Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

OTC 2016: Why Houston was a game changer for Aberdeen firm

OTV 2016
City Hall

Houston. The Bayou City, the USA’S fourth largest city with a population of 5.9 million, energy capital of the world, home of Nasa and the world’s largest medical centre. The statistics are amazing, breath-taking and inspiring – but they could also seem daunting to a Scottish firm looking to internationalise.     

Like Aberdeen, Houston is an entrepreneurial city in my opinion – it really is a place where anything is possible and it’s what you make of it.

Because Granite PR and its associated projects had become very well known for a mixture of public relations, events and networking, I often asked myself how long it would take to grow our Houston network to become like the we had developed back home. I first landed in Houston in December 2011 and now, just over four years later, I can probably answer that with the birth of our well-known Aberdeen-Houston Gateway which is now four years old. In addition, we now have a large cluster of clients – some in Houston looking to grow internationally and help Scottish firms into Houston, and a large number in Scotland looking to grow internationally.

In my experience, it does not matter how much an oil and gas or energy-related client has downsized in the current lower oil price. Most have been very clever and strategic to leave a sizeable percentage of the workforce and offices in Houston because of the excellent global networks the city provides to grow again when prices rise. We are already seeing evidence of this with prices rising from $28 in January to almost $50 now.

Granite PR and the Aberdeen-Houston Gateway are part of this year’s SDI Scottish Development International Scottish Pavilion at OTC, an excellent example of where the government helps smaller local firms globalise, showcase and enter new markets.

During events such as OTC, many of us get invited to more events than we can manage to attend but in all cases we see both communities with a love of the other city and it really is true that special relationship between Houston and Aberdeen, and the USA and UK, is very much alive, well and flourishing.

It’s very normal to sit in Houston with someone who has flown in from Dubai, discuss Aberdeen in Houston and chat through Canada, Perth Australia and Cape Town in one conversation – meetings can be very cosmopolitan. Meetings tend to also involve more food than you can handle (though all delicious!) and a strong focus of getting things done. Decisions are made very quickly and emails are answered quicker than anywhere else I know!

In my opinion, however, the Houston market is one which needs to be explored in person and if you want to succeed in the city you have to keep making regular trips there.

So as a proud Scot who very much regards Aberdeen as home, I propose a toast to Houston my adopted second home which has changed my business and family life forever and will forever be a part of it.

Brett Jackson is Founder and Managing Director of Granite PR. Brett is also Founder of the popular Aberdeen-Houston Gateway and Aberdeen-Norway Gateway. He is the current chairman of the Grampian Houston Association, a member of the British-American Business Council and the Norwegian British Chamber of Commerce and a committee member of the Energy Institute in Aberdeen.  

Recommended for you

More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts