What is Networking?

Timothy Ormiston, P.E.

Walter Poplawski PE and Virginia Dailey PE, at the PSPE 2013 Conference.
Walter Poplawski PE and Virginia Dailey PE, at the PSPE 2013 Conference.

Networking is a term we hear and read daily. Can it be as simple as casting or repairing a net like a fisherman? Or working “the net” while searching for technical information? In the context of engineering it could be creating a computer network in the office or for a client.  As it relates to the benefit of being a member of PSPE, it is about connecting with people who will enhance your technical skills, social skills or personal well-being.

Dictionary.com offers several definitions of networking including: 1. (noun) a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.  2. (verb) to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally.

Across the state, PSPE provides many events throughout the year where networking is a major benefit. Most PSPE Chapters conduct regular dinner meetings that provide opportunities for technical and social networking.  The dinners are a great way to meet “old” and new colleagues in the nearby county or region and often include a PDH education session.  

Every September the PSPE Annual Conference is held in one of three major metropolitan regions: Pittsburgh, Harrisburg or Philadelphia. The Conference schedule always includes activities that offer a wide variety of benefits to engineers and their families. There are PDH education sessions for technical knowledge as well as lunches and dinners for socializing. There are also a variety of activities for the spouses and families are invited to the Installation of Officers and Awards Ceremony

Every PSPE chapter conducts a MATHCOUNTS event for local middle school students. Not only do our members enjoy great satisfaction from helping 6th, 7th and 8th grade students advance in mathematics, but they also get a chance to network with engineers, educators, students, universities and the media that are involved with the event.

In a personal example of networking, I needed a vendor to design and supply material handling systems. I remembered meeting a speaker at the previous conference whose company specialized in bulk material handling process equipment.  I found his business card in my PSPE files and contacted him. 

PSPE members have access to a broad range of networking opportunities across Pennsylvania. Check in with your local chapter today.