BBC America names Gary Clementson British Expat of the Month

It may be Brit actors and singers who hit the headlines when they come stateside, but the majority of expats in the country are here for less glamorous reasons — the vast number of enterprises that come under the umbrella of “business.”

Mind the Gap readers have read about Tony Freeman, a Brit working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or Lisa Powers, a Brit running a famous pub in Santa Monica, but with around a million people from the U.K. working in the U.S., they can be found in every area — especially banking, life sciences, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing.

But how do you make those connections, whether you’re a multinational or an entrepreneur? To get your idea to a North American audience, or your idea to a university in the U.K. that’s researching the same subject? Or find out about visas, taxes and regulations if you go over the pond? Or any of the other countless questions that might apply to your particular skill set, product or idea?

The British-American Business Council (BABC) is the largest transatlantic business network, with 23 chapters — and about 2,500 members — across most of the major business regions in the U.S. and U.K. They can be found in Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C., but also in Atlanta, Cleveland, Houston and maybe the most unusually named of the group, the Triangle chapter, which is named after the geography of the three major cities of Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

Just about to celebrate its first anniversary and already boasting 120 members, it too has the goal of linking local businesses with other BABC’s around the country and their counterparts in the U.K. This is done through post-graduate study and research, lectures, events, linking up with Departments of Commerce, Trade and Industry and associated organizations in both countries, and of course there’s also plenty of good old-fashioned networking to promote and improve trade between the regions and the countries. Meetings are bi-monthly, with networking events taking place every four months.

Gary Clementson is a Brit born in North Shields, near Newcastle, and he works a day job as a financial advisor with Merrill Edge/Bank of America, though he also has the voluntary post of Membership Director for the Triangle BABC. He pitches the BABC to businesses in the region who are looking to plug in to BABC’s local and national network, and began his stay in the U.S. like many others still do today: “I moved to the U.S. in 1982 to do my graduate work in NY, and it was a big culture shock back then. The food was wonderful, but it was really difficult to get good beer – the only English brew available then was Watney’s Red Barrel — so I had to drink American beer!”

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