Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Maintaining Professional Contacts

    Posted 01-23-2019 03:19 PM
    I try to attend as many ASCE events as I can to get to know more professionals in Civil Engineering. I was told that asking for adivice is a good way to maintain contacts, as people are always willing to give it out. However, it feels weird to ask for advice frequently, and frankly, I do not usually have that many questions to ask. What are other ways one can work to maintain professional connections, especially if they do not see the person on a regular basis?

    Thanks in advance for all of your responses. 

    Josh Sims
    York College of PA Class of '21

  • 2.  RE: Maintaining Professional Contacts

    Posted 01-23-2019 04:04 PM
    Josh, I recommend using LinkedIn as a way to keep in touch with people and share thoughts/ideas.

    Anthony Fasano P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineering Management Institute
    Ridgewood NJ
    (201) 857-2384

  • 3.  RE: Maintaining Professional Contacts
    Best Answer

    Posted 01-24-2019 07:53 AM
    Your need for advice will only increase as you advance in your career.  New challenges will pop up that will force you to think outside the box.  You will meet colleagues who work within the same discipline as you.  Some older, some younger.  I have senior engineers call and ask for help using computer programs.  I typically have some question for them on masonry.  Contact can be maintained through phone, email, or in person... ASCE meetings, conferences, and seminars.  You will typically find the same core group in attendance the same way that you do in school. 

    Friends and colleagues will pop in and out of your life over the years.  Keep your door open.  You may lose touch over months, years,,, it does not matter much.  Those who care and want to be mentors will remember you.  My best advice is to send your mentors a Christmas card!  That is usually well received with a phone call!

    Do not be afraid to ask questions you already know the answer to.  New studies are published every day and you might be surprised to find out the answer has changed!  You will also learn from a perspective that might challenge your own.

    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
    (401)231-4870 EXT 2207

  • 4.  RE: Maintaining Professional Contacts

    Posted 01-26-2019 09:39 AM
    Follow the works of other people and ask questions. 

  • 5.  RE: Maintaining Professional Contacts

    Posted 01-24-2019 09:49 AM
    ​Josh, Thus far in my early career I have primarily been in the same position as you. I attend as many of these events as possible and when I do I really focus on quality rather than quantity. If I speak to 20 fellow engineers over the course of two days, I connect with them on LinkedIn to bolster that as a contact and resource.

    However, there are usually a couple that I have the opportunity to really speak with and I focus on getting to know them a bit. Remember that in the end we engineers are people and to solidify a good contact you need relationship. So asking who they are, and where they have come from may be a better use of time when given 20 minutes, and then reinforce the contact with a follow up email that you enjoyed meeting them. This is where I take the opportunity to ask a question or inquire how they approach a certain problem.

    I do like Chad's thought about taking time to send a wet inked Christmas card to the few you have really connected with. Because as we advance in our career, giving someone your time is the greatest way to show appreciation.

    And maybe invite them all to a summer BBQ, who doesn't like a good summer BBQ?


    Greg Helton E.I.T., M.ASCE
    Project Manager|Facility Engineer
    The Boeing Company
    St. Louis, MO

  • 6.  RE: Maintaining Professional Contacts

    Posted 01-24-2019 02:20 PM
    Very nice discussion. I am new to the whole networking thing and I find it difficult to actually start a discussion first. Maintaining professional contact is another step for me. Does professional relationship has to be formal? I mean as a professional from the field, how do you prefer someone to approach you?

    Aakash Parajuli S.M.ASCE
    Tuscaloosa AL

  • 7.  RE: Maintaining Professional Contacts

    Posted 01-24-2019 03:10 PM

    We are all much more than engineers. Approach with eye contact, a smile, a solid handshake, and your name. You want to maintain professional bearing and speak respectfully, yes. However, the events and the networking accompanying them should be comfortable, and harbor community. If we want genuine contacts we must be genuine.

    There should be no stigma speaking to a 40 year tenured, accomplished engineer. It is likely they take pride in helping us "fresher" engineers.
    Say hello. What's the worst that can happen?

    Greg Helton E.I.T., M.ASCE
    Project Manager|Facility Engineer
    The Boeing Company
    St. Louis, MO

  • 8.  RE: Maintaining Professional Contacts

    Posted 01-27-2019 08:54 PM
    Josh, (most) people love talking about themselves and usually are open to helping out young engineers. Do not be worried about asking for advice. Many of the senior engineers have been in your shoes and hearing their perspective can be beneficial for your development.

    As for maintaining personal connections, I struggle with this as well. What I have done lately is schedule a reminder on my calendar to reach out to some old coworkers or people I have met at networking events and just send them a friendly email. I try to include a link to an interesting article in that email that they might find useful. I'll end the email with "Don't feel pressured to respond. I just thought you might find this article relevant. Let's grab some lunch this month when you are free."

    Using LinkedIn is also a good tool for this. 

    Zaid Admani P.E., Aff.M.ASCE
    Sugar Land TX