Building a Construction Network

Building a Construction Network

When I first started in my position as editor of Building Indiana Business back in 2013, I had virtually no construction industry contacts of my own. These days, I have upwards of a hundred reliable industry contacts that I can reach out to with all kinds of questions and ideas – and believe me, I’ve come up with all kinds of random questions for these folks. Today, I’d like to share with you some pointers about how I built my construction industry network.

I learned fairly quickly that a strong network has to be developed on your own initiative. Colleagues can help with introductions, but nurturing that network to its fullest potential is something only you can do yourself. It takes a little time, a little practice, and honestly a dash of luck. But over the years I’ve identified a few methods that could be useful for others out there that want to generate more resources in the construction sector.


Go To Trade Shows with Your Camera

Construction industry trade shows are golden opportunities to meet people and a camera in your hands makes it incredibly easy to approach anyone. At trade shows, companies will be attending the event to demonstrate who they are and what they do. When you ask people to take a photo of their booth, it provides you with an easy way to introduce yourself and ask questions about their work. This is much easier than approaching out of the blue.

Follow this with a swap of business cards and you’ve successfully broken the ice. Sometimes I like to write the photo number of the picture I’ve just taken right on the business card to help me remember their face. Then I follow up the next day with an introductory email containing the photo to say it was nice to meet them.

This will help people remember you in turn, and you’ve already started the initial steps of your rapport. Be sure to ask about some of their company’s recent exciting projects and express interest in their work. Construction professionals really appreciate that, and you’ll get to learn more about their awesome projects.


Take Every Learning Opportunity

Even if you’re not a construction professional yourself, attending industry education opportunities will teach you a ton and put you together with new people to meet. Plus, in all honesty, many of these learning opportunities are really interesting or downright entertaining. I remember one a long time ago where a gentleman was testing the latest protective wear by putting it through “intense testing.” He was taking baseball bats, grinders, and hammers against melons in hard hats, safety glasses, and other PPE. It was a total blast.

When you attend classes like these, introduce yourself to your classmates. Shared experiences are great ways to make new contacts, and you’ll also get to learn a ton of new things about construction.


Be Comfortable at Parties

Many of my most productive meetings with industry professionals took place during social events, whether it be a tavern, lunch, dinner, or some other type of fun gathering. Construction folks are generally not uptight people – they really know how to have a good time. The amount of work that be accomplished over a pint never fails to amaze me.

The most important aspect of this suggestion is to meet your contacts on their level and understand there will be a wide spectrum. Sometimes you’ll be meeting in the fanciest steakhouse in town, other times it’ll be a hole-in-the-wall dive bar your mother warned you never to enter. The point here is to connect with your contacts in environments they enjoy. Level with them, celebrate, and become comfortable wherever your gatherings take place.


Get Active with Associations

As a final suggestion, I cannot overstate the value of construction industry associations when it comes to meeting new people and making new contacts. For example, our publication has worked closely with the Northwest Indiana Business RoundTable (NWIBRT) for years now, and our participation with their activities has provided me with countless opportunities to get out there and connect. Building Indiana is also engaged with quite a few other associations and local business organizations, all of which has been exceptionally valuable for meeting people.

These groups build a sense of togetherness, especially when you volunteer for things. You’ll get to work alongside professionals from other companies toward a shared goal, which really helps form great relationships. Associations are very powerful avenues for networking.


Go Meet Some Great New People

I hope that some of my simple tips and suggestions will help those out there that want to build their own network of construction contacts. It’s truly and industry filled with great people – actually, some of the most genuine and kind that I’ve ever met.

Building a network takes time, but the more you put yourself in settings that enable you to connect with construction people, the more it will grow. Just get out there, say hello to people, and enjoy all of the awesome things you’ll learn and experience.




Top Corporate Team Building Activities (And Some Odd Ones)

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Go-Kart Racing
  • Escape Rooms
  • Laser Tag / Paintball
  • Office Trivia
  • Blind Drawing
  • Mystery Dinner
  • Egg Drop
  • Two Truths and a Lie
  • Sports Brackets
  • Community Service / Volunteering

Some Strange and Fun Ones

  • Board Game Tournament
  • Beer Making
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Race
  • Battle of the Airbands
  • Blindfolded Driving
  • Circus Classes