A Scot Across the Pond http://markisutherland.com Mark I Sutherland Tue, 04 Oct 2022 18:38:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.2.2 72429925 Promoting Missouri to a Global Business Audience http://markisutherland.com/2022/10/promoting-missouri-to-a-global-business-audience/ Tue, 04 Oct 2022 18:38:48 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=2036 [...]]]>

Recently, I had the privilege to sit down with NPR’s Tom Wilmer to discuss Missouri, and one of my favorite places – Missouri wine country in the heart of the Ozark Highlands.


The Times of London: St. Louis Out to Prove That It’s Everyone’s Cup of Tea http://markisutherland.com/2022/08/the-times-of-london-st-louis-out-to-prove-that-its-everyones-cup-of-tea/ Tue, 30 Aug 2022 17:46:00 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=2011 [...]]]>

Down the road Mark Sutherland, a veteran British expat who has the task of drumming up business for the state as chief marketing officer for its Missouri Partnership development organization… pointed to Missouri’s low corporate taxes and cost of living, which were “advantages when things get a little tight”.

The local economy spans agriculture to aerospace and its leaders are “aggressively pursuing” opportunities for new businesses to settle. “The majority of people outside the Midwest have no idea what’s in the Midwest,” Sutherland said, but he is working on it. 

His polo shirt, embroidered with the words British Hon Consul, advertises his other role. As one of a dozen or so voluntary UK consuls in the United States, he has sought to offer a “concierge service” in Missouri to companies eyeing a transatlantic outpost.

Britain is searching for its own opportunities in Missouri. Government officials are looking to strike a state-level pact that ministers in Westminster promise will help to reduce barriers for business. Asked about discussions over a memorandum of understanding, the Department for International Trade said it was “keen to build on” those already announced with Indiana and North Carolina and planned to sign more “by the end of this year”.

However, such deals “don’t come quickly”, Sutherland warned. He suggested that a narrower mutual recognition agreement, paving the way for reciprocity of qualifications for workers such as engineers, may be finalized before a broader memorandum of understanding.

As businesses in Missouri look to navigate an economic slowdown, he emphasized the importance of ensuring that such informal pacts — often dismissed as insubstantial — actually have tangible benefits.

“You’ve got to have people that are willing to drive it forward and be committed to making sure that it’s not just a nice signing,” he said. “That it actually does make a difference for both the particular state and the United Kingdom.”

You can read the full article from The Times here.

The Power of In-Person as We Emerge from a Pandemic http://markisutherland.com/2022/04/the-power-of-in-person-as-we-emerge-from-a-pandemic/ Thu, 21 Apr 2022 17:53:00 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=2015 [...]]]>

As the world emerges from lockdown and international travel begins to ramp up, one key question arising in the minds of many is: Do we really need to meet in person again?

I contend: We absolutely do.

In September of last year, I took advantage of some newly opened travel options to the U.K. from the U.S. For the first time in months, I hopped on a flight in St. Louis, Missouri, and headed across the pond to my old stomping grounds. I was speaking at London Tech Week, a gathering of innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world meeting in-person and virtually in London.

At that time, the U.K. was just emerging from its most recent shutdown, and the atmosphere was electric. People wanted to connect. They wanted to discuss their visions to enter international markets. They wanted to partner. And they wanted to socialize. It was like they had just been released from their cages and they wanted to rapidly reconnect with humanity.

Fast forward to March 2022 when my next international opportunity for a hop across the pond occurred. I was invited to join Missouri’s Governor Michael Parson as part of his trade mission delegation to Ireland and the U.K.

As the trip progressed, the power of in-person again grew apparent. Projects were started. Investments were committed. Plans for future collaboration were espoused. Relationships were started and strengthened.

Our colleagues told us the fact that we took the time to visit in person spoke volumes about how much we value the partnerships we have with organizations and people in those two countries and how much we prioritize building new ones. Missouri and the U.K. are already again partnering in agtech, innovation, financial services and geospatial.

The in-person presence of the Governor and other elected officials and leaders accelerated things forward in dynamic ways. Excitement about more collaborative opportunities between the Missouri and U.K. governments took on renewed importance.

The world is opening up again. The power of direct engagement remains a key catalyst in the world of communication, marketing, business, academia, research and diplomacy. My organization saw that in Ireland and the U.K.—all because we decided to show up in person.

Check out the full Forbes article here.

Sitting Down with The European to Discuss Missouri’s Business Strengths http://markisutherland.com/2022/03/sitting-down-with-the-european-to-discuss-missouris-business-strengths/ Wed, 23 Mar 2022 17:58:00 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=2018 [...]]]>

Mark Sutherland recently sat down for a one-on-one interview with The European to discuss Missouri’s business strengths, and how companies can make their entry into the U.S. market successful.

Q: First, before we get into it, what is so great about Missouri

A: I love it. It is my home; I have been there for 33 years. Phenomenal quality of life… we’ve got professional sports teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs who won the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. We’ve got two Major League Baseball teams that you can enjoy, one in St. Louis, the other in Kansas City. Professional ice hockey with the St. Louis Blues. And we already have one MLS team in the Kansas City region, and we are getting another team next year in the St. Louis region.

And if you are into theater, or culture, there is every aspect of it. From things like Branson, which is the live music capital of the world, to Hannibal and the history of Tom Sawyer, and everything in between. It really is a phenomenal state to be in.

Q: It sounds like a great place to visit, what about for business? Tell me about the partnership aspect of Missouri Partnership, and how you support businesses who are invested in your state.

A: Think of us as a concierge service. A company is looking at the U.S., either for their first location in the U.S., or an expansion from another region, and our job is to provide solutions. We dig into their business, and figure out what exactly their needs are, and what are their unique goals. We then look to see if Missouri is a good location for that expansion, and then we introduce them to everyone they need to know.

Q: What is your vision for Missouri going forward?

A: Growth, and more opportunity. I am a British transplant to Missouri, didn’t know much about it before I came, and I found out that it’s an absolutely fantastic place. It’s progressive, it’s international, it’s a surprise to many, many people. And so, my vision is for more people to be aware of that, especially on the business side. Because that creates jobs, it creates partnerships.

And we have great partnerships with companies all around the world, even on the academic and R&D side of things. Companies like Agri-TechE in Cambridge, where we are partnering on plant science and other aspects of agritech.

So, my vision is for people to see the Missouri that I know, realize there is phenomenal opportunity, especially on the business side, and then to come visit. We are going to work with you to make sure you are successful in the U.S. market, and we will proudly brag about that success going forward.

Check out the full interview with our CMO in the video above.

An Expat’s Advice on Relationship-Building for Business Success http://markisutherland.com/2022/03/an-expats-advice-on-relationship-building-for-business-success/ Thu, 03 Mar 2022 18:58:00 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=2022 [...]]]>

Mark Sutherland, recently wrote an article for Forbes titled “From London to Missouri: An Expat’s Advice on Relationship-Building for Business Success.” Check out the full article here.

The most potent innovation occurs when diverse groups of people come together to pursue shared goals. It sounds like a cliché, but I know this to be true from experience. About 10 years ago, I was volunteering with the St. Louis Scottish Games and looking for ways to make a more significant impact on relations between the United States and the United Kingdom. So, I reached out to the then-British Consul General in Chicago. We connected, and I started helping out here and there. There weren’t any formal expectations around our professional relationship, but our joint vision for a better future set the stage for mutually beneficial collaboration.

After being appointed Her Majesty’s Honorary Consul of the U.K. for Missouri, I began working more formally with the British Consulate in Chicago, the British Embassy in Washington D.C., and the U.S. Embassy in London. That relationship-building has resulted in some extraordinary things—including bidirectional company investments, visits from military officials and British diplomats and strong partnerships in agtech, geospatial, financial services and more.

Exploring shared interests is one of my best tools in relationship-building. For instance, I’m passionate about aviation and wear aviation-related items in a business setting. This often leads to a conversation about aviation, and when I find out someone shares that passion, I like to introduce them to leading-edge, made-in-Missouri jets. I have even been able to get some people up in the air in the Missouri-built F/A-18.

Getting to know people is a great experience—and one that expands your perspective in ways you can’t even imagine. It’s been one of the greatest honors of my life to be part of the growing, vibrant U.K.–Missouri relationship, and it would not have been possible if I hadn’t taken the leap and reached out all those years ago.

Connecting Agtech in the UK and Missouri http://markisutherland.com/2022/02/connecting-agtech-in-the-uk-and-missouri/ Wed, 02 Feb 2022 19:03:00 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=2024 [...]]]>

The virtual REAP Conference 2021, held on November 10, 2021, was an excellent opportunity to take stock of the latest innovations in agriculture and what the future holds for the sector.

In Missouri, agtech is big business. Agriculture is a $94 billion industry, providing employment for more than 456,000 people.

REAP 2021 was an important networking event for Missouri. Missouri Partnership has been attending the event, which is hosted in Cambridge, England, in-person and virtually for the past three years. I attended to learn more about what’s happening in the global agtech industry and to speak during one of the sessions. I had the opportunity to share his insights on the nexus of agtech and geospatial alongside Missouri’s 39 North Agtech Innovation District and the UK’s Wyld Networks in the REAP International Café.      

Missouri is the global leader in agtech, and its reputation has attracted companies including Bayer Crop Science, BASF, KWS, Boehringer Ingelheim, Smith Seed Services, and Ostara to the state.

Why Missouri?

The benefits for the agtech industry in Missouri include:

  • Rich natural resources: including crop and livestock diversity, an abundant water supply, and excellent soil quality
  • The establishment of unique plant science and animal health clusters to further research and develop innovative technology. These are led by organizations including Danforth Plant Science CenterBayer Crop ScienceBoehringer Ingelheim, the Missouri Botanical GardenYield LabBioSTL39 North and KCADC.
  • So much agricultural product is shipped via river barge from Missouri along the Mississippi River that it is known as the “Ag Coast” of America
  • Missouri has an abundance of world-class talent to support the agtech industry, with universities offering advanced plant science degrees
  • Nearly 50% of U.S. crop and livestock production is located within 500 miles of St. Louis

Changing Times

The theme of the most recent REAP conference – ‘Changing Time(s) for Agriculture’ – fully resonates with the latest developments in Missouri’s agtech sector. 

For example, in 2021, the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources opened its first Center for Regenerative Agriculture in Columbia, MO.

The center is enhancing research, education, and extension impacts in agriculture and food systems, and creating a focal point for regenerative agriculture

Elsewhere in the state, agtech firm Benson Hill opened a new agtech innovation facility with the aim to massively expand its ability to test and develop plant-based food and ingredients products. The new 47,000 square foot research and development facility includes infrastructure to advance the company’s product development efforts. Technology inside the facility includes growth houses and chambers, additive carbon dioxide, and temperature, humidity, and lighting controls.

In Missouri, the future of agtech is happening today.

Benefits of Moving or Expanding Your Agtech Business to Missouri

There are a host of reasons why Missouri makes sense as the newest home for your agtech business.

These include:

  • An established and robust statewide agtech ecosystem
  • Opportunities to work with other industries
  • Relatively low cost of living compared to many other states
  • Centrally located, it’s easy to travel to other parts of the country
  • Missouri has the second-lowest corporate income tax rate in the U.S. and the most business-friendly tax structure
  • A large agtech talent pool ready to support your growth

From smart farming, input optimization, and precision agriculture to biologicals, breeding, green chemistry, and a fully developed agtech infrastructure, they’re all in Missouri.

Learn more about our agtech industry here. And then come visit.

NPR Visits Missouri Northeast http://markisutherland.com/2022/01/npr-visits-missouri-northeast/ Tue, 04 Jan 2022 19:09:00 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=2026 [...]]]>

Missouri Northeast is a great place for companies that are looking to grow, make, move, or connect. But don’t just take our word for it, Tom Wilmer host of the six-time award winning NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery visited the region in November 2021, and saw for himself what the region has to offer.

In the first of the eleven-part series, Tom Wilmer was able to sit down with Mark Sutherland during his visit to learn more about the work that goes in to attracting businesses to the region.

Tom Wilmer, Journeys of Discovery Podcast Host:

“Talk to us about an example of a recent homerun in attracting a business to relocate here and why.”

Mark Sutherland:

“Here in Missouri Northeast is a company called Swift Prepared Foods and they’ve invested in Missouri a couple times now in the last few years…Agriculture in Missouri is an $88 billion industry…They were looking for that distribution network and qualified workforce and ability to be successful and all that came together in Missouri Northeast.”

Check out the full conversation on the Journeys of Discovery podcast here, and stay tuned to Missouri Partnership for more coverage of Tom’s visit to Missouri Northeast.

Discussing Missouri’s Global Leadership in Agtech http://markisutherland.com/2021/11/discussing-missouris-global-leadership-in-agtech/ Mon, 08 Nov 2021 15:33:00 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=2007 Missouri Partnership will be taking part in the International Café at REAP 2021, and Mark Sutherland, CMO of Missouri Partnership, recently sat down with Agri-TechE to discuss [...]]]>

Missouri Partnership will be taking part in the International Café at REAP 2021, and Mark Sutherland, CMO of Missouri Partnership, recently sat down with Agri-TechE to discuss the event. 

Q: Agri-TechE members have been involved in a number of missions, and since that last one there has been a change of administration in the U.S. – have there been any interesting developments?

There have been a number of changes at the national level, but very few changes at the state level. And this is a good thing. Missouri has been focused on agritech partnerships for years, including sustainability and climate change, and ensuring precision farming can provide the tools, insights and data needed to ensure we can provide the food, fuel and fiber for a growing population while ensuring we can protect the environment for future generations.

Missouri has also had an international focus for years, as exhibited in the recent agritech missions from Missouri to the UK and from Cambridge to Missouri. Organizations and companies from across Missouri are keen to build more connections across academia, R&D, commercial and governmental areas of focus.

Net Zero is becoming increasingly important for agrifood value chains in the UK. What sort of trends are you seeing? Where do you see the opportunities developing?

One of the things many of us discovered a few years ago is the striking similarity between what happens in the UK agritech ecosystem and what happens in the Missouri agtech ecosystem.

Vertical farming, food development, precision ag and sustainability are part of the ethos in Missouri and many organizations are focused on them. Just recently, AeroFarms announced a vertical farming project in the St. Louis region in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund and the St. Louis Controlled Environment Agricultural Coalition. This new 150,000 square foot indoor vertical farm is AeroFarms’ largest to date and will increase productivity up to 390 times greater than traditional field farming, while using up to 95 percent less water and zero pesticides.

The International Cafe is a new feature of REAP – what do you want to achieve at the event?

Missouri is a state of partnerships. We work closely with numerous organizations from across the state, and have travelled with many of them to Cambridge in the past. There is a strong interest and desire to work together to ensure agriculture continues to become what the future needs it to become. And we look forward to being at REAP with our Missouri partners, and with our friends in the UK.

It is great that Missouri Partnership is a sponsor of REAP – why did you choose REAP?

The work that Agri-TechE does to build international partnerships and to provide resources to UK agritech innovators is essential to the future. We are honored to be a member of Agri-TechE and we look forward to seeing many of the people we have met before and introducing new people to the opportunities that exist between the UK and Missouri. And we are thrilled to be a sponsor of this amazing conference.

London Tech Week: How Missouri Powers the Mars Mission http://markisutherland.com/2021/09/london-tech-week-how-missouri-powers-the-mars-mission/ Wed, 15 Sep 2021 18:36:00 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=1988 Missouri Partnership CMO, Mark Sutherland, recently spoke with Ron Nowlin, SVP of Aerospace and Military Aviation at EaglePicher about all things SpaceTech on London Tech [...]]]>

Missouri Partnership CMO, Mark Sutherland, recently spoke with Ron Nowlin, SVP of Aerospace and Military Aviation at EaglePicher about all things SpaceTech on London Tech Week’s Elevating Founders podcast.

During the session, Mark and Ron discussed the level of innovation it takes to power the Mars missions, why it’s imperative to surround yourself with people smarter than you, and what it takes to build products that just cannot fail.

“EaglePicher started back in the 1920s doing battery work, and so getting into the space industry, the early batteries that were used were silver-zinc batteries that we still build today,” said Nowlin. “In fact, EaglePicher produced the batteries used in the first U.S. satellite, Explorer 1, and from there our involvement just ballooned into a lot of different missions, including the Mars missions of today.”

“The Mars missions are amazing. The latest Mars mission, the Perseverance, really felt to me like the earlier space programs of the 60s and 70s,” said Nowlin. “It is really starting to reinvigorate space and what happens there. We had 10 silver-zinc batteries that powered the launch vehicle, we had four thermal batteries that helped power the landing system, and then we have a lithium-ion battery that provides the primary power for the rover as it drives around the surface of Mars.”

Both being Missouri residents and advocates, the pair shared how the big pull of living in Missouri is the lifestyle from outdoor activities, sports, and the friendliness of the people.

“We are very nicely located in the center of some major universities, one of those being Missouri S&T,” said Nowlin. “Being able to recruit locally is really important to us, and the workforce that comes to work for us tend to stay in the area for a very long time.”

“Missouri is known for its outdoor activities. A lot of people enjoy hiking, and there are a lot of lakes in the area for people to enjoy,” said Nowlin. “But in general, the one thing that I always find about this area, is that people are always surprised at how friendly everyone is. And our customers always talk about how open and transparent everyone is in dealing with them.”

You can listen to the full podcast here.

How to Invest and Expand in the USA http://markisutherland.com/2021/08/how-to-invest-and-expand-in-the-usa/ Tue, 24 Aug 2021 18:41:00 +0000 http://markisutherland.com/?p=1992 A successful expansion or relocation is all about risk reduction and customized solutions. There are many factors and considerations in play, and aligning everything to [...]]]>

A successful expansion or relocation is all about risk reduction and customized solutions. There are many factors and considerations in play, and aligning everything to avoid setbacks and roadblocks is important.

In June, I moderated a virtual panel session entitled ‘Innovation and Opportunity in the Heart of the USA’ as part of the build-up to London Tech Week in September 2021. The session brought together several innovative leaders to discuss their experience in the heart of the USA, and to share advice on how to successfully enter the USA market. I was joined by Lisa Tamayo (CEO, Scollar), Donn Rubin (President & CEO, BioSTL), Doug Austin (Director of Product Development, EaglePicher®), and Jim McKelvey (Co-Founder, Square) to talk about the benefits they have enjoyed being in Missouri, and some considerations for businesses to move or expand to the state.

The panelists agreed that there is an abundance of partnership opportunities and a huge appetite for collaboration in Missouri, regardless of industry. There is a connected community that exists among startups, investors, and business partners, as well as a talent pool with a strong work ethic in Missouri.

At the panel session, we also touched on some considerations from the panelists leading up to their move to Missouri or entry into the USA.

One example discussed was about FinTech companies in places such as New York City and San Francisco. Consider the number of businesses there that are competing for the same space, and for the same customers. The opportunities for smaller companies to become recognized as even a medium player in their industry are slim, and getting that big break can be tough.

In states like Missouri, companies can make their investment go further when it comes to setting a physical office and paying for general cost of living. It’s also easier to meet the right people. Being home to the second-highest concentration of financial securities brokerage firms among major USA metropolitan areas, there are a lot of important people nearby. Not only will companies find it easier to engage with people, they will also be able to grow faster and be a big deal in a smaller place rather than a smaller deal in a big place.

At the panel session, the members also highlighted that the infrastructure in Missouri is one of its selling points. The culture and entertainment options are statewide, and not just in St. Louis or Kanas City. Yes, there are some world-renowned museums and championship professional sports teams in those two major cities, but there is so much more. Amazing lake lifestyles, the live music capital of the world, and hundreds of wineries, breweries and distilleries are all in Missouri. The air fare and availability of daily flights are considerations for companies where business activities such as travelling takes place often. Finding out the infrastructure available and how it supports your business needs is key.

Being in a state like Missouri can also bring further economic benefits to your organization. One of the panel members spoke about feeling unwelcomed in California due to city taxes that amounted to tens of millions of dollars. By expanding in Missouri, the company was able to spend the money they would otherwise have had to give their former home city to make their business a success.

As a conclusion to the session, the panelists emphasized the need for you to do your homework before deciding where to expand or relocate. The process of finding an ideal location will take time, and the initial investment that needs to be made to decide if a place is suitable for your company will help build confidence, familiarity and a network of community to welcome you with open arms.