Traditional networking events can be a bit of a crapshoot. The themes may be overly broad, and there’s all those business cards to juggle – or lose.
The recent EnergyMatch cocktail mixer at Phipps Conservatory took a more targeted approach. The 160 attendees created online profiles in advance, and were matched with other individuals with complementary needs. At the June 28 gathering, participants were able to connect face-to-face with established business leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers and funders with specific interests in each other’s specialties. Through a special texting technology developed by SMaSh, attendees made a brief electronic note of each interaction, which will be tracked – and prodded along – by event organizers.
The participants made a total of 439 matches, with each person averaging seven connections. One particularly metacarpally gifted individual logged 39, according to SMaSh records. Tim Fogarty heads up the energy program at Innovation Works, which provides risk capital and business mentoring to regional technology start-ups, and sponsored the event. He explains how it worked.
The Alliance is a joint initiative of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Innovation Works to maximize our region’s competitive advantages across energy-related businesses and create jobs, with an eye to respecting the environment and advancing sustainability.
The regional energy sector is already vaster than many people realize, encompassing transmission & distribution, intelligent building technologies, water, solar and wind power, as well as nuclear, coal and gas. Factor in the construction, transportation and other related supply chain work, plus energy conservation and management, and you’re talking about more than 700 businesses directly and indirectly supporting some 105,000 jobs and generating nearly $14 billion in annual economic activity.
These figures that are poised to grow – especially if entrepreneurs and innovators can find each other. That’s why Tony Kerzmann, a mechanical engineering professor at Robert Morris University, attended the EnergyMatch mixer.
Anthony Lacenere is CEO of Propel IT, a company that uses technology to enhance operational efficiencies. Lacenere talked about helping long-haul truck drivers to find ways to improve fuel efficiency.
Roger Byford is chief technology officer and co-founder (and initially, a co-funder) of Vocollect, a Monroeville-based developer and manufacturer of voice solutions for mobile workers worldwide. He discussed his interest in start-ups in the region’s energy sector.
Check back here ImaginePittsburghOnline.com or at the Energy Alliance or updates. You can also sign up now for a free presentation and tour of Phipps’ new Center for Sustainable Landscapes on July 18. You’ll learn about some of the innovative products at work reducing energy and water consumption, improving efficiency and generating electricity at the conservatory. Contact Kelly Dunbar at firstname.lastname@example.org by July 13 to register for the event, which runs from 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Admission is free, but the number of attendees is limited.