MCP Insights

MCP Celebrates 15 Years: A Lesson in the Importance of Persistence

Posted on April 12, 2024 by John Chiaramonte

Mission Critical Partners (MCP) is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. Looking back to the beginning, the vision exhibited by the firm’s founders — Kevin Murray, Brian Bark, and Len Kowalski — is astounding.

They established principles — based partly on the Rockefeller Habits, as well as the teachings of business-management gurus Patrick Lencioni and Simon Sinek — that guide the firm’s leaders and subject-matter experts (SMEs) still today. Foundational to these guiding principles are five core values — persistence, integrity, accountability, trust, and prudence — that every MCPer is expected to embrace, because they enable the firm to delight its clients, which is our reason for being.

Each core value is vitally important, but persistence arguably is most important. I’d like to tell a short story to illustrate why I think this.

The PEMA Inventory Project: A Lesson in Persistence

About eight years ago, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), a longstanding client, asked for our help. The state legislature had mandated an inventory of every public-safety answering point (PSAP) — also known as emergency communications centers or 911 centers — to determine the state’s readiness for Next Generation 911 (NG911) service.

It was an important project worthy of our best effort. But there was a catch. PEMA needed us to complete the assessment within a three-month period, which was half the time a massive project like this typically would require — and that is a conservative estimate. A total of 69 PSAPs would need to be visited by our SMEs to conduct onsite interviews with the goal of assessing the following:

  • Number and type of emergency-response agencies served
  • Emergency and nonemergency call volumes
  • Staffing
  • Age and condition of the facility
  • Unique factors in the area served that have an impact on call volume and the type of emergency response provided
  • Systems utilized
    • Power
    • Land mobile radio
    • Call-handling
    • Computer-aided dispatch
    • Logging/recording
    • Network connectivity

The time of year greatly complicated the task. Our SMEs drove over hill and dale — quite literally — for many hours at a time during the winter months when driving conditions were most treacherous. I am certain that the Mission Impossible theme song began to play in the heads of many of us who were assigned to this project.

But no one complained, and everyone did what needed to be done. One way to define persistence is getting the job done regardless of circumstances, and there is no way to understate its importance, especially as it related to this project. A lesser firm might have declined the assignment given its challenges. We didn’t — in fact, we embraced it.

A Comprehensive Report Still Providing Value Today

Once the data was gathered, it had to be compiled and organized so that it could be leveraged for the report. This was a laborious, time-consuming aspect of the project handled by a small team of MCPers committed to the task. Then the writing began, followed by peer reviews and finally quality-assurance reviews, of all 69 chapters. Ultimately, we delivered a very comprehensive 350-page report on time and on budget, and the client was delighted. Most importantly — the data collected and compiled served as a foundation for the very successful statewide advancement of NG911 that would follow under PEMA’s leadership. Our firm has been able to work side by side with our client to see the fruit of this persistence still providing value today.

The PEMA PSAP inventory project remains a shining example of the level of commitment that our people are willing to offer in support of our clients. The successful outcome took a heroic effort made by a great many MCPers, fueled by the firm’s core values — especially persistence and accountability — as well as a tremendous esprit de corps that developed, which proved critical.

Without the level of commitment displayed by many MCPers, it would have been impossible to complete this task in the amount of time given for it. I’m not sure that any of us involved in the project would want to do it again under the same circumstances, but I believe that all of us would say that we are grateful to have had a chance to do it once — it was a notable achievement that to this day makes us very proud.

Over the next 12 months, we’ll share more stories like this one — so stay tuned.

John Chiaramonte is president of MCP’s consulting division. Email him at

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