The Value of the Network

The Value of the Network


Ian Stewart- PTN President

Back in September, having just driven back to New England from the IPTW in Ohio, I was at a RFP meeting at a site in Connecticut.  There were several other contractors there, but none that I immediately recognized. We all did the introduction game and proceeded to mill around, waiting for the meeting and walk through to commence.  We were there to look at a large exhibition hall at a fairground complex dating from the second half of the nineteenth century, and so as we milled, we quietly made comments to each other. The meeting went along, and it was clear to me that there was another preservationist at this meeting, and that the rest were not specialists.

As is often the case when two preservationists are in an old building for the first time, curiosity took hold and the questions began flowing forth. We began to bounce ideas off of each other, and off of the potential client.  By the end of the walk through we were the only ones inside the building, taking measurements, looking at missing wind braces, trying to understand what had been done to this great old structure.

When finally it seemed we were content with what we had seen we walked outside and began chatting with each other, and swapping business cards.  After a few moments he asked me.
“Have you ever heard of the Preservation Trades Network?” To which I responded “I got back from the IPTW last night, and am up for the Board”

He smiled and said “I was one of the early Presidents” And this is how I came to meet Bill Gould, who had stopped attending the IPTW the year before I began going.  Two days later he sent me an email asking if I wanted to be part of his bid on the job.  His reasoning was that we were both part of the Preservation Trades Network, and that it made sense to work with people within the Network.  In the end we didn’t get the bid, but that is just fine by me; I was once again reminded of the value of our “Network”.

Weekly I am reaching out to members whose skills might be good for a job that comes across my desk.  As we are starting to recover from 2008, the amount of work out there is starting to really see an uptick.  This is the time when we, as members of the preservation trades, should be collaborating more, helping each other out, growing our “Network”.

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