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Broadening Horizons - AvNetwork.com

Broadening Horizons

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 The Main Operations Room for the San Antonio Emergency Operations Center Project, completed in Feburary, with a video wall comprised of 12 67-inch Planar Lion UXL LCD Cubes.QUICK BIO
COMPANY:MCA
HEADQUARTERS:Houston, TX
A DIFFERENT APPROACH:MCA has opted to build a team that lacks dedicated salespeople. Instead, the company earns the trust of its clients through the hands-on involvement of everyone on its staff. As a result, MCA has earned a reputation for quality service.

Houston's MCA was started in 1983 as a structured cabling provider and has grown into a successful company with a diverse service offering for its growing customer base. Today, MCA has begun to see rapid growth in its AV integration project load, while still supporting structured cabling needs.

MCA was founded by Rick Cortez and two of his fellow technicians from Southwestern Bell. With the breakup of the telecommunications giant imminent, and a wife nine months' pregnant, Cortez took a chance and quit his job to start MCA. His son, Ricky Cortez explained, "My dad decided to quit before they all got laid off, and they started MCA as a structured cabling business. They were successful in that, and in about 2001 they started a special systems department, which is where I started working at out of high school, as a technician. We started doing video, sound, and security. That specific department mostly specializes in sound masking. That took off with some of our big customers, like Chevron, big law firms, and other financial institutions." outside plant, and new construction, which is everything involving structured cabling. We're about 180 employees and are family-owned and operated. I oversee the special systems department now. We've decided to diversify simply because our long-term customers have relied on us to provide them support for all aspects of low voltage. So we started providing them with audio/video needs, sound masking needs, and it grew from there. So we basically grew with our customers. And some of our key accounts have been with us since 1983."

Working with IT is an important aspect of MCA's breadth, especially since the company's foundation remains firmly entrenched in structured cabling and IT infrastructure. On the IT/AV front, MCA is adding expertise to its team, but often it's a natural progression which leads them into doing work on both sides of the convergence equation. "The most critical aspect of a client's living is their IT," Ricky Cortez explained, "so a lot of times we gain their respect with our IT work and they'll contact us to complete the rest of their integration work."

While it is the quality of their service that leads to expanded business, MCA also prides itself on looking at the big picture from the start. "We try to find solutions for our customer instead of just selling products," said Ricky Cortez.

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The rear view of an audio video equipment rack with an Extron Crosspoint RGBHV matrix switcher for the San Antonio Emergency Operations Center Project. 
To find solutions, MCA often delves into newer technologies. "We do a lot of video over fiber and also other technologies that people usually shy away from. Those are some of the advantages of being on the forefront of technology. Eventually everything will be over fiber. Taking advantage of our knowledge in that area is helping us grow really quickly."

MCA also enjoys giving back to its local community, as Cortez shared. "My dad is real big into giving back to the local community here. We're involved with the MS150 bike ride, which is huge here. We've been a sponsor for the last five years. We've also participated in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. When hurricane Rita came through, it destroyed a fire station at Sabine Pass, so we donated our services for the cabling and AV integration."

MCA has carved out a niche for itself in Texas, and Cortez sees more success on the horizon. "Our quality separates us from others. You see a lot of quality in the structured cabling industry, but not as much in the AV industry. We've expanded that to our rack building and the security paneling, because it makes all the difference. We're also trying to grow in the AV integration market and take advantage the newer technologies. The part of us that's growing the fastest is our special systems department, and I think that will be the future of MCA."



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