A posting to the Middle East was the making of Aberdeen businesswoman Jo McIntosh.
Ms McIntosh spent time in the region while working as a consultancy manager with Peak Group, later acquired by AGR Group, and SPD, now fully rebranded as Petrofac.
She has had a varied career, starting off in finance before moving onto oil and gas, latterly with Zenith Energy and Brunel.
Ms McIntosh said she was surprised by the range of opportunities which have come her way since she “fell into” the oil and gas industry.
She said she hasn’t felt hindered by being a woman: “I believe industry has moved on a lot. Barriers are certainly not something I’ve come across.
“Working in the Middle East was more of a surprise. Being called Jo, they expect to see a man a lot of the time.
“You have to be aware culturally and that is challenging, but I think that posting was the making of me. Once I got the respect and trust it paid dividends.
“It was a fantastic learning curve. Going to the Middle East and winning contracts helped hone my skills.”
Ms McIntosh’s current employer, Aberdeenshire video production business Fennel Media, is also having some success on the contracts front.
Fennel, based near Inverurie, has been awarded contracts worth £50,000 with energy sector clients since the start of 2018. The new projects are expected to drive turnover at Fennel Media to more than £250,000 for the year to June 30, 2018, up from £130,280 the previous financial year.
The business, which provides a range of aerial photography, videography and animation services, believes it can increase turnover to £500,000 by mid-2019.
Ms McIntosh joined the company in June 2016 after a “chance meeting”. The timing turned out to be perfect.
She said: “The downturn has been opportune for us because the bubble we were all in burst. Companies weren’t used to marketing themselves and their products. I think the oil industry recognised the need to do things differently – maybe not shout about themselves, but get information out there to the market.”
She said the company had grown quicker than expected and had recently added another team member.
Ms McIntosh said the company spent a lot of time doing due diligence to find out what a client does before meeting them.
She also said Fennel helped bust industry jargon by working with clients to script their message.
“It can be hard to get away from jargon – companies get so caught up in what they’re about,” she said. “We need to bring it down to layman terms – say what companies do and why their clients might be interested.”