Sometimes looking to history can give us inspiration to meet our own goals and challenges. For example, this week I read an article by 99 Percent Visible about an incredible hidden suburb during World War II. Amazingly, this was possible due to some ingenuity using little-known wartime technology: roofing! Well, roofing along with many other trappings of a typical neighborhood.

This isn’t just an interesting story; it just might inspire you today in your roofing business!

Suburbia as Camouflage

It may sound like something out of an elaborate heist movie, but in Seattle, Beoing disguised its Plant 2 site to look like a civilian residence district! This was no small feat, of course. As the 99 Percent Visible article describes:

The fake streets, sidewalks, grass, trees, fences, cars and the shells of houses spanned 23 acres: a picturesque plywood facade to fool would-be attackers.

Imagine being the roofer or roofing company hired to handle that job! When I read this, I wondered, Why did I never hear about this in history class? Did it work?

Well, the project was designed by a movie set guru named John Stewart Detlie and it looks pretty convincing to me!

As for whether it worked, yes and no. Fortunately, the Germans did not come to the area so it’s not necessarily disappointing that Plant 2’s camouflage was never fully tested; but it leaves this mammoth effort without an ultimate verdict.

What Took Place in Boeing’s Faux Neighborhood

While Plant 2 was in operation, workers carried on the work of a major weapons and aircraft facility for many years.

This new complex grew and expanded, ultimately spanning 1.7 million square feet. It would come to facilitate the assembly of B-17 Flying Fortresses, B-29 Superfortresses, B-47 Stratojets, B-52 Stratofortresses and other aircraft through and beyond the war.

Fun Fact: The “Father of the 747” worked a summer at this Plant 2 in 1940.

Another Fun Fact: Many female “Rosie the Riveter” workers built World War II aircraft in this facility.

Learning From History

So, as you face your roofing challenge this week, remember Boeing Plant 2. Your roofing customers may not be housing fighter jets, but they are protecting what matters most to them, just like these World War II innovators. The work you do represents an effort that can sometimes feel thankless, but it’s never wasted effort to keep innovating with style and ingenuity.

Like the Boeing Plant 2 designers and workers, you may find that some efforts don’t get tested the way you thought they would. The real point is, trying something informed yet new and unconventional paid off in other ways, as attested by all the work these teams completed in the facility.

It’s also a lesson that you don’t have to stick with what was innovative yesterday. When Boeing outgrew Plant 2, they moved on!

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We’d Love to Innovate With You

Luckily, roofing software doesn’t have be finite like Boeing’s Plant 2 roofs! When your company’s team or operations make organization and coordination more challenging, you won’t have to scrap everything, as long as you choose a tool that can grow with you.

As a software company, we like to learn from the past and keep our eye on the future. We understand how your roofing software needs will evolve as time passes, and we’ve built JobNimbus to scale with you–without a lot of hassles.

As always, we’re here to help your roofing business reach new heights of creativity and innovation, so please reach out to us about our demo, training, or customization possibilities.

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