Our projects span from the installation of turbines at the Panama Canal in the mid-1940’s to today’s modern transit systems with a focus on sustainable means, methods and materials. With over 80 years of continuous service, MEC has developed a foundation for sustained success. Our continued emphasis on the specialty electrical construction market means our capabilities are always progressing as we grow to new markets. Our fundamentals still guide us – providing a safe working environment for our employees, delivering quality projects to our clients. In 2002, MEC became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kiewit, one of North America’s largest and most respected construction, engineering and mining organizations.
In 1928, Francis Angino, a 23 year old entrepreneurial electrical engineer, founded Mass. Electric Construction Co. (MEC) in Boston. Francis took on US Postal service building in Boston as his first large project, thus starting MEC’s performance of complicated, more challenging projects that would become MEC’s trademark.
Even during the Depression, Francis was gaining respect in the New England construction community as a man of unparalleled integrity, and MEC was earning a reputation as a quality contractor, able to deliver jobs on time for a fair price. Despite starting MEC right as the Depression hit, MEC has never had a losing year.
World War II changed everything, and MEC was one of the many companies drafted into service. A major project for the military was 20 miles south of Boston, the U.S. Naval Air Station at Weymouth.
MEC’s ability to tackle fast track specialty jobs was an asset during the war years. A great example is the emergency power stations MEC built at both ends of the Panama Canal. MEC had to hire and train local workers with little experience in this type of heavy construction.
During the war years, MEC continued its traditional work in New England, but there was a heavy emphasis on specialty jobs to support the war efforts.
After the war, MEC was able to parlay some previous “big power” experiences into new work opportunities, such as refinery work for Phillips Petroleum in Venezuela.
It was also during this period that Francis had the opportunity to work for the US Army Corps of Engineers, expanding air bases for NATO in Europe.
MEC began to see more local opportunities, including generic commercial projects, such as supermarkets and office buildings. These jobs provided MEC with the ability to be more versatile, to train employees, and to develop business relationships with owners and local general contractors. Pursuing this work would ultimately position MEC for good, steady Boston-area work in the years to come.
During this period MEC had two events which would help to determine its future course: the first subcontract with Kiewit, on the Iroquois Dam Project on the St. Lawrence Seaway; and also the first Transit job, an Overhead Contact System (OCS) Project for the MBTA on Boston’s Green Line.
During the sixties, MEC undertook a number of hospital projects in the Boston area and developed ongoing in-house maintenance and small project relationships with Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel-Deaconess, Mass. General Hospital, and others.
Hospital work frequently involves strict adherence to shutdown/cutover times, and with thorough planning followed by good execution, MEC has become a preferred hospital contractor.
MEC has been working at Gillette’s South Boston Complex continuously since the 1960’s. Over the years, many of the projects included highly technical negotiated work, including the in-house assembly of the complex machinery to automate razor manufacturing.
Francis had three children; Helen, Francis (Franny) and Michael. Francis and Michael both played major roles in the development of MEC. Michael mainly focused on existing local commercial and industrial work and recurring clients, such as P&G/Gillette, that his Uncle Ernie had developed. Franny was also involved with local commercial and industrial work, but he was driven by a more expansive vision and wanted to grow MEC.
In the 1970’s, the Urban Mass Transportation Act provided significant national funding for repair and adding capacity to the existing transit systems, which had originally been privately financed. To bid this work, contractors had to be pre-qualified, but MEC lacked the requisite experience. In order to pursue this Transit work, Franny arranged a joint venture with Lord Electric Company in 1965 – at that time one of the strongest and most experienced electrical contracting firms in the country. The partnership also served Lord well since MEC had the local labor force to handle the MBTA work.
MEC had become the leading electrical contractor in New England. One major client of that era stated, “You’re not always the low bidder going in, but at the end of the day you are the best value”.
Challenging projects continued to be a mainstay of MEC’s business: MEC was asked to complete the electrical work at the MATEP Cogeneration Facility in Brookline for Harvard University. We mobilized over 180 electricians within a month and were able to complete the project on time and under the budget that we provided when hired.
Data Centers became a great niche market in the 1980’s, including features such as multiple substations, utility feeds, switchboards, and generators. During this data center building craze, AT&T was MEC’s largest client.
Transit work continued to flourish. The Metro-Dade automatic train control project in Miami, FL was a significant job for MEC. It marked the first major project of Franny’s vision of expanding beyond the MBTA work and toward a national presence in Transit. Other Transit jobs quickly followed: Portland, San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, Baltimore, and Cleveland. Beginning with the Metro-Dade project in Miami, MEC has worked on nearly every transit system in the country.
By 1987 MEC had grown to be a large, nationwide contractor, while our steady partner, Lord Electric, had fallen on hard times. MEC acquired Lord’s interest in the joint venture in 1987, after 22 years.
MEC remained a leader in the performance of large, logistically challenging jobs. Key client and general contractor relationships built over the years have taken us to new places for successful projects. One of the largest projects was for the MassDOT and the construction of the Leonard Zakim Bridge.
MEC’s Transit work continued to grow, with major projects in Washington, DC, Dallas, Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Francis Angino continued to stay involved in the business until he passed away at age 90. Sons Franny and Michael realized that plans had to be made to continue MEC into the future. In 1992, the Angino’s reached an agreement to be acquired by Kiewit Infrastructure Co., one of the premier civil contractors with a presence throughout the US and Canada.
Since 2000, MEC has ventured into new areas such as solar photovoltaics, in addition to expanding in wastewater on the West Coast and power and Energy work nationwide. Bio-fuel plants were an important aspect of MEC’s portfolio, in addition to wind turbines and solar thermal projects. The green emphasis of MEC’s work was also demonstrated on numerous efficiency improvement projects and fast start-up generating plants.
In the transportation market, MEC has continued to expand, adding such cities as Phoenix, Seattle and Charlotte to the growing list of repeat customers. MEC performed the installation of the Amtrak Northeast Corridor Electrification from New Haven to Boston, a $500M project. Design-build and other sophisticated procurement methodologies became a progressively larger slice of MEC’s Transit work, and are currently over 80% of MEC’s Transit backlog. With over $3B in Transit work completed, including over $1B in Design-Build, MEC is ready for the future.
Key client and general contractor relationships built over the years have taken us to new places for successful projects. These continued relationships are just one of the reason MEC continues to grow and build to this day.