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25 Years of MGAC: Ever-Evolving Technology Solutions

MGAC was founded in 1996 with three goals: to do the most interesting and challenging work, to have fun working together, and to build a successful business in the process. Twenty-five years later, we have met these goals and more. At this milestone moment, we thought it would be fun to look back at some of our most memorable projects—our favorite missions made real. Today, join us as we revisit the evolution of our Technology Solutions projects.

Bureaucratic Beginnings

MGAC’s inaugural technology team took on the first official Technology Solutions project in 2011. We had the opportunity to provide technology solutions services for the new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) headquarters in Arlington, VA. MGAC was first engaged as a project management partner for the 13-story, 350,000 SF headquarters. The technology team was brought in to provide oversight on all technology infrastructure installations, system deployments, integrations, and commissioning. Our contributions resulted in the successful deployment of structured cabling, multiple networks, voice platforms, audio-visual, video conferencing, access control, CCTV, CATV, active IT equipment, land mobile radio, and cellular reinforcement systems. The structure incorporated the latest security measures and featured redundancy in services and power across the data center and various building support systems. Our technology team also helped to procure several special services contracts for this project that included the electronic security and video surveillance system, as well as the audio-visual components. Once completed, 1,200 DARPA employees seamlessly transitioned from their previous home to the newly completed headquarters.

With that experience under our belt, we were able to begin working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to meet the growing and increasingly complex technology needs associated with multiple headquarter, regional critical data center, and field office projects. By this time, MGAC had solidified a reputation for taking on some of the most challenging builds around the country by partnering with our clients to solve unique technology challenges. These early technology projects certainly met this standard. Success meant our team was able to take on even more complex and technical projects. As our team continued to grow, so did our capabilities. With technology evolving at warp speed, that expertise was quickly put to work as the Technology Solutions team expanded its service offerings to meet the unique needs of our clients.

A Decade of Evolution

Since these first projects with DARPA and the FBI, the MGAC technology team has been consistently evolving to stay on par with the near-daily changes to the application and integration of technology in the built environment. As a result, the projects that our team is working on, and the services that we offer, are much more complex than the projects we completed in the early days of the Technology Solutions team. Specifically, the quantity and type of platforms we work with today and how they integrate are far more advanced. Buildings have gotten smarter. There are more data points available in today’s building systems than ever before, and this data helps operators manage their buildings more efficiently. To guide our clients through the implementation of Technology Solutions, we have structured our service offering around MGAC’s core Owner’s Representation and Program Management philosophy. This has allowed us to hone our services to meet the specific needs of our clients. Today’s Technology Solutions services include strategic advising, pre-design, technology design, implementation, management, and optimization.

For most projects, our first engagement focuses on our strategic advisory and pre-design services. We partner with our clients to understand their high-level goals and objectives and frame up the solution to their multiple challenges. This is where we work to get in front of projects and sit down with our client teams, whether they are in IT, facilities, or design and construction, to discuss project needs and requirements. If needed, we support our clients through IT and asset strategy development, program development, growth and cost modeling, site selection, and the evaluation of existing facilities to gain an understanding of how they might play a part in the long-term strategy. By doing this, we help ensure that technology integration is front and center through the design process.

Once a project is underway, the team can become an integrated design partner to provide technology design and/or design oversight for all project types. With qualified and certified technology designers on staff, the Technology Solutions team at MGAC can design, stamp, and seal technology construction documents. Our design work spans the various technology systems found in new buildings and can include structured cabling, Wi-Fi networks, integrated building technology, security, audio-visual, and various other platforms.

Hand-in-hand with technology design is our implementation service. Our team oversees the integration of technology, leads IT consulting, manages migration implementation and the planning and/or move process for data centers, and conducts the commissioning of technology systems. Additionally, we have found that by helping our clients with the procurement of IT, DAS, audio-visual, and security systems, we can streamline the process, remove the possibility of miscommunication, and drive greater efficiencies in delivering these systems.

The technology management service parallels MGAC’s project management services. Our technology solutions team leverages our proven program / project delivery methodology to ensure that technology solutions are cost-effective, scalable, flexible, and delivered on time. We provide our clients with one central point-of-control and accountability. Finally, our optimization services look to review opportunities to deliver efficiencies, cut costs, reduce footprints, optimize environments, improve uptime, and/or provide studies to help our clients accomplish their goals for existing spaces.

Individually or combined, our services meet and exceed our client’s demands. Every project brings exciting, unique challenges and requirements that the previous project did not have. Our team consistently evolves to meet these assignments to ensure we are prepared for the next project and the one after that.

Diversified Clients, Distinct Projects

Our team has successfully delivered projects across each of MGAC’s market sectors. In the education space, we are currently helping Baltimore City Public Schools and a world-renowned Ivy League university on major technology system upgrades. In the healthcare sector, we are completing a new project with White Plains Hospital. This project is the most substantial campus modernization and expansion campaign in its 127-year history and will ensure a next-generation patient experience. In the luxury living realm, our team has worked with some of the world’s most high-profile families to ensure discreet security and connectivity in private spaces. On the corporate side of things, we have worked with American Greetings on the relocation of an 1,800-employee headquarters, on American Geophysical Union’s innovative net-zero energy renovation project, and with World Bank on multiple data center builds and migration projects. On the cultural front, our team helped deliver The Pavilions, Glenstone Museum’s largest campus expansion, including indoor and outdoor exhibition and visitor experience spaces for a truly one-of-a-kind visitor experience, while seamlessly and covertly integrating technology into every aspect of the project.

The diversity of projects, each with unique challenges and goals, ensures a widely skilled, nimble team that looks forward to the job each day. We know we can bring every building type—from dated buildings and data centers to ground-up construction projects—into the future because we have made that happen in innovative and groundbreaking ways. Our experience and expertise, which spans everything from cabling to commissioning, and our ability to understand and meet the needs of both client IT teams and contractors puts us in a unique position to take on the built environment’s most innovative, complex, and wide-ranging projects. That is the space in which we love to operate—and where we will continue to thrive for years to come.

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