Liz Burdock, Executive Director, Business Network for Offshore Wind
Admit it. You’ve been there. You approached the trade show, industry conference, or other networking event, looked around at the hundreds of name badges, and thought “How am I going to find the people I need to talk to?” It’s a common problem for managers from companies of all sizes, and the bigger the conference, the more intimidating it can be.
At the Business Network for Offshore Wind (the Network), we know that for the U.S. offshore wind industry to get off the ground, we have to help companies build connections across state and national borders, especially between European and U.S. firms. The offshore wind supply chain is like an erector set that requires connection points so that highly engineered and complex offshore wind farms can be manufactured and constructed efficiently and effectively.
So, we put a lot of thought into how we can make it easier for our members to get that handshake, have the introductory conversation, and set up the connection that makes the difference between having a productive conference and going home empty-handed.
It may be old-fashioned, but we believe in face-to-face relationship building, and our events are intentionally limited in size to provide a welcoming setting where attendees are encouraged to interact with each other.
Even in the International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum (IPF), our annual conference that we’re hosting in Princeton, NJ in April 3-6, we will use that “get to know you” format as much as possible. And this year, we are once again providing 30-minute, one-on-one ‘WindMatch’ sessions that are like online dating for businesses—you can request appointments with your key contacts, and if they accept the appointment, you have set your meeting, when and where it works for you and your future colleague or partner.
This is how you build a new industry, based on cooperation, shared problem-solving and connections.