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2609 Discovery Drive, Suite 121
Raleigh NC 27616

New Year ushers in new opportunities at MCI

From Lea Burt

2020 is my 40th year of employment at MCI.  I started at MCI in 1980; my wife, Robin, and I had just graduated from college and just married.


 Think about this….

  • Jimmy Carter was President.

  • MCI did not have a computer, anywhere. In fact, some of the estimators still used adding machines! Many of you might not even know what that is!

  • MCI had an accounting machine, not a computer. Ponder that for a minute-- it was so loud that today it would have required ear protection for the accounting staff when it ran!

  • Our first metal estimating system on a Radio Shack TRSDOS terminal with a 5” floppy disk! I wish I had kept that machine!

  • Our annual holiday luncheon for employees and spouses had about 16 people attending.

  • Robin and I had no kids and lived in a house with 3 rooms and only a wood fireplace for heat.


It sounds crazy when you think back! Times have certainly changed.


I have been proud to be the President of MCI since my father passed away in January of 1999.  Since then I have had many opportunities such as being there for the very first ground breaking for the Ballantyne office park and designing and installing the HVAC system for the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Asheville.  While the engineering and contracting success were great it was really the wonderful people you get to work with along the way that I will forever remember.


Over the past 3 years I have gradually stepped back from much of the job level details and operations of MCI.  Instead of personally handling the day to day details, I have been working with our managers as they have taken on more and more responsibilities.  It has gone well, and it has enabled significant growth for MCI.  As President, I am glad that I could oversee us to this point, and part of this transitional withdraw on my part is to allow for a smooth and equitable transition succession plan for Senior Managers at MCI.

I am happy to announce that I am stepping down as President of MCI, and Bill Champion is stepping into that position.

So what is that going to look like for MCI?

Let me be clear; I am not going anywhere!  I am not retired!   

I am still an active member of our Board of Directors, and I will still be around in the office much like I have been the past year. I now can concentrate my time where my passion is, and that is helping others in this business.   How am I doing that?




Bill once told me “you can’t leave till you get all that 40 years of knowledge about this business that is in your head out so the rest of us can use it!”

Working with our training manager, Lacey Knapp, I now have a new title   -   A “smee”!    SME – In the world of talent development and training, this stands for Subject Matter Expert. I am now a full-time employee of MCI providing content and expertise for which is the training that Lacey is designing and implementing. 

My day is full of research, reading codes, inputting PowerPoint material, and voice over narration of subjects that can teach an employee everything from

  • how to install a duct and piping

  • how the AC systems work with all their parts and pieces,

  • and how to manage or price them just for a few.

The MCI STAT program can make a real impact in our workforce, from the people who already work at MCI, to the people we have yet to hire.   After 40 years, there are a lot of mistakes I want to help others avoid and decisions that I can advise on.


This project might take some time!  I suspect I will be around the MCI office just as much as I have in the past.  I am excited about this new opportunity, and I look forward to the continued growth and success of MCI in our next chapter.