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Charles M. Baker

Energy efficient lighting pioneer

MCB Lighting & Electrical was realized from CEO, President and Owner Charles M. Baker’s unprecedented innovation of improvements in electrical power distribution systems, safety, and telecommunications in conjunction with his unbelievable 73 energy management approved ideas for the Department of Defense (DoD) — all bonded together and inspired by his desire to help the homeless and disenfranchised.

During his service for the United States Air Force (USAF), his ideas spearheaded cost-effective energy efficient lighting systems. Even more impressive was the better buying procedures and processes he implemented which were subsequently adopted government-wide. Years later, the commercial sector significantly benefited from these leverage buying practices helping to reduce costs in the commercial space by as much as 75%. Baker was also the driving force behind the development of the modern day energy efficient T-8 electronic ballast and compact fluorescent systems utilization that has revolutionized the entire energy industry.
A true pioneer in LED energy efficiency, Baker has quite literally written the first lighting specifications (UFC) that is the basis of the LED market in which the federal government requires all companies to adhere for compliance.
His knowledge of energy efficient lighting is unmatched and has developed most systems that has made energy efficiency all possible.  


In 1999, Charles M. Baker, United States Air Force (USAF) SMsgt (sel) (ret.), startedMCB Lighting & Electrical during his final two years while still on active duty. Within 18 months, he had employed more than 58 military veterans who needed to make extra money after duty hours, and was already grossing over $800K net profit. There were 75 original energy management ideas presented, 73 of those were approved. One of the two not approved at
that time was the ESPC Vision (Energy Savings Performance Contracts).
Sgt. Baker was determined to spearhead this program and integrate it into the USAF although it already existed in the statute but had never been utilized. That vision is used throughout the lighting industry today. The other idea was demand side management commonly called UESC (Utility Energy Service Contract), where his base was one of the first military bases to receive rebates. In 1992, his competence in acquisition as a lighting program manager was so highly regarded that the Defense Logistics Agency commander sought him out to change how Strategic Sourcing was performed for lighting. Sgt. Baker upgraded the requirements for lighting and reduced the cost on over 700 items. These upgrades and savings reduced the costs for the entire agency by 25-75%. Consequently, he received $1.2M for the first Energy Conservation Investment Program (ECIP) project funded for lighting at McGuire Air Force Base.

The Return On Investment (ROI) was less than two years while the ROI for the balance of the Department of Defense (DoD) as well as the rest of the federal government were all over 10 years and not eligible. 


The dream began back in 1988 when Baker, an enlisted non-commissioned officer, was going about his daily weekend routine driving limousines
part-time in Philadelphia. As he drove through the city, he was moved by
the overwhelming number of homeless people he passed by in the streets that were sleeping on top of heated vents. Charles helped as many of
the disenfranchised as he could, but as time passed, he realized that his
efforts were futile without the ability to help make systemic changes
within the community.


Those monumental changes would require enormous funding. One evening, he prayed for a means to help those who needed assistance the most.
The very next day, he saw a flyer on base offering money for progressive ideas (USAF Suggestion Program) that would improve operational aspects of the Air Force. Baker took on the challenge and his accomplishments were
so impactful that he was paid $265K in extra bonuses and promoted on the spot. Receiving both rewards together is an extremely rare feat and had previously never been achieved. As a unique asset to the Air Force, Baker worked multiple jobs over the course of four years as an electrician, energy manager and high-tech communications specialist. Juggling each career
field simultaneously was an extraordinary undertaking at the time and
would be equally as challenging for individuals today. During an inspection, he recognized an excess of inefficiencies after back-checking the work of registered engineers. As a result, he was awarded medals for two different lifesaving electrical discoveries in base hospitals. 

Inspired by the opportunity to develop solutions that could help the Air Force, DoD and the commercial sector, Baker began to engineer and develop unprecedented lighting systems, technologies and processes. Baker’s innovations and buying strategies saved the Department of Defense over $1.2B and rewarded him with more than $265K in bonuses (each are modern day DoD records) for changing how energy efficient lighting was developed, specified, purchased and warrantied by the federal government.

As a direct result of his impact, Baker was the first USAF member to win the Federal Energy Efficiency Renewables and Water Conservation award for the USAF; the 1994 Individual Federal Energy and Water Management award for FEMP; a visit to the White House; and a Congressional ceremony as well as additionally receiving $5,000 in cash. He also won one of thirteen Secretary of Defense Quality and Excellence awards, two Chief of Staff high-dollar awards as well as the Society of America’s Military Engineers Goddard award.

Baker’s successes has afforded him the opportunity to do more than just help the homeless and disenfranchised whom where the original catalyst for his innovations. He has also been able to foster the initiation and growth of over 2,000 veterans beginning their own businesses and entrepreneurial journeys — two of which are now billion dollar companies. As a direct result, he won the 2009 SBA National Veteran Business Champion award; multiple White House Rose Garden visits; plus honored as the only business owner invited to the 2010 Job Act’s bill signing.


Due to his successful endeavors both in the military and then as a small business entrpreneur, Baker’s prayers that night came to fruition as he was able to donate over $100K to shelters in Philadelphia to help those that had inspired his path.


Charles M. Baker is one of the most revered and influential individuals in the federal sector as it pertains to government procurement especially as a small business procurement expert. On three occasions, he has both testified before Congress and met with the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); retains the cell phone numbers for heads of procurement in his rolodex; prominent member of the SBA Presidential Veteran committees, Presidential SBA Banking panel, and Maryland’s BRAC Governor’s committee. He has also drafted more than four procurement laws and, under his advocacy, the veteran’s dollars went from receiving less than .3% of government contracting funds to more than 3.2%. His impact was widely felt with the Supreme Court decision as one of the original authors for Vets First in VA. Baker also initiated Fast Pay for both prime and subcontracts, no more than 15 days for payment. The rule of two was strengthened, parity, and the mandatory reservation for all contracts under $500K for small business. With too many to list, Charles M. Baker’s countless accomplishments continue to shape the lighting industry as well as
how we live and work every day. 


A new emphasis on subcontracting is coming with “The Real McCoy” and MCB Lighting & Electrical leading the way!

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