Hometown Hero

Published 11:05 am Thursday, October 26, 2017

OWINGS, MD – Since the age of 10 when life’s deck of cards forced him to take on a leadership role in the fertile farm fields of Gates County, Charles Maurice Baker developed a knack of knowing how to get things accomplished.

Now, decades later – which included a 20-year career in the military – Baker is reaping what he sowed all those years ago.

On Oct. 12, Baker’s business, MCB Lighting & Electrical Inc., was included amongst America’s Fastest Growing companies list and was published in the INC 500 magazine. MCB was ranked #144 out of 27,000 companies in the USA. It was also named the #12 energy company and the #1 lighting distributor.

Baker is also the government and diversity manufacturers’ representative for the largest lighting manufacturer in North America and teamed with the largest lighting installer in the USA with over 2,300 installers.

MCB is partnered with Siemens Government Technologies, a global firm in over 180 countries with over 380K employees. Over the last three years, MCB has been mentored by Siemens under the Department of Defense mentor protégé program, making MCB the only diversity or small business in the USA or the world who sells high voltage generation, distribution and transmission equipment up to 800KV with a national and global reach for projects.

Charles Maurice Baker grew up on a tobacco farm in the Crosstown Road and Willeyton Road area of Gates County.

Recently, MCB upgraded all of the lighting for the Monuments and Memorials in Washington, D.C., for the National Park Service, including the WWI, WWII, Lincoln, Jefferson, Martin Luther King, etc. monuments.

Baker began his business during his last two years in the military, where he served as the mechanical and electrical shop superintendent on Joint Base Andrews “Home of Air Force One”. Baker obtained the USAF 9 level (highest federal certification) for certified high and low voltage electrician.

His business has now grown to 58 employees.

Upon full retirement from the USAF, Baker became a leading veteran advocate, a Department of Defense Hometown to Hero winner, the 2009 SBA (Small Business Administration) National Veteran Business Champion who trained over 2,000 veteran businesses using his own funds at a cost of over $500K. He traveled to over 30 cities helping veterans and educating the masses.

His contributions led to White House invitations, including multiple Rose Garden visits and other meetings, and he has made a demonstrative impact helping to push the federal sector from .5% to over 3% of government contracts to veterans – an increase of over $400B during his advocacy efforts. He made billions of dollars flow into the veteran’s hands and other small businesses. He most likely made the single largest impact on the small business community related to federal procurement in the last 10 years. He helped secure procurement priority for the veterans in the VA by assisting with the drafting of the very first ‘Vets First’ procurement protest utilized as the basis for the Vets First Supreme Court victory.

He also assisted on several other protests and court cases making small businesses eligible for contracts mandatory and not discretionary anymore. He has influenced and helped draft several procurement bills/laws, testified before Congress more than six times and conducted more than 50 trips and held numerous meetings on Capitol Hill. Most likely his largest efforts result from his participation on a Small Business Presidential Banking Panel and working with the Department of Defense to implement small businesses getting paid immediately on federal contracts. Additionally, he helped exclusively reserve all contracts under $150K for small businesses, making this mandatory.

Baker, commonly known as Maurice, has deep roots in Gates County with at least four different families. He is the son of Lucious and Gertrude Cross, both of Gates County, and also the grandson of Nehemiah and Minnie Baker, both of Gates County. His oldest living family member is Ms. Elizabeth Dildy of Medical Center Road.

His intense work ethic was created on a tiny tobacco farm on Crosstown Road and Willeyton Road.

Baker’s dedication to his country and helping others (thousands) has had a significant national and global impact. He helped spearhead and implement energy efficiency into the federal government 26 years ago with a program called the Idea Program, saving over $1.2B, the highest amount in federal history. He was paid over $265K in cash award bonuses as a government employee while on active duty, the highest amount in the history of the federal government for 73 energy ideas, all of which are still being used today. His direct impact changed how energy efficient lighting projects are specified, negotiated, purchased, and installed, reducing energy cost up to 75%, along with the overall project cost being dramatically reduced.

Baker was the first veteran ever to win Department of Energy and Water Federal Energy Management Award in 1994.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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