- 1 Mar 2017 11:00 AM
Richard joined a Hungarian company ThalesNano in July of 2004 where he started as Chief Research Chemist before working his way up to CCO. His main task was to develop and market a new branch of chemistry technology that has won international awards and is being utilised in the Top 20 Pharma companies in the world.
When not working or travelling for work, he likes to spend his time with his sons and unsuccessfully trying to reduce his golf handicap.
1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
I guess you could call it fate. I met a Hungarian lady at the same time as I got a job opportunity in Budapest. I guess life was pointing me to go in this direction. I haven't regretted making that decision. I married that lady, we have beautiful twin boys, and I ended up becoming CEO of the company I joined.
2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
No, but I travelled around when I was a child. I was born in Trinidad before moving to England and we also lived in Germany for a short spell.
3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
The level of innovative resourcefulness of the people I worked with. The engineers I worked with were used to working with little to no financial R&D investment under communism. They were truely a team of MacGyvers and could make awesome pieces of hardware from spare parts and minimal resources. I have see this many times. I guess it comes from making the best with what you got and being well practiced at it.
4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
Go to a bath, visit the castle, walk along the Danube, eat a langos and sult kolbasz from the Central Market Hall, take in a romkocsma, take a boat trip and a walk around Margit sziget. Budapest is a wonderful city to visit. So much to do and has a different feel to Western European cities. It is much cheaper too.
5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
Hmmm. Tricky question. So many favourites. Hard to beat some of the simple good quality food. Country side made sult kolbasz, with fresh bread, mustard, and water melon on the side. Stews made from a traditional bogracs are also great. A gulyas leves in winter. The cakes are also awesome. The Hungarian cake of the year 2017, The Green Gold of the Őrség, is a fantastic combination of flavors and one of the best new cakes in years. Be careful though, I just spent a year working off the 18 kilos I'd gained since arriving.
6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Fresh eggs. Always tasty, can can cook in many different styles, and a great source of protein.
7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
Bugyi - sounds cute. Yes I know what it means, but it also means a plastic sleeve for paperwork :) There is also a town called Bugyi.
8. What do you miss the most from home?
Friends mainly and the banter. The brits have a distinct sense of humour style when friends get together where you always take the mick out of one another. Keeps you grounded.
9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
I would liked to have been doctor.
10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
A cleaner. When I was a student I was a hospital cleaner. I cleaned everything from the operating theatres to the toilets. Couldn't do that every day. I still don't understand how people don't pick up after themselves, whether its towels, tissues, or rubbish.
11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Camping in balaton. There's something special about staying outdoors and a tent.
12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?
Orlando Disney World with the boys.
13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Oasis for the band. loved their stage presence and some of their tunes will always stand up to the test of time.
As for films, earlier it was Indiana Jones. Gave me a taste for adventure and led to me digging holes for treasure. Later it was Reservoir Dogs. I'd never really seen a film quite like it at the time. It blew me a way and made Tarantino famous.
14. Apart of temptation what can't you resist?
I have a sweet tooth. Very hard to not go for dessert at a restaurant. My favourites in Hungary are makos guba with plenty of vanilla sauce or somloi galuska (preferably without currents).
15. Red wine or white?
Both. White for dessert or in a froccs. Red with a meal.
16. Book or movie?
Both. I love both. I travel a lot, so reading is essential. It is a gateway to another world. However, you can't quite beat going to see a movie with a raptured audience in a cinema. The last time was the opening night of the Star wars Rogue One movie. You could feel the excitement and emotion humming through people in the cinema throughout the movie.
17. Morning person or night person?
Used to be evening, but now morning. You get so much more done in the day. It's good to get to work early as there is no one there and you can concentrate on the important work like filling out an Xpat Loop questionnaire ;)
18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
The environment. It is a ticking timebomb. We need to work on two fronts. Recycle and make the most of your resources and also concentrate on generating technologies that can reverse the mess that we are getting are selves into. Otherwise, what world are we leaving behind for our children.
19. Buda side or Pest side?
Buda for living, Pest for a night out.
20. What would you say is your personal motto?
Don't be afraid to take that first step. You'll never know where it might lead you.