Hi, I’m Justine Kelly, and I’m an international expansion and economic development professional working at SDI’s San Jose office. I provide support for West Coast companies that are looking to do business in Scotland, primarily in the technology sector and focusing on areas like enterprise software, mobile and e-commerce.
I started working at SDI in 2009 after completing my BA in economics, and since then I’ve worked with companies in a range of industries, including software, photonics, aerospace, the creative industries, life sciences, chemical sciences and financial services.
There’s not really one typical day at the office for me. I could be at my desk answering emails, attending trade shows or conferences, or travelling to meet companies that are thinking about expanding into Europe. Here’s how I recently spent a day in Portland:
I get a very early morning start, departing San Jose for the 1.5 hour flight to Portland, with no rest once I arrive – I’ve got four great meetings lined up for a full day. All of the companies I’m meeting are looking at expansion opportunities in Europe.
Now that I’ve arrived in Portland, I’m about to head off to my first meeting of the day, which is actually in Beaverton, about 25-30 minutes outside of downtown. Fortunately, it’s a sunny day in Oregon.
My first meeting in Beaverton has finished and it went very well. I spoke to a tech company that is looking to set up an office in Europe for the first time, and Scotland seems to be the perfect fit for them. This was my second meeting with the company – next step is for the CEO to plan a visit in the fall. Now I’m off to southwest Portland for my next meeting.
My next meeting is with another tech start-up looking at expanding to Europe for the first time. I meet with the CEO and a member of the engineering team and get a good overview of their product – a really innovative piece of technology. I’m looking forward to following up on next steps once I’m back in San Jose.
A late lunch - with such a busy day, it’s hard to find time to fit in a bite to eat. I go for a smoothie for something quick before my next meeting in downtown Portland.
My next meeting is in the beautiful Pearl District. Lots of companies have set up their corporate offices here in recent years to attract the talent they need – a similar reason to why companies set up in Scotland.
My meeting is another good one, speaking to a company that has already begun its expansion to the UK and is looking ahead to further growth with engineering functions in future. Scotland is a great option for this given the high quality computer science graduates coming out of Scottish universities. I have a bit of downtime now before my last meeting of the day.
My last meeting is catching up with a company I’ve had several conversations with already. Like the last company I met with, it’s also exploring further UK expansion for customer support and potential development functions.
It’s good to catch up with the CEO as my last meeting of the day. Tomorrow I have a networking event, where I’ll hopefully meet many more companies, before heading back to San Jose.
Hi, I’m Pendy Pendyala, and I'm focused on helping US companies in tech sectors such as big data, analytics, AI and space expand to Scotland to take advantage of the phenomenal talent and tech ecosystem there.
I started working at SDI in early 2016 after several years in the corporate world leading global high tech businesses ranging from 30 million USD to 8 billion USD. I also had a brief stint in academia, leading the International MBA program at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, a program that I am an alumnus of.
My day at work varies quite a bit, but here is a snapshot of some of the activities that happen during the course a day in San Jose:
I get a jump on traffic by starting a little early to be in office for calls that start at 8am with Scotland.
From 8am to 9am is the time we overlap with the workday in Scotland (4pm to 5pm) and our calls with the mother ship happen at this time. Here I am on a call with my colleagues in Glasgow and representatives from The Data Lab in Edinburgh.
I’m on the road driving to Mountain View for a meeting with a company in the exciting field of autonomous vehicles. If my car was equipped with their technology, I could be working or catching up on some sleep.
I meet with the vehicle company, including a visit to their lab with a car equipped with their technology for autonomous operation. During my next visit they will give me a ride in one the cars.
I have a fortnightly Skype call with David Richardson, the director of partnerships at the School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh. We’re collaborating with them on showcasing Scotland’s strengths in research and commercialization of research to Silicon Valley based companies.
Discuss ways to refine our target list of the top 100 AI companies published by CB Insights with my colleague Louise.
I have a call with a prospect in the space sector, introduced to me by one of the venture capital firms that recently invested in their Series A round. I’m pacing up and down the conference room while learning about their growth plans and needs and sharing how they could benefit by setting up operations in Scotland.
I’m on my way to attend an event hosted by C100, a Canadian networking group hosting Canadian start-ups visiting Silicon Valley. I’m helping out our Canadian colleagues by talking to those start-ups about how they can accelerate growth by expanding to Scotland.
Attend a Silicon Valley Forum event on 3D printing at Jabil’s Blue Sky Innovation Center. It's a great chance to listen to interesting presentations by HP and Carbon and witness a great display of Jabil’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, including robotics and 3D printing.
It‘s also a good opportunity to network with attendees, the presenters and the hosts to promote the benefits of expanding to Scotland.
Want to chat with Justine and Pendy about opportunities for your company in Scotland? Call them on +1 408 436 5520 or fill in our contact us form.
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