Making a Difference: What Self-Storage Operators Can Learn From NASA
NASA launched the final mission of the Space Shuttle program July 8. As I watched STS-135 launch after that heart-stopping delay at T-31 seconds, tears came to my eyes. It’s the end of an era.
After man first landed on the moon, the store manager at Hegedorn’s grocery store in Webster, N.Y., handed a poster of Neil Armstrong’s image on the moon to a wide-eyed little girl who was enthralled with the moon mission. Many years later the father of that same little girl went on to become a research scientist at Lockheed Martin where he worked on the heat-sink tiles for the shuttle program, then onto Marine Systems at Lockheed, which was responsible for building components of the Space Station.
Yes, I’m that enthralled little girl. Each time we walked into the lobby of the Marine Systems building, there was an easel displaying the days until the launch of the first piece of the International Space Station. Just an easel and an administrative assistant changing out the numbers each day, but it was exciting to watch that innocuous countdown.
We were privileged to attend the family days at Moffett Field where declassified items were available for us to enjoy, learn about and even taste. Yes, astronaut ice cream is an interesting and delightful treat. After one Family Day, I took a concept from a centrifugal force-growing system for the space station and crafted my own version for my sixth-grade science project using the rotisserie mechanism from our barbeque grill. Trips to Florida would find us touring Cape Kennedy, aka Cape Canaveral, and again consuming all we could about space travel and reaching for the stars.
As I watched the launch of the final space shuttle mission last week, all of these memories and all the things people working together have accomplished brought tears to my eyes. Not as much as some, but more than many others, my life has been touched by the space program.
While we as the storage industry cannot be responsible for the massive advances in science, medicine and such, we can make a difference. We do, after all, share some commonality with the space program: The commonality lies in the word “space” and in the tens of thousands of people and customers that comprise our industry. As we’re earthbound and not scientists, we can only do so much with the tools at our disposal, but we can make a difference.
Take a look around your community, think outside of the box and ask how your product and services can make a huge impact in the lives of the people in your community. Don’t think “I can’t.” Instead think “What if …” Reach for the stars, dream and make a difference, just as each individual involved in space exploration did once upon a time.
Gina Six Kudo is the general manager of Cochrane Road Self Storage in Morgan Hill, Calif. She has more than 15 years of self-storage experience, and a strong customer-service and sales background.