Monday, November 13, 2006

All posts were moved (11/2006) to

Pay no attention to that giant sucking sound... it's just Homeland Security moving to Guadalajara!

New York Times (November 13, 2006) By Elisabeth Malkin MEXICO CITY, Nov. 12 — Ross Perot once spoke of a “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving. The Texas billionaire and onetime presidential candidate railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement in the early 1990s, arguing that it would create a “giant sucking sound” of good American jobs pulled to low-wage Mexico. But things change. Last week, Mr. Perot’s Texas company announced that it was hiring — in Mexico. The Perot Systems Corporation, which manages information technology for companies, is setting up a technology center in Guadalajara where it expects to employ 270 engineers by the middle of next year. Neither Mr. Perot, who is now chairman emeritus of the company he founded in 1988, nor his son, Ross Perot Jr., the company’s chairman, was on hand for the announcement in Guadalajara Thursday. But a company spokesman, Joe McNamara, said that lower pay for engineers was only one of several reasons Perot Systems decided to set up in Mexico. “Guadalajara is a fast-developing technology center in Mexico,” he said. “There’s room to grow.” The company is also looking at other places in Mexico to set up new operations, he said. “Mexico is a very important strategic location for us,” he said. The Perots are hardly bucking the trend as the information technology industry has grown steadily offshore. Perot Systems, based in Plano, Tex., had sales of $2 billion last year and employs 20,000 people in more than 20 countries, 6,000 of them in India alone. The company will also announce a new operation in the Philippines and one in Kentucky soon. At Thursday’s announcement in Guadalajara, Mike McClaskey, the vice president for infrastructure solutions, was there to invite job seekers to the company’s recruiting events, describing a “meaningful career opportunity” at a center that will be part of the company’s global network. The Mexican employees will be providing desk and engineering support to Perot Systems clients in the United States and Europe. The clients include companies in the health care and finance industries along with United States government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security. The company does not plan to use Mexico as a base to drum up new business from Latin America, Mr. McNamara said. The arrival of Perot Systems in Guadalajara, which bills itself as Mexico’s Silicon Valley, is a small success story for the government and the local technology industry. For several years now, Mexico has tried to carve out a niche as a low-cost software developer in an effort to win a fraction of the business that now goes to India. But so far Mexico has failed to catch on, despite its growing pool of bilingual engineers and the advantage of being in the same time zones as the United States. The new technology center in Guadalajara offers a stamp of approval, particularly because it comes from such an unexpected source. Back in 1992 and 1993, Mr. Perot’s anti-Nafta harangues made him highly unpopular in Mexico, where many had high hopes for the agreement. But a dozen years into Nafta, Mexicans are willing to let bygones be bygones. And so, it seems, is Mr. Perot. “The whole world has changed a lot in the past 14 years,” Mr. McNamara said.


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