After broadening its business horizons here in Scotland, find out why US firm, Abrado, has never looked back and continues to think of Scotland as its home away from home.
Expanding your company from Scotland is often only limited by your imagination. But seeing Scotland is believing in Scotland. A weakness for whisky, a love of its scenery and a first Scottish rugby experience sweetened the deal for Kevin Rice to set up a base here.
He helped move his Texan business to Aberdeen to tap into a specialist market across Europe and out to the Middle East.
As the CEO of Abrado Wellbore Services, his firm specialises in ‘plug abandonment’ or, in simple terms, decommissioning oil and gas wells to help ensure they are safe and secure after their working life. Abrado offer the tools and technology to assist operators in the final stages of the well life.
“I remember one of the first weekends when I ventured outside Aberdeen. I took a drive and found there was a whisky festival going on at a local town that I was completely unaware of. I spent a fantastic afternoon sampling some of the finest Scotland has to offer.”
His company’s foray into Scotland traces its roots back to a ‘business reccy’ one chilly November when he arrived in Aberdeen faced with the daunting challenge of driving on the wrong side of the road.
He soon considered Scotland to be the perfect location to serve Europe and the whole eastern hemisphere from outside of the States – a ‘natural fit’ for what the company was looking for.
Abrado was also attracted to Scotland because of the willingness of the Scottish people to do ‘whatever it takes’ to get the job done.
“Although Scotland is a small country, it offers a lot of open space and it doesn't take long for you to get out of the city and into a really beautiful green space. You can really enjoy the scenery – and that's not always what you get in some of the bigger cities in the US.”
From its firm granite foundation, Aberdeen provided the best lauchpad for Abrado to build its business away from the US to markets full of eastern promise. And the even better news? Kevin says that his company’s move to Scotland was ‘pretty seamless’.
Working hard so the business could spread its wings also meant playing hard.
“During the first months of being here, I watched Scotland play rugby at Murrayfield, a completely new experience to me. I had to have someone beside me to explain the rules, but I found the crowd, the energy and the excitement to be fantastic.”
Running with a new business venture also matches Kevin’s pursuits outside work. Literally. He loves the Aberdeen area for its wonderful countryside to go running along the Deeside Way, and to train for marathons, as well as the area’s stunning surroundings to pursue his other activity: hiking.
Ultimately, Scotland has provided the company and its employees with an incredible work / life balance – and the business is putting its best foot forwards from here. Kevin says that customer response has so far been very strong, which will open doors for some ‘pretty amazing’ growth from Scotland.
“I would say that if you're considering an investment then Scotland is a fantastic place to find people. And as a location to build a business. It can really grow your company way further than wherever you've started in a place like the US.”
Now established in Scotland, Abrado reports that it has seen an uptake in its market. And it has been able to rise to this challenge thanks to the firm’s strong sales, operations and other divisions – all fuelled by excellent local talent which perfectly suits its needs.
Kevin also believes the help it received from the Scottish Government and agencies like Scottish Development International made it a ‘super easy transition’ to move into its place in Aberdeen.