ImaginePittsburgh.com

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 mixer was an initiative of the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh, and was brought to life by Fourth Economy Consulting in conjunction with World-Class Industrial Network and SMaSh.

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 kdunbar@alleghenyconference.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.

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Pittsburgh is emerging as a leading national energy center, and we’re not just talking about the Marcellus Shale. America’s oil and gas business was born in our region, and our expertise with coal dates back more than 250 years. Our energy economy now includes more than 700 firms spanning extraction, supply chain and innovation for traditional and alternative energy resources, as well as energy conservation and management. Our energy-related sector directly and indirectly supports some 105,000 jobs and generates nearly $14 billion in economic activity.

Through the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh, a new model for collaboration across business, government and academia is being forged. It will maximize our region’s competitive advantages across energy-related sectors, and create jobs.  We’ll accomplish all of this with an eye to respecting the environment and advancing sustainability – both of which are the foundation of the Pittsburgh region’s transformation.

There are just a few days left to sign up for the June 28th EnergyMatch, a one-of-a-kind FREE event where participants create profiles and are matched with other individuals who have complementary needs. It will bring together the region’s growing energy sector companies, entrepreneurs, researchers and funders to connect, develop new products, form R&D teams, collaborate on grant opportunities and seek investment capital.

The event takes place at Phipps Conservatory from 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. There is no charge, but participants must register to attend here before close of business on Tuesday, June 21.

A joint initiative of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Innovation Works, the Energy Alliance is a strategic partnership of traditional and alternative energy companies, global leaders in materials science and intelligent building technologies, academic, corporate and government researchers, and supply-chain providers in 32 counties across four states. Our energy-related sectors include coal, gas, nuclear, solar, wind, water, transmission & distribution components and intelligent building technologies.

And speaking of intelligent building, our region is home to many innovators in this field. Their products are at work reducing energy and water consumption, improving efficiency and generating electricity in Phipps’ new Center for Sustainable Landscapes. On July 18, the Energy Alliance sponsors a free presentation and tour with facilities/sustainability director Jason Wirick to learn more about the innovative materials and methods in use.  Contact Kelly Dunbar at kdunbar@alleghenyconference.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.