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Friday, March 13, 2009

Can you emulate this Washington DC initiative in your own community?

This image is from the home page of the Washington D.C. Design and Construction Network's new website at Could you co-ordiante a similar network in your own community?

“Successful networking is all about relationships, not “links.” The goal of the Washington DC Design and Construction Network is to develop mutually beneficial relationships both online and in person.” (from the Washington D.C. Design and Construction Network website)

The Washington D.C. Design and Construction Network is an intriguing and exciting example of how online and offline resources can be combined to create a vibrant regional networking community. Yesterday, in launching the network's own website, Tim Klabunde, publisher of the CofeBuz blog and Director of Marketing at W.H. Gordon Associates Inc., an engineering practice in Chantilly, VA, wrote:

It has been an exciting past two weeks for the Washington DC Design and Construction Network as our membership has grown to over 550 members! With all that is going on, let me get straight to the three things you need to know:

1) FREE Procurement searches, MBE Directory, Construction News, and Networking Information - The Washington DC Design and Construction Network website is now up! Take a moment to stop by at and you will find a wealth of information including: links to all of the regions procurement websites (aka: get work), today’s Washington Business Journal (updated every 5 minutes), and of course the official MBE Directory of the Network!

Please take a moment to thank Melissa Allen of WFT Engineering, Vicki White of ECS, and Carolyn Evans of Global Engineering solutions for all their work helping bring this together!

2) JOBS - LinkedIn was kind enough to add an additional Tab to our LinkedIn page called "Jobs.” If you are looking to hire someone or would like to post your resume, please stop by! I have already been told that several interviews have been set up as a direct result of our group, so go check it out!

3) HAPPY HOUR – The details of our next Happy Hour are almost finalized! During our last Happy Hour I promised many of you a larger venue, and I am excited to announce that we have arranged to shut down an entire restaurant and use it for our Happy Hour! Yes, you read that right, one lucky restaurant in Arlington will be closed down to the general public and open to the members of the Washington DC Design and Construction Network for our happy hour! So, if you know someone that might want to come that isn’t in the network, be certain to send them this link ( and tell them to click “Join Group.” As all of you already know, it is completely free and all that is required is a LinkedIn account.

The network's new website is impressive, with an incredible collection of links and resources for anyone to use without requiring any sort of paid subscription -- and participation within the network is also free.

Notably, the network developed and found its potential in an incredibly short time; just a few months. Online resources such as combined with offline groups and associations can combine effectively to accelerate the process.

The network here succeeds because the leadership and membership appreciate the most important underlying principal of successful networking: You always put yourself second and focus on the interests and needs of your colleagues and others joining the network. While your own marketing and self-interest rewards are indirect, they happen, as your community grows and people want to do business with you.

Could you take the lead and co-ordinate a similar network in your own community?

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