Can you tell us something Bayards?
When you think of aluminum (or when you are not in the US, aluminium) you often think of beer cans, foil, airplanes or maybe the new Ford F-150 body. However, there is also a very big but lesser-known market of aluminum products, such as helicopter landing decks, mega-yacht hulls and superstructures, noise barriers and defense vehicles. All unique, high-end solutions for demanding customers. Bayards Aluminium Constructions from Nieuw-Lekkerland is an internationally renowned industry leader in this field. For over 55 years our passionate teams of experts and craftsmen have been designing, engineering, manufacturing and installing the most complex structures from aluminum, focusing on reducing both weight and maintenance (and thus costs).
Why did Bayards choose Texas?
Many of our solutions (such as helidecks, stair towers and handrails systems) are utilized on offshore oil and gas platforms and their support vessels. Houston is the undisputed global capital of the Oil and Gas industry, with all major oil companies and engineering firms concentrated in this one city.
Therefore it was only logical that Bayards opened its office in Houston 10 years ago. With our local team close to the customers we can cater to them quicker and better and, in addition, translate their local requirements to our European support teams.
Texas is also one of the leading healthcare markets, one of Bayards’ other main industries needing helipads (on top of hospitals). Recently Bayards hired two experienced US veteran pilots to specifically service this market.
What kind of advice can you give to Dutch entrepreneurs who want to do business in Texas?
Hiring the two US veterans is one of the many steps we have taken to integrate more into the US business culture. Being European surely gets you noticed, but Texans are traditional and conservative when it comes to business relations, hence they do not quickly commit to something/someone new. They are always correct and open as long as there is interest. If not, their enthusiasm drops quickly.
Therefore, perseverance and commitment to this market are essential. It takes time and dedication to prove yourself and to be accepted. But if it works, there is a huge potential.
The other advice I can give aspiring entrepreneurs is to consider the extremely high service demand, both personally and professionally. This is a 24/7 economy, people seldom have time off (no long vacations) and have a high expectation of service. From a business perspective, this means you have to work accordingly by swift and correct replies, a short turnaround and quick service, without asking too many questions! Despite the 6,5 million people in the greater Houston area, it still is a small community; so you want your company/brand to excel.
But all in all, Texas – and Houston in particular – is a fantastic place to live, work and thrive.