Andrew McCoy

Freelance Writer

Andrew McCoy is an associate professor in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech. Contact him at

Articles by Andrew McCoy

April 2016
Started in St. Louis in 1953, PayneCrest Electric Co. Inc. is broadly diversified in electrical and communications installation work, which the company now takes on throughout the United States. Its signature “PCE way” embodies a customer-centered philosophy with a constant drive toward creative solutions that has resulted in an impressive project resume and an enviable client roster.
February 2016
In 1999, Kevin Ashton, a British entrepreneur making a presentation about radio frequency identification (RFID) to a major U.S.-based consumer products manufacturer titled his slide “Internet of Things.” That expression, often abbreviated “IoT,” is now a permanent part of business vocabulary and denotes where the physical world and cyberspace have collided to give us not only new words but, better READ MORE
December 2015
Malcolm Gladwell, author of several New York Times bestsellers, offered a great lesson for electrical contractors in his most recent book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.” While he wrote it for a general audience—and certainly never mentions electrical contracting—within its pages there are plenty of takeaway lessons for the majority of electrical contractor READ MORE
October 2015
When Chris Chastain took time out to talk with us, he revealed two facts about himself that we highlighted and circled in our notes in preparation to write this column. The first is a special part of his personal work history. The second is a surprise that we divulge at the end of this column.
  • Chris Nichols, Vice President of Special Projects, Sequoyah Electric
August 2015
“Sequoyah” may look like an alternate spelling for the species of majestic trees that grace the landscape of the western United States. Actually, Sequoyah was the name of a Native American who is the only individual ever known to have single-handedly invented an entire “alphabet” (more exactly, a “syllabary” made up of 86 characters) that was adopted by an entire nation. READ MORE
June 2015
“Sprig” is a nickname for the Pintail Duck, a breed that is particularly admired for its trim form, great agility, unending endurance and flying speed, which can reach up to 65 miles per hour. READ MORE
April 2015
Thomas Edison got it wrong. He predicted that everyone who pinned their hopes on the future of alternating current was just wasting their time. Meanwhile, plenty of Edison’s early contemporaries predicted that, while electrical lighting would become popular, the main source of residential illumination would remain gas lamps. READ MORE
February 2015
Emily Martin took us by surprise. From the very beginning of our interview with her, she didn’t hesitate to divulge things that most other electrical contractors (ECs) would be reluctant to share. READ MORE
December 2014
We appreciate all of the positive response to the new format for our column in which we interview industry leaders about key issues that may alter the future of electrical construction. This time, we reached out to Michael McLin, president of Denver-based Maxim Consulting Group, a busy guy who seems to be in constant motion. READ MORE