Published in thebusiness – Nov 2017

Granite PR founder and managing director, Brett Jackson, says the best way to work together is to make it last

The dictionary definition tells us that to collaborate means to “work with another on a project”.

In my experience, the best collaborative efforts are those that look beyond an individual project to a more rounded, long-term relationship.

Since Granite PR was founded almost a decade ago, finding ways of working with clients, associates, friends and supporters to achieve common goals has been of the utmost importance.

Sitting down with others to talk through mutual aims, ambitions and dreams is always time well spent and often sows a seed which has the potential to become a fruitful alliance.

One of the most important things you need to have is patience. Some collaborative efforts will have an immediate return and others will continue to grow for many years and in many directions.

At Granite PR, we are very fortunate to have numerous alliances both at home and overseas.

One excellent example is Scottish-American software and energy company Ziyen Inc.

Founded last year in San Diego, California, by Inverness-born Alastair Caithness, Ziyen develops cutting-edge procurement software to identify clients with both government and private contracts from a specific industry.

The company’s long-standing aim is to develop streamlined technology and facilitate the process by which customers can access procurement information and contracts on a global scale.

In 2017, Ziyen diversified to create a specialist energy division, Ziyen Energy, which aims to produce oil in the US with advanced extraction methods and technology implemented and guided by career experts in the oil and gas industry.

The tech business is on track to be listed on the Nasdaq stock market in early 2018 – pending approval of an initial public offering.

While Ziyen is a relatively new business, my relationship with Alastair goes back many years and we have worked on a wide variety of projects together in that time.

Our latest collaboration is the result of us sitting together and learning about each other’s businesses and where each is headed – and, crucially, how we can help each other on the journey.

As well as a satellite office in Inverness, Ziyen has recently announced a move to new office premises in Aberdeen as plans for international growth in the oil and gas industry gather pace.

The move to the new facility at Aberdeen Innovation Park, in Balgownie Drive, follows the recent acquisition of the firm’s first oil lease in Indiana, mid-west US, which has reserves worth more than $36million (£27.3million).

Ziyen Energy is run by Shane Fraser, who has 25 years’ experience working with a major operator in the North Sea and Syria.

The multimillion-dollar oil lease deal allows Ziyen to trade as a petroleum company, rather than as a software firm – making the company more attractive to potential investors and shareholders, while simultaneously aiding expansion in the US energy market.

This corporate evolution, exploration of new markets and geographic diversity are very much in step with Granite PR’s own flexible, adaptable approach to business, so we will be working very closely with each other on both sides of the Atlantic to find ways of continuing to collaborate, innovate and accompany each other on the corporate journey.

As we prepare to help welcome Ziyen to Aberdeen and Scotland, we look forward to their help in showing us what lies in store in “the Golden State of California and beyond, and hope that the spirit of long-term collaboration will continue to bring benefits to all.