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Buffalo’s Biggest Networking Party of the Year

It came to pass at 6:45PM Buffalo Standard Time (B.S.T.) Thursday night that over 12,600 participants from over 400 companies walked and ran 3 1/2 miles at the 32nd annual JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge at Delaware Park here in North Buffalo. But after the cardio, in the summer-like day comes, the real challenge… getting to visit and network with your friends and people you want to connect with in the more than 300 hospitality tents set up right behind the Buffalo Zoo bordering Ring Rd.
 
                                The secret of successful networking
 
To network successfully, you have to go where the people you want to network with are, and it was a great opportunity to do so with an estimated crowd of some 20,000 post-race. If you worked at Tops Friendly Markets, you might start at their tent for some food, then you might meet up with your lady school teacher friend at the Buffalo Public Schools tent, see who might hire you at a higher job level at the Wegmans tent, meet with your college bud at the University of Buffalo tent, shmooze with a loan decision maker at First Niagara Bank (so you can buy that dream house someday), and visit your doctor at the Catholic Health tent. You get the idea!
 
                                The problem with no solution
 
The sun goes down too soon! I must say the seasonality of the event has been well thought out. Although we are nearing the longest day of the year in a couple of weeks, once it gets dark around 8:30PM I won’t have a chance to get to visit Kaleida Health, Ingram Micro, Moog and M&T Bank. Although the event organizers created a wonderful map and index of the event, the end of natural sunlight ends the party. I wouldn’t favor artificial lighting here, and tear down gets under way as darkness sets in, because tomorrow is another work day. Plus you can’t start the race an hour earlier as a lot of people are still working at 6:45PM BST. Sadly I was able to only visit 5 tents during my networking visit, but I wish I would have visited 5 more!
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                                Tales from the T-Shirt Distribution Tent 
 
I volunteered again for T-shirt distribution this year. Most years the extra Large T-shirts run out first, but this year the the small sizes were the first to go. Perhaps those weight loss plans are paying off! Also, one of my volunteer brothers noticed that the red bib people (runners) seemed to move around quickly and drank water before the race, and that some of the green bib people (walkers) would drink beer before the race and did not seem to move as quickly. Coincidence? Also, some of the ladies who forgot to bring their safety pins that are used to attach their bib numbers to their T-shirts were found flirting with some guys, apparently just so they could “borrow” their safety pins. Great job networking ladies, you certainly get it! 
 
                              Please share with us any interesting tales from race night!

Photo below: Vasilis Kariolis from Buffalo wins the Men’s Divison

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Photo below: Jennifer Koeppel-Acker from Cheektowaga wins the Women’s Division
 

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Written by Mike Puma

Mike Puma

Writing for Buffalo Rising since 2009 covering development news, historic preservation, and Buffalo history. Works professionally in historic preservation.

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