Innovating our way through the recession

One of the best things about being in the engineering field is that we get to witness new technologies and processes as soon as they're on the market--new products, groundbreaking projects, and unique engineering solutions.


A difficult--and yet rewarding--outcome of this recession has been the boom of small engineering firms and other businesses. Individuals, once cut loose from larger firms that have trimmed back on the workforce, have launched their own firms--a dream they may have never considered unless pushed. By forging their own paths, engineers have been forced to succeed independently. Small firms have had to expand their capabilities by adding new services or refocusing their business. Even large firms, seemingly untouched by the recession, have repositioned themselves, bringing in new business development teams or expanding services to include previously untouched markets. Kudos to those firms who are staying competitive and innovative in our industry.

One of the best things about being in the engineering field is that we get to witness new technologies and processes as soon as they're on the market--new products, groundbreaking projects, and unique engineering solutions.

The engineering firms that fill these pages with technical articles each month are at the forefront of innovation. For example, the cover story on emergency lighting discusses the most important issues in life safety and lighting with special coverage that includes relevant new products.

In another article, best practices for documenting ASHRAE Standard 90.1 compliance are detailed. While many of these tips seem obvious, they are frequently overlooked in the documentation phase, so they remain vital to any successful project with ambitions to comply with and exceed ASHRAE Standard 90.1.

To me, innovation means staying ahead of the competition, making decisions quickly, thinking differently, and setting the curve, not responding to it. I've been fortunate in my career to work at innovative firms--CFE Media LLC (the publisher of this publication and others in the engineering field) is one of these cutting-edge companies. While my response time may sometimes seem slow to you, I can assure you that my brain is moving at about 100 mph--along with the brains of our staff. Our company is celebrating its 2-year anniversary with the June 2012 issue, and we got here by practicing innovation in action.

No matter the size of your firm, I'd like to hear about how you and your team have been innovative in the past year. We'll post these innovations online at for everyone to learn from. Please send me your success stories, tips, tricks, best practices, photos, videos, etc. Keep it short, and we'll help you show off your own innovative spirit. Contact me at

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