I am writing this as a newly minted alumnus of Bayer's West Haven Research Center (aka, the "BRC"). As you may have heard, almost all of Bayer's researchers in West Haven spent their last day with the company on January 31st, 2007, with a small crew remaining for a little while longer to complete the shutdown of the facilities and the transfer of equipment and materials to Bayer AG in Germany.
While the shutdown is a sad event for the hundreds of individuals who were affected, it has been gratifying to watch the alumni community come together and support each other by sharing job leads, references, and also simply by sharing encouragement. We've launched some online resources to help everyone keep in touch and to keep supporting each other now that we are starting to disperse.
First, we've set up a private, members-only Yahoo! Discussion Group and E-Mail List for West Haven BRC alums. Now approaching three hundred members, the Yahoo group is a great way to stay up to date with contact info, alumni news, networking, and industry tips. Keep in mind, however, that the group is only open to individuals who were affiliated with Bayer Research, with a particular emphasis on people who worked in West Haven or those who worked elsewhere but collaborated closely with West Haven staff. More details are available at the Yahoo site. Our colleagues at Bayer/Berlex's Richmond, CA facility also were affected by Bayer's restructuring, and they have created a similar "Beyond Berlex" Yahoo group.
Next, we've launched a public website for alumni of the Bayer Research Community at BRCalums.org. This site will provide public information about alumni events, photos from the "BRC alumni archives," job search tools, and more. If you are trying to reconnect with West Haven or Richmond alums, the brcalums.org site is a good place to start. If you would like to contribute articles, photos, or other information to the site, please contact the site moderators at brc_alums at yahoo.com.
Last, but not least, we've created the "Bayer/Berlex Research Community Alumni" group on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a very useful social networking tool, and it is particularly handy for keeping track of people if they move to new companies, etc.
Update: April 2007 - Chemical & Engineering News mentioned the BRC websites in a article about recent industry dislocation. For more info, please see the article "Pharmaceutical Diaspora" at BRCalums.org.