I didn't network much actually. Roughly one or two weeks prior to the march hiring panels I scheduled a tour of ZMP and also scheduled a meeting with the ATM (K.N.) at ZMP. He said he "couldn't do much" for me but that also means he didn't say he couldn't do anything. Who knows if it helped or not but I didn't speak with him before Nov 2011 panels and I was passed over.
I'm not sure what you mean by references though. I don't think I have any. I did put down names and phone numbers of previous bosses/managers on my application where it asked for them. I don't have any friends or relatives working in A.T.C. at the moment. Not sure if that helps at all but feel free to ask any other questions you may have.