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IT Firm Uses 'Reverse Outsourcing' to Boost Employment in Iowa

December 7, 2004

Ames, IA - One Iowa Internet technology firm is taking advantage of a type of "reverse outsourcing" to grow its company and the number of professionals it employs within this state.

Global Reach, with headquarters in Ames and an office in Des Moines, opened offices in Cyprus and South Korea nearly two years ago. The goal was to fuel the technology/design workload carried in Iowa with new clients overseas.

"It's an idea that is working," noted Iacovos Zachariades, President and CEO. "In opening those international offices, we created new positions for each. Those employees engage new customers and nurture relationships, old and new. They represent us internationally in order to bring in additional clients and projects. This project expansion has increased our need here in Iowa for higher-end professionals. We are bucking the trend of losing jobs to outsourcing."

Global Reach employs 15 programmers, graphic designers, and systems engineers, as well as support personnel in its Ames and Des Moines offices. Three years ago, before showing an international face, it was a company of 5 professionals.

"We're competitive in new markets because we can leverage the programs we create to give us an advantage," said Zachariades.

Zachariades said future plans include opening additional offices in several Iowa cities and in other countries plus, the subsequent increase in professional jobs at the Ames site. The company has major clients in such Iowa cities as Mason City, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Manchester, Carroll, and Knoxville.

New offices and new clients are only part of the international activity that's proven to be a mainstay of Global Reach's growth. The firm develops innovative website, intranet, extranet, and e-commerce technologies. SiteViz, for example, is a powerful, affordable content management solution package with which businesses can create, manage, and update their website content. SiteViz, created by Global Reach, is available in seven different languages, including Spanish, Chinese, and Russian. The program was developed and tested in Ames and is sold out of company offices around the world.

"The Global Reach strategy lies in creating web-based applications that meet business needs," said Dale Bentlage, Vice President of Business Development in Des Moines. In the last two years, Global Reach introduced such applications as Property Fusion, a website content management solution specifically for the real estate industry, Inviewsion, an online survey analysis tool, and eGlobal Stores, for businesses to manage sales.

The company also shores up international capabilities through internships, employing two to four Iowa State University graduate or undergraduate students at a time. "These students get to actually work on IT projects and learn how to apply what they are learning. Our staff members also serve as mentors for them," said Zachariades.

Bentlage added that some of the students are multi-lingual, adding new knowledge to ongoing projects; and some are international students "who open our minds to how we might expand in other countries." Several of the students have returned to their home countries and continued to work for Global Reach.

"Our main goal in international expansion is to grow our company and expand job potential in Iowa," said Zachariades. "We began here; we like it here; and we'll succeed here."

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