the effort.

ELECTRI International provides research and education for the electrical construction industry. The Foundation is engaged with contractors, NECA Chapters and industry partners across the country, working together to help ensure the future success of the EC industry. Constantly investing in excellence is ELECTRI’s focus and its promise. For additional information, visit