By Belinda Richard, Principal National Brownfields Program Manager, Terracon

Building your network to help achieve your redevelopment goals can be a difficult and daunting task but all of that can change when you meet the right people. The National Brownfields Conference is the perfect place to expand your network. By attending, you can meet city and town administrators, planners, engineers, scientists, EPA project officers, and other key contacts. Each connection you make has the potential to advance your organization’s revitalization projects toward meeting your goals.

Not sure where to start? This conference provides many opportunities to make new connections. Below are five tips to help you move out of your comfort zone, build your network of brownfield contacts, and achieve your project goals.

  1. Review the agenda before you arrive. Determine which presentations will be most beneficial and relevant to your organization and your redevelopment goals. Workshops and educational sessions can provide fresh ideas, connect you with like-minded attendees, and you might meet an environmental professional who can help answer questions about brownfield sites within your community.
  2. Wear your name tag and bring business cards. One of the easiest things you can do is to always wear your name tag and bring a stack of business cards to hand out in a moment’s notice. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of names and organizations but handing out a card to help jog your new contact’s memory at the end of the conference is invaluable.
  3. Visit the exhibitor hall. Business cards are also beneficial in the exhibitor hall. Here you will meet industry leaders who can help move your organization’s plans along and, as a bonus, many exhibitors host a business card raffle at their booth.
  4. Attend the social events such as the welcome reception. Even if you come alone to the conference, this is a great opportunity to meet others and grab a snack after a long day of conference activities.
  5. Sit with someone new. One of the scariest tasks for most people when in a new situation is sitting with someone they do not know. Just remember everyone was new at some point in their brownfield endeavors and most friendships were formed in this very situation when asked “is this seat taken?” Be open and welcoming, offer a handshake and a business card, and get to know your neighbor before the session begins.

Networking can be intimidating. Luckily the 2019 National Brownfields Conference in Los Angeles will provide several opportunities to meet new faces, develop business relationships, and build your brownfields network.

Register for Brownfields 2019 to take advantage of this 3-day opportunity to build your network!