BioBuzz Builds Connections in Biotech and Life Sciences Industries
Once a month, Growlers Brew Pub in Gaithersburg is packed with people talking about the latest trends in the biotechnology and life sciences industries.
The people who gather at Growlers are biotechnology students, lab workers, human resources managers, job seekers, educators, scientists, entrepreneurs and vendors. They come for the camaraderie and the opportunity to connect with people in the bioscience industry.
The social happy hour events are known as BioBuzz, which launched in 2010. BioBuzz is the brainchild of Chris Frew of Tech USA and staff members at Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. Recognizing the strength of the biotech hubs in other parts of the country – such as Boston, San Diego and Research Triangle – they saw a need to bring together and bolster the Montgomery County biotech community. The idea behind BioBuzz is to give those who are interested in the bioscience industry an outlet to network and share information about trends and job opportunities.
More than 350 bioscience companies are located in Montgomery County, according to Montgomery Economic Development. But how many people know people who work at other companies? How many people really understand what happens in the bioscience parks?
“We hope that the people who attend will gain and build new personal and professional relationships that will last beyond the events, and from which new business and potential employment relationships can eventually develop,” Frew said. “They are also a very good place to re-connect with past workers.”
Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus is an annual sponsor of BioBuzz and will be the featured sponsor at the next event, scheduled for 4:30 – 7 p.m. Dec. 11.
The events are designed to be informal, with no programming other than welcome remarks from the featured sponsor.
“BioBuzz is an open group that anyone can join,” Frew said. “The events are very casual and welcoming. They really do provide a great place to connect, so I’d encourage anyone who is looking to expand their network or meet others with similar interests in science to come out to the next event. I promise they won’t be disappointed.”
Colleen Connolly McCusker, associate director of professional career services for JHU’s Advanced Academic Programs, said BioBuzz provides a great opportunity for students to network with professionals in their chosen field.
“Everyone is there to network, to connect and/ or reconnect with other professionals,” she said. “So it’s easy to meet people.”
Her advice to students is to be outgoing and to introduce themselves.
“Walking up to someone else who is standing by themselves or in a party of three is easier than joining a group of two,” Connolly McCusker said. “Don’t forget the person’s name. If you are bad with names, repeat it.”
She also advises exchanging business cards and wearing business attire.
“Mingle,” Connolly McCusker said. “Don’t monopolize one person’s attention, and don’t let someone monopolize yours – unless it’s the hiring manager of your No. 1 company.”