Skip to main content

Alan Mackie is vice president of AEL Americas Inc. / COPYRIGHT, 2009Fueled largely by the energy boom, Houston is continuing to attract and welcome an increasing number of U.K. companies that are anxious to add the Bayou City to their global footprint.

This is music to the ears of Becci Himes, executive director of the British-American Business Council(BABC) Houston, a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to promoting and providing support for businesses in the British American business community in Texas.

In a recent interview, Himes said the largest influx of U.K. companies are coming from Houston's sister city, Aberdeen, Scotland.

"Aberdeen is a city full of engineers, and they're very well-versed in oil and gas, because that's what they do there. Houston is the oil and gas capital, so it just makes sense for them to have a presence here. They are beginning to learn that to do business with American companies, that they really need to have that personal presence in the city. Americans like to be face-to-face with the people that they are working with and want to know them and have a relationship with them," Himes said.

One such company is AEL Specialist Electrical Distributors, a leading supplier of electrical equipment to both the onshore and offshore oil and gas industry. AEL expanded into Houston from Aberdeen in May.

Alan Mackie is vice president of AEL Americas Inc . When asked what precipitated his company's decision to open an office in Houston, he said, "We have been dealing with companies in the U.S. market for the past 10 years, reacting to IEC inquiries. Therefore, we knew there was a market there for us to develop relations with the end users and supply companies to enable them to reduce their electrical spending on the IEC products at a local level. The most important aspect for us was to show current and prospective customers that we were willing to invest our time and money in the local market rather than just do business as normal from the U.K."