Can you tell us something about your company?
Boskalis is a leading global marine contractor and services provider operating in the offshore energy, dredging, maritime infrastructure and maritime services sectors. We offer our clients creative and comprehensive solutions focused on safety, reliability and environmental sustainability in areas including the development, construction, inspection, repair and maintenance, and decommissioning of offshore and onshore energy production facilities in 90 countries spanning 6 continents. Working amongst 10,7000 dedicated professionals, commissioning our 900 specialized vessels, and cross-promoting our strategic business partnerships, I certainly maintain a sense of intrigue and variety. Boskalis has the capability and stability to offer clients a unique innovative approach to a breadth of maritime related activities, in which I specialize as a Commercial Manager of Logistical Management in the Offshore Energy cluster. A position I’ve held now for six years after transitioning from an engineering role for three years prior.
Why did your company choose Texas?
Texas, specifically Houston, is well regarded as the international hub for oil, gas, and renewables. All major players in these industries are based out of or at minimum have a presence in Houston. The city offers opportunities to connect with other global leaders encouraging expansion to your business portfolio. It was not only strategic, but a necessary decision for Boskalis to be known in the market here. Through the acquisition of Dockwise and Smit Salvage, Boskalis has been established here for over 35 years.
What Kind of advice can you give to Dutch entrepreneurs who want to do business in Texas?
Compared to European standards, business dealings can be done with a bit less formality. While the context and seriousness of the dealings remain true, the aesthetic and location are more casual. Attire, for example, is not restricted to dresses, suits, and ties. Of course, be mindful of the specifics of the occasion and dress accordingly. But general rule of thumb is business casual is completely acceptable. As for location, look beyond the boardroom. Texans like to enjoy their time and have fun every chance they get! Expand your meetings to include lunch at a local, or, better yet, new restaurant ( and there are seemingly endless options to choose from) or invite a prospective client to have drinks at a gastropub or beer garden in a posh part of town. Houstonians love their local sports teams and annual events like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, too. Take a client to a college or professional sports game. Buy some cowboy boots and watch the rodeo inside a box suite at one of the many parties held. One of the best networking opportunities here is the BBQ Cook-Off at the end of February before the month-long rodeo starts. In short, business is done by connecting through a shared experience. Adjusting your approach and capitalizing on the large network of Dutch expats here, you’ll be well on your way to creating new horizons for yourself and making a mark for your business in this town.