ASCE-YM Texas Section Networking Shuffle Recap
June 14, 2021
by Ludivine Varga, Yan Linwood, and Seif Hediya
Destitute of social interactions, we came up with just the solution – the “ASCE Texas Section – Younger Members Networking Shuffle”. This event was created with a purpose of reconnecting our ASCE Texas members. Due to the pandemic, many of us have been under self-quarantine leading to the need for some socializing. We were not able to meet in person, so we needed to think of a new way to reconnect with our peers. In late 2020, our ASCE Texas Section – Younger Members around the state of Texas got together and brainstormed to figure out a safe way to connect with the ASCE Texas community. In January 2021, we finalized the format of the first ASCE Networking Shuffle event, and it has been quite a success. The registration and pairing process were made easy for our ASCE members to participate through a couple of steps:
- Registrations – gathering participants information
- Participants register through a digital form via the ASCE website. This form asks about the individual’s field of specialty, associated local branch, general interests, and how many years the participant has been in the industry. Once the participants are registered, all they have to do is wait for the pairing notification via e-mail. The wait time is typically about 1-2 weeks to give enough time for our team members to process the data.
- Member Pairings
- Once all the participants have filled out the form, their information is analyzed to best match them up. The first pairings that were done in February 2021, were processed manually, and our team realized that this was not sustainable, and we had to figure out a better and quicker way to process the data. To speed up the pairing process, we will now be using a program written by one of our team members, Seif Hediya, a part of the ASCE Networking Shuffle Committee and a member of the ASCE Houston branch. Seif consulted with Amr Aly, a Software Engineer at Daikin North America, to assist with the software implementation. The pairing algorithm relies on weighted scores from each participant’s job title, interests, and sector. More points are assigned to those that have similar interests, and fewer points are assigned to those who have similar job titles and work in the same sector. Once the program finalizes the pairings, it then auto-fills an email template with the paired individuals contact information. Once the participants are notified via e-mail, it is up to the pairs to coordinate on a convenient time and meeting platform that works for both.
The ASCE Networking Shuffle program will be a work in progress, and it will be updated as necessary as we complete each quarter’s pairings and receive more feedback. We believe that the program will be useful for events to come, but nonetheless, the participants from the first event were ecstatic about this new way of networking. The first ASCE Networking Shuffle event was released in February of 2021 and we received many positive feedbacks. Participants really liked that they could network with other ASCE members in a safe manner. Here are some feedbacks and suggestions that we have received from participants:
- One of the participants, R. Thomas Everett II, PE, emailed us personally thanking us for organizing the event, he said: “Adam and I recently met virtually. It went well and I’m glad you all are doing this! It’s great to be able to network in the midst of everything going on.”
- Other participants were happy about meeting other individuals with similar interests and leading to lasting connections. From one of our survey participants, Tasha Hux said, “We were a great match with plenty of similarities. We plan to keep in touch after this quarter.”
- We also received some suggestions that we may implement in the future. One suggestion was that this format would be great for a mentorship program, pairing younger YMs with more experience YMs – we will definitely keep this in mind and explore other possibilities to create another similar event to do this.
- Another suggestion was that we should have an in-person event at the end of the year gathering all those that participated to celebrate the event, this is a great idea and something that we could possibly do in conjunction with our annual YM camping trip!
The next pairings were sent out Tuesday, June 1, and we are excited for another successful run at this event. We believe that our ASCE Networking Shuffle event will continue to thrive in keeping our ASCE members connected in the long term. It will serve as an additional option for our members to network, especially for members that are separated with great distance. This event is going to open doors and become a great alternative for our ASCE members who live in different cities, states, or even countries that would not necessarily have the opportunity to meet with one another otherwise.