The United States is going places - more specifically, Mars. NASA had a lot to be proud of when it successfully landed its Mars rover, Curiosity, on the surface of the red planet. If you haven’t seen the news coverage or the video, you need to see the NASA engineers in their blue polo shirts jumping up and down in celebration when they find out Curiosity’s landing was successful. The rover will now spend the next two years collecting rocks and other samples that might point to evidence that Mars once had life.

So why bring this up in a blog about the sheet metal industry? Well, NASA is like any other industry. Sometimes it rides high and other times it fumbles. Curiosity’s victory comes after a few years of people saying the U.S. space program was obsolete. Many believed that U.S. space exploration had seen its better days, and those days were over. You could almost say the same thing about the construction industry.

The last four or five years have been a struggle for any construction business, including HVAC and sheet metal contractors. But I think that Curiosity is a great example that industries do turn around. It takes hard work, vision and innovation.

I believe that the industry is in the beginning stages of a moment that will change the indoor environment. There are products on the market that seemed impossible to envision only 10 years ago. Who would of thought a decade ago that you could control your thermostat from a cell phone?

As another example, look at all of the research being conducted by the American Society of Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Engineers. ASHRAE is pushing the development of net-zero energy buildings. These buildings, when successful, take no more energy off the power grid than can be produced onsite.

And this is just the tip of things. Mechanical engineers, like NASA engineers, are envisioning what the world looks like tomorrow. You should do the same. Look at what is possible in the future for you business. Ask questions, stay curious, and make a commitment to examine your uncharted territories. I have faith that you will find some impressive solutions as well as something to celebrate.