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
Sent: 01-23-2019 15:04
From: Joshua Sims
Subject: Maintaining Professional Contacts
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.
York College of PA Class of '21