I’ve always had an appreciation for those stewards of the crystal ball — whether they’re the palm readers you see on the boardwalks of amusement parks, the mysterious gypsy women with the heavy Eastern European accents at county fairs, or even the television weather forecasters who get paid big bucks to be wrong 90% of the time.
As a kid growing up in Cleveland, my parents used to take me to a place called Euclid Beach Park, an old landmark park in Cleveland, famous for it’s east coast custard stands, Laughing Sal and the Surprise House, and the fortune tellers who whisked your quarters away so they could guess your weight, your birth date, or tell you about events that would happen in the near and distant future. That stuff always thrilled me.
As an adult, I live in a world where I must constantly think about the future — from planning to get things done by certain deadlines (the plague of journalists everywhere, and one that is my Achilles heel), to planning my children’s college funding, and even predicting how many people may attend one of our many events (Comfortech Roadshows, HVAC Comfortech, our Webinars, etc.)
In fact, during our most recent Roadshow, Keynote Speaker Matt Michel was speaking about how this industry is predicated upon the passion for service and he told the audience a story about how Willis Carrier was thinking outside the box one morning while waiting for a train. The story goes that on that particular morning the air was damp, chill, and foggy. Carrier began wondering about the relationship between temperature, dew point, and humidity and how they worked together to create fog.
From that thinking, he went on to develop the Psychrometric Chart and the modern air conditioning industry was born.
Carrier obviously went on to think creatively about several other things, as did many other people in the industry, and they created a new future with the inventions that resulted from that thinking.
We often take this and other history lessons for granted, but to me, it’s simply amazing how such creativity, and the forecasting behind it, built and still sustains one of the most important industries in the world today.
It’s also important to remember that the ability to forecast and think creatively impacts you and your business every day. From forecasting profits, to creating the plans and strategies that get you there, all three channels —HVACR contractors, distributors, and manufactures — work individually and often together to create a new future, one that is comfortable, environmentally friendly, and safe.
Sound a bit idealistic?
Maybe it is. There are certainly many bumps in the road and issues that come to light that can pit differing channels of the industry against each other. The heated debates that result — in the trade press, association meetings, and company boardrooms — can take years to resolve.
Yet, every day each channel develops new ways to achieve individual goals and, at the same time, achieve industrywide goals (such as addressing the refrigeration issue, as well as efficiency, manpower, certification, and others). When I think about that, it thrills me as much as did the fortune tellers at Euclid Beach so long ago.
We have a lot to be proud of as an industry. We are problem solvers, we are creative, and we forecast, then build a better future every day.
Now, about those weather forecasters . . . .