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Global Reach Provides a Variety of Web Design Services

April 13, 2005

From the Ames Tribune, April 11, 2005.

by Bob Zientara

Iacovos Zachariades is at home in Ames, even though "home" is more than eight time zones away from his birthplace on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus.

A co-founder of the Web design firm Global Reach, Zachariades came to Iowa more than a decade ago when he received a scholarship to attend Luther College in Decorah. After doing graduate work in curriculum and instructional technology at Iowa State University, he decided to stay after he and three other entrepreneurs started Global Reach.

He's now president and CEO of the firm and one of its principal owners

Global Reach is one of the state's largest Web design firms, with offices in Ames and Des Moines, as well as one in Cyprus, which opened two years ago. Since 1995, the company has added services such as Web consulting, graphic design, system maintenance, product development, and research.

Its maturity and growth were crowned in March 2004 when Global Reach was named the Technology Company of the Year in the small business category by Software and Information Technology of Iowa, a state association with members representing many technology industries.

Iowa State Innovation System helped to nurture the company at the outset, charging the company reduced rent for the first six months of its existence.

"We began as an ISIS member as an incubator," said Zachariades. "Only Buildings One and Two were here when we began. Three and Four (on South Loop Drive) were yet to come."

The company serves some 360 clients worldwide, although its customers are primarily Iowa-based. Among the largest clients are the state of Iowa Office of the Treasurer, the Civil Air Patrol state headquarters and Emco, Inc., a subsidiary of window-making giant Andersen Inc. of Bayport, Minn. Emco markets a variety of Andersen products through its Global Reach-supported website.

Global Reach also does Web work for 14 tenants in the Research Park.

Zachariades said that Global Reach's strengths come from the fact that "the solutions we develop are very robust, very user friendly and are priced reasonably."

Web hosting is among Global Reach's services, "but we primarily host the sites we develop and manage," Zachariades said. "So we offer a secure location for clients whose sites involve many financial transactions."

The company employs about 18 people, including two college-level internships offered to ISU students. The rest of the staff are full-time professionals.

"We usually hire our more successful interns," said Zachariades.

Global Reach begins working with its clients with face-to-face consulting.

"We help people understand what the Internet can bring to their businesses," said Zachariades. "Sometimes, they may find that a website might not really help them. So our clients are helped to understand first what it is they can gain from the Web, and then use those tools to increase sales and/or productivity, reduce costs, improve communications with clients or improve customer service. Once we identify what the goal is, that's when we start the design process."

Global Reach is finding a more-than-favorable environment for its services in Iowa. Sales have doubled each year for the past four years, Zachariades said, and the company has qualified for the "INC 500" list of fastest-growing companies in the United States.

The company has developed several Web services that clients can adapt to their own particular needs, including: SiteViz, a product that lets users take pre-built "modules" like a calendar, resources and link page, press releases and news events, photo albums, staff directories and document libraries; Property Fusion, tailored to the real estate industry, which lets Realtors organize their listings, give virtual tours and search databases for properties; InViewsion, an online survey tool that lets clients gather, collate, manage and interpret responses from computer users; and eGlobalStores, offering tools to let business customers visit and tour websites, learn about discounts, view and order products and arrange for payment and shipping.

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