09 Jul Motherwell to San Diego
Murray Learmonth is the Vice President of Engineering
of “Leardon Solutions”
1) Why did you leave Scotland?
In 1994, I was offered a great opportunity to work in Germany for GE Plastics to work on the first generation Smart Car. At that time, consultancy work was getting more difficult to find in Scotland, it made career sense to sadly leave and move to places where work was more plentiful
2) Where did you grow up and at what age did you leave Scotland?
I grew up in Motherwell and left to go to Germany when I was 28 and have been working overseas for the past 18 years.
3) What is your job/sector and how many countries have you lived in?
I am the Vice President of Engineering of Leardon Solutions, a company I co-founded in 2005, based in San Diego, California. Prior to this, I was with Hewlett Packard in San Diego, the Boeing Company in Seattle and GE Plastics in Germany.
4) Do you show pictures of the Loch Ness Monster to the locals?
Absolutely, Scotland has given the world many things and Nessie is just one of them. When I first moved overseas I had never been to Loch Ness, after being embarrassed by so many people asking me “if I had seen the monster?”…… I visited Nessie on one of my first trips back home!!!
5) Which citizenship do you have and which languages do you speak?
I am still a British citizen, as regards languages, sadly only several forms of English in a Scots/American accent with a spattering on German
6) Has living abroad changed the way you think about Scotland?
I appreciate Scotland much more than I did when I lived there. Scotland has got so many things to boast about and really attractive for people to visit and work; we don’t blow our own trumpet enough. Also, having more golf courses per head of population than any other country is the world, is just fine with me.
7) Are there any Scottish products you would like to be able to buy?
Scottish Salmon, shortbread and the best Malts are all available locally in San Diego. The only thing I regularly stuff in my suitcase, when heading back to California, is haggis. I have had a few strange questions by the security people, but haven’t lost a haggis to customs yet!!
8) What about the independence referendum coming up? How will it affect you and Scotland’s international image?
I think it should enhance the image of Scotland if independence becomes a reality. However, we need to back it up to develop a stronger presence worldwide.
Scotland has many ways to differentiate itself from the smaller European countries and like any good business; differentiation is the key to success.
9) Have you ever had problems or found that people treat you differently because you are Scottish?
Being Scottish have always found to be a huge benefit, everyone has something positive to say about Scotland, even the folks in the US who struggle to know where it is, they still know a few facts about us. Scots who move overseas integrate extremely well with the locals, which is important for being welcomed
10) Do you have any plans for living in Scotland again and have you got a message for Scots back home?
I currently return to Scotland 5 times a year and enjoy every minute of it. In the next year, I plan to open a Scottish base for Leardon Solutions, hire locally and give back to Scotland. At that time, I will split my time between Scotland and San Diego. Scotland is still a great place to be and there are exciting times ahead.