For those unfamiliar with the origin of Col Gateway, let’s first take a drive—a drive along Route 175 near the Interstate 95 junction. Unless a Howard County resident, or a frequent commuter, one might mistake the abbreviation of a few particular signs. Positioned along grassy knolls, the signs read: “Col Gateway Dr.” A common abridging for the military ranking of “Colonel,” this here is a curtailing for “Columbia.” It took some time, but the “wouldn’t it be funny if…” soon turned into a tangible character, a Twitter campaign, and eventually a viral video and feature in the Baltimore Sun.
It was in the fall of 2014 that the Colonel, donned in his period appropriate garb, staked his claim in unifying the nearly 12,000 professionals working within the corporate community along Columbia Gateway Drive. He trudged along the medians, with the local waterfowl in tow, and cried out to his allies: “Comrades, unite with me in creating the most wondrous of communities within Howard County!” And the people answered.
With enough attendees to form a small hamlet, the Colonel’s first happy hour event at Aida’s Bistro and Wine Bar was such a success that the Colonel soon realized the mission he had undertaken was far too daunting for just one man to carry—it was time to form a council, an elite band of fellow citizens committed to the idea of Gateway community. A group of notable figures was formed with representation from ADG Creative, HCEDA, COPT, Bay Bank, and many others. The name of their merry band to be knows as The Colonel’s Council.
Congregating at the end of 2015, and again in February, the group discussed the need, and desire, for an implementation of organized community initiatives within the Gateway. A sprawling 630-acre area within Howard County that continues to grow and substantially impact the economy, all were in agreement that the desire for connecting and networking amongst professionals was present, but, due to the size of the community, many find it difficult to know who their neighbors are—and where to begin in getting to know them. (All of this discussed over a lovely spread of cheese, cured meat and the Colonel’s finest port, of course.)
Last week, the culmination of the council’s efforts came to fruition at the Columbia Gateway Professional’s Networking Happy Hour at Aida Bistro and Wine Bar. Representing an array of local businesses and services, the Colonel was most pleased with the exuberant turnout as he was thrilled to connect, and show off, his new epaulettes and rucksack with his compatriots —and to nibble on a few of those flash-fried rock shrimp that he finds most delicious!
So, what’s next? How can you get involved if you work on Columbia Gateway?
- Follow the Colonel on Twitter and Facebook (and follow his friends)
- Watch ADG’s Facebook and Twitter for events
- Join the Columbia Gateway Drive Professionals LinkedIn page
- Attend COPT’s Open House at the new CIRQL space on May 12th
- Party at the September 2016 Talent Fair & Food Truck Round-up
- Use the #LovetheGateway hashtag on Twitter
So…will you join us in connecting the Gateway? Check out some photos from last week’s event on the Colonel’s Facebook and spread the word!