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Message From the Director: Online Networking

Networking is typically the number one benefit stated by members as to why they join a trade association. You can return the cost of membership by picking up one tip from another member. The only problem with face-to-face networking is that it takes time and money to travel to venues or events where the opportunity to network exists.

The telephone is another outstanding medium for networking, however there are shortcomings with voice communications. Both individuals must be available at the same time – a condition not easily met in today’s hectic world.

A third option, however, is just beginning to come into its own – Online networking. The Internet is becoming as easy to use and as commonplace as the telephone, but it’s not there yet. This sort of networking opportunity already exists within the TCA. TCA staff has a number of experts on a variety of subjects at our disposal who will answer questions and offer solutions to problems presented. Jim Baty in our office heads these efforts.

The method is simple – a member emails Jim with a problem, question or need, and if he or I can’t answer the question (and often even if we can), we forward it to several individuals who either have expertise or experience on the subject. The results may take a day or two, but we usually get a variety of answers from different perspectives.

Online networking provides a medium that doesn’t involve travel – you can propose your questions at a time that suits you and add graphic content to better explain your problem. This member benefit is used weekly to deal with a wide range of problems from bond breaker problems to structural engineering or finishing concerns. The successes (and failures) of one individual can be used to save time and money for another. This benefit is only available to TCA members, which is yet another reason to join if you are not already a TCA member.

Another opportunity will be revived later this year – the online member forum. The current live integration between our member database and web site will make it much easier to control participation and content when this service is re-introduced. TCA staff will monitor the forum, however the member with the question will initiate the process. This forum may also provide email notifications to improve efficiency. The content will be segmented by topic, and member-only access will make certain that outsiders, including those who might use the information against the industry or individual, will be excluded.

Of course, all of the trusted networking options will still be available in TCA. Nothing takes the place of a face-to-face networking. The TCA Annual Convention, with social events and round table discussions, will remain the ultimate annual networking opportunity. The World of Concrete is also a great time to network in a less structured format. We think the online networking will round out our offerings so that any member can find qualified answers to their questions. If you have any ideas to further networking opportunities, give us a call.


Ed Sauter, Executive Director

TCA Board of Directors

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.