An event celebrating the business links between the north-east and Houston has marked its landmark fifth anniversary by welcoming its largest ever international delegation.
The fifth annual Aberdeen-Houston Gateway hosted an audience of 140 at its Scottish showcase lunch yesterday. The line-up of leading speakers from both sides of the Atlantic shared their experiences of UK and US markets, and examined how to further strengthen the links between the energy hubs.
Speakers from Houston included representatives of various economic development agencies in the region, including Jeffrey Blair, director of the Greater Houston Partnership; Lance LaCour, chief executive of the Katy Area Economic Development Council; Fred Welch, executive director of the Greater Conroe Economic Development Council and Gil Staley, chief executive of the Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership.
Euan Tait, the commercial director of Aberdeen’s Rovop, told the audience how the company has grown its base in the US oil and gas capital, from three employees to 20 in the last two years. Mr Tait revealed he was planning to move out there in the next three weeks.
Former Aberdonian Andy Grieve, who set up his business Hampco in Houston in 2005, outlined a number of challenges facing businesses opening operations in the Texas city, including the traffic.
“If you move to Houston you will never worry about the Haudagain roundabout again,” he quipped.
Granite PR managing director and creator of Aberdeen-Houston Gateway Brett Jackson said: “Current operating conditions mean that it has never been more important to look at diversifying and adding value, and we hope that the Aberdeen-Houston Gateway has again provided an important springboard from which to grow businesses.
“There still exists a very special relationship between Aberdeen and Houston, with both locations having firm reputations as entrepreneurial cities where, for those with the right drive and focus, anything is possible.”