15 June 2013. Some days you just don’t forget. This was one of them for Jay Hine – his move to Houston, Texas. Following a brief stint in our London office, Jay packed his bags to work in the booming Oil & Gas sector in the US.
Little did he know then that he would remain in the US. “Having joined Hydrogen as a consultant in September 2011, I moved to Houston after about a year and a half. Following the Oil & Gas market crash, I was planning to return to London, or try Kuala Lumpur or Sydney. But then an opportunity came up for me to stay.”
Jay was one of the two founding members of Hydrogen’s Houston Life Sciences team, which has now grown to eight. His own team of three specialise in clinical research, biometrics and regulatory affairs, covering all the Americas, “We have placed contractors throughout the US, Canada and South America. I’ve been all over the States, from Raleigh, North Carolina to NYC and California [the team would shortly be attending the Drug Information Association (DIA) 2017 event in Chicago]."
In just over five years, Jay has progressed from consultant to senior consultant to manager. He is relishing the added responsibilities, “Since moving to Life Sciences my remit has grown, we have big dreams for the team and the office – the market here is huge, there are so many clients. Greater targets lead to greater expectations but that pushes you on to deliver. We’re excited at what the future will bring.”
‘Stuck in a bubble’
And what about working abroad? “Moving to the US has expanded my horizons, it’s opened my eyes to another culture, a different way of doing things. There are so many opportunities here and you get to meet so many interesting people, from different walks of life. I think you get stuck in a bubble in London – not enough people experience working abroad in my opinion.”
Most famous for its Space Center, Houston is the fourth biggest city in the US [over four million inhabitants]. “Although it does get a bit of a bad rap it has one of the greatest restaurant scenes in the US and there is always something to do. The Museum district is world renowned and there is always good live music ranging from Willie Nelson, Taylor Swift all the way through to U2 and Kendrick Lamar. There is no excuse not to be outside, I play football twice a week as well as a lot of golf and you can spend your evenings outside by the pool grilling and sipping Margaritas.”
“It’s a relaxed culture here compared to London, we have dress down Fridays etc. Like London, we do try to have a work-life balance as long as people are delivering,” continues Jay. “We do not micro-manage and try to empower everyone. There is no glass ceiling – you can make money but also progress your career. Americans are very open and receptive so it’s a pleasure doing business here."
As you’d expect it’s a hard-working but fun environment, “There’s a definite start-up feel and people really enjoy working here as we have a unique culture and get on with each other very well. Socialising out of work is slightly different and as we all drive to work so we do not have a Jamie’s or a Vintry we often frequent. Instead we tend to meet up at bars in local neighbourhoods, attend sporting events such as college football, the NFL and the NBA. This year we also went to the BBQ cook off at the rodeo.”
The only drawback to his US adventure is missing family and friends. “It took me a good six months to get used to things but then you realise that you are only an eight hour flight away and you can make it home when you need. People also love to come and visit as the weather is so great.”
From Lewisham, London to Houston, Texas. A unique career launchpad for Jay Hine.
Team Leader, Life Sciences