Hallam-ICS held our first alumni gathering recently, bringing together nearly 60 former and current Hallam-ICS employees for an evening. It was a night filled with warm embraces, reminiscing, reconnecting and lots of laughter.
I’m not really sure what the original inspiration was to host an alumni event. As a company, we have stayed in touch with many former employees through the years. Several have become clients, others have “boomeranged” back to Hallam-ICS as employees. But, there are many who have moved on and we’ve lost contact with. When it was first suggested that we try to arrange a gathering, I reached out to a few folks to see if they’d be interested and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
We did a little research and learned that alumni networks are very commonplace in industry, particularly for large companies. A recent article about alumni networks from the Society for Human Resource Management states that:
Indeed, ex-employees can be a treasure trove of brand ambassadors, potential clients, future business partners and top-notch rehires. Much like college administrators who enthusiastically welcome former students back to their campus community, HR leaders and managers are reaching out to individuals who left their jobs for any number of reasons, excluding, of course, for poor performance or policy violations. In doing so, many organizations are finding lasting benefits in these boosted ties.
The Wall Street Journal also recently published an article titled Companies Tap Alumni for New Business and New Workers. It goes on to describe why many big companies have alumni networks:
Big consulting firms like McKinsey & Co. and Ernst & Young LLP for years have kept tabs on former workers as a talent pool, as well as a source of new business and candidate referrals.
While there may be sound business reasons and an “ROI” for bringing people together, those motivations were not even on our radar as we thought about planning the event. We simply wanted to provide an opportunity for old friends to meet and reconnect with one another. No presentations, no speeches, no promotions. Just a chance to talk, enjoy a drink and share stories.
We weren’t sure how this would be received, but after the evite went out, we immediately started to get responses (both those who could attend and those who could not) that gave us an idea that this was going to be fun:
What a fantastic idea! Thank you for hosting and I can’t wait to see everyone!
Looking forward to it!
So grateful to be invited and so sad not to be able to attend! Have fun!
As folks began to arrive, the genuine appreciation to see so many former colleagues and long-time friends was evident. While we have aged (the name tags helped!), our common bond of working together was strong. One attendee shared with me that he learned how important it is to truly like the people you work with, as we spend such a large part of our lives with our colleagues.
We had scheduled the space for 5 pm – 7 pm, but we were all enjoying ourselves so much that the crowd didn’t start to thin until around 7:45 pm (when the bar closed) and the last group headed out at around 8:30 pm.
Thank you to all who attended. It was wonderful to see you and to learn more about where your life’s journey has taken you these past years. I am always amazed at the quality of people that we have been fortunate enough to join us at Hallam-ICS. No matter where we go, we will always remain part of the Hallam community!
Hello old friend,
It's really good to see you once again.
Hello old friend,
It's really good to see you once again
About the author
Keith is a native Vermonter who has lived and worked in Vermont for the past 50 years. He is a graduate from the University of Vermont with a BSEE and an MBA. He joined Hallam-ICS in 1988 after graduating from college and has served in numerous positions for the company over his 30 years of employment, including President and CEO since 2001.
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Hallam-ICS is an engineering and automation company that designs MEP systems for facilities and plants, engineers control and automation solutions, and ensures safety and regulatory compliance through arc flash studies, commissioning, and validation. Our offices are located in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and North Carolina and our projects take us world-wide.