Build Better Podcast

Taking a Lean Journey with IESC’s Luiza Mills

by Emily Langner

In the first episode of High-Profile’s Build Better podcast, HP’s publisher, Anastasia Barnes, sat down with Luiza Mills, vice president of human resources and public relations at Interstate Electrical Services Corporation (IESC).

HP’s Anastasia Barnes and IESC’s Luiza Mills

IESC provides electrical construction, design-build, and electrical services to commercial customers of all sizes. With over 600 employees, IESC was facing challenges with efficiency and meeting its clients’ aggressive deadlines. The company went on a “Lean journey” that started with incorporating the elements of Lean construction that best applied to its specific challenges.

Put simply, the methodology of Lean construction is to “minimize the bad and maximize the good,” or to maximize your value-add and mitigate your nonvalue-add while eliminating the waste. Mills and the IESC team started by first choosing to focus on their internal customer, their employees. They were able to quickly identify where improvements could be made with the end goal of delivering reliable and timely results to their customers.

Mills says, “If you don’t focus on your internal customer, it has an effect on your external customer.” By pulling together and empowering their employees, Mills and the team learned how each team member was using the current technology, and how to improve upon existing protocol and procedures. Surprisingly, executives were left out of the meetings, allowing the employees to speak freely about their own experiences and opinions on ways to improve.

The biggest result of IESC’s Lean journey was the creation of a brand new 100,000sf operations center to handle things like assembly, prefabrication, shipping, and logistics to free up the company’s other employees to focus on installing. Additionally, by introducing a new apprenticeship program and by focusing on establishing new partnerships, IESC continues to evolve.

Of the Lean journey Mills says, “This isn’t a project. This is now a way of life for us,” and she encourages others to think of incorporating Lean construction as a journey and not a “one and done project.” By empowering their employees and by constantly evaluating what is working and what isn’t, Mills and the IESC team have gained valuable insight and are consistently achieving their goal of meeting customer deadlines.

Visit to listen to the entire interview and to learn more about IESC’s journey and how it has been a game changer for the company.

Emily Langner is the associate editor of High-Profile Monthly.