Unosquare is a bi-national corporation providing software development, testing, and support for a set of highly valued customers. We serve North American clients from offices in Oregon and our Nearshore delivery center in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mexico Reforms its Labor Laws

The Senate in Mexico has finally approved a new set of labor law reforms that will be signed into law within a week.  This is big news and the first real reform in 40 years.

First, let's explain what it did not provide.  It did not deregulate unions.  The mafia-like hold that unions have on their workers and small business is still alive. Nothing in the new law forces unions to open their financial books and nothing allows companies to truly avoid the harassment that unions can place on a workplace. Organized labor is still very powerful in Mexico.

However, the new law is very exciting for economic growth and new business development and employment in Mexico. For example, the new law makes it legal to pay employees by the hour and to hire employees on a temporary basis or a trial basis and report all the wages legally so that employees can have social benefits.
For example, companies like Unosquare can now build temporary project teams or bring in hourly workers on a trial basis if needed. In the higher paid, knowledge worker class, this will make employees prove their skills and show their value in a way that is lower risk for companies. That will create more jobs and economic health. It encourages risk taking which is fundamental to economic growth.

Some experts believe this will add 1 - 2% economic growth which will take Mexico to a 5% or more growth rate. Something that hasn't happened in a century.  It also helps Mexico avoid the nightmare going on in Europe right now where companies cannot hire employees because they cannot legally fire those employees without paying a large sum of money. That is one of the biggest problems with European economic growth. That was a big problem in Mexico. Companies were not taking risk.  Now that will change.

The media, like USA Today, is reporting this as mostly positive, even though some on the left want to protect unions and their power to protect employees. The reality is that only the unions and the leaders of the unions are protected. More than 30% of the Mexican labor force works in the informal economy, meaning they still work without social benefits for housing and social security.  Now, informal, part time, or temporary workers can have social benefits provided and companies will take more risk and hire more workers.

This will further align Mexico with the United States and Canada as a powerful economic region that will effectively compete against China, India, and Europe. Great job Mexico!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Nearshore Executive Alliance

We are very proud to say that Unosquare is one of the founding members of the Nearshore Executive Alliance (NEA). This not for profit organization consists of over 60 companies - both ITO/BPO providers and buyers alike. 

The NEA mission is to help promote "nearshoring" as an alternative, while also addressing best practices, ethical standards, and relationsihp building in the region. 

We have the most senior executives from big companies like Softtek, Neoris, CapGemini, and Ci&T.  We also have CEO's from smaller providers like Common Sense and Unosquare.  Most important, we have buyer executives from companies like Johnson and Johnson, Tripwire, and DirecTV.  We also have academics from Duke University in the US and multinational universities throughout Latin America. 

The NEA's next meeting is coming to Scottsdale, Arizona next month.  October 9th to be exact.  For more information, contact Mike Barrett or visit the Sourcing Interest Group's website for registration information.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Interview with Jim Souder

Jim joined Unosquare in early July to help build up our large account capabilities.  You will see by his answers below that he'll fit right in.

Unosquare: Jim, living in Arizona… what are your thoughts about dog sweaters? 
Jim:  As a general rule, dog sweaters are one of those unnecessary things in life that create unnecessary work; wash the dog, not the dog's sweater.  In Arizona, it's simply absurd for a dog to have a sweater; unless it's football season... then of course, a Chicago Bears sweater is completely appropriate canine attire.  
Was your college GPA a good indicator of your future success? 
I'm taking the long view on that question.  Future success, by it's very nature, hasn't happened yet, but I promise to get back to you on that ;-)  How did you meet your wife? 
It was love at first sight.  I saw her across a crowded hall, and asked my friend, "who's that girl?".  The next thing I knew, we were a couple.  That lasted until 6th period when I saw her on the back of Tom Rupke's bike and my friend said, "I guess you just broke up."  The other guy was an 8th grader and I was only in 7th grade, so I knew it was over... at least for a time.  I persevered, and we recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.    
Why did you decide to join Unosquare? 
With an IT background spanning over 25 years, I've worked for large corporate entities as well as smaller, nimble companies and I've reached the conclusion that large or small, it's always about people and working together to delight the client.  Unosquare provides me an opportunity to listen to client challenges and to working creatively with a high energy, motivated team of professionals that share my passion for solving problems and delivering beyond expectations.  That said, I also love the sense of humor of the people I work with; I genuinely look forward to bringing clients to Guadalajara so they can experience the same.    
What is the client project/deal you are most proud of in your career? 
The axiom "hardship is the pathway to peace" relates directly to one of the projects I look back on with pride.  I provided a client with a solution to migrate one of their largest end customer's (a large hotel chain) over to an entirely new system/provider supporting their mission critical rates, availability and reservations.   We were thrown a curve when the end customer (our client's customer) was mandated by their new ownership to complete the migration ahead of an already tight schedule, and also made it clear that there would be no excuses or second chances.  Our client was in a tough spot and so were we.  We faced some initial catastrophic and game ending (so it seemed at the time) performance issues with the project.  We reorganized the team, installed a new project leader more suited to the unique challenges, and with real teamwork, great communication, rigorous honesty, and a complete commitment to satisfying the end customer, we succeeded in delivering our project on time and on budget (that last part was close to a miracle).  Living up to promises and commitments is something that gives me pride and is another reason I joined Unosquare; from interviewing our own client's, I've concluded that this is a shared company value.    
Do you ever open and read email newsletters? 
I do...  Every day, I set aside time to review a variety of articles, posts, news feeds, and editorials related to our industry.  While I am fond of a couple of the consolidated feeds, I also take the time to review tightly focused newsletters since they are authored by individuals completely immersed in their subject matter.  I enjoy frank analysis and I especially enjoy when businesses are able to describe how IT fits into their particular value chain.  
What is the dumbest thing you ever did as a kid? 
This question took a disturbingly long time to answer; too many choices...  I do remember a time when I was eight and my friend Scott Anderson and I decided to build a treehouse.  There was one troublesome branch in the way of our "sky fort" so I started to saw it off.  I was in an awkward position so I had to saw from the bottom up.  I was almost done and to get a better angle for that last little bit, I grabbed a branch and swung to the other side.  Problem was, it was the branch I was sawing.  Down I tumbled, breaking other branches along the way and just as I was about to hit the ground, my leg was impaled on a broken branch.  I hung there like a rag doll.  Thirty seven stitches later and an ice cream cone in hand, the only thing I was thinking about was how cool our fort was going to be.    
Best job? Worst job? 
One of the best jobs I had prior to joining Unosquare was as a health instructor for a Nautilus Fitness Center in Chicago.  The machines were a new phenomenon at the time and our clientele included players from the Bears, Notre Dame, Purdue, and other top schools.  Much of my focus was on rehab and recovery and I loved getting guys back in top performance condition.  The worst job was with Pioneer Screw and Nut.  I assembled plastic parts of all kinds in a humdrum, mindlessly repetitive, time dragging, and mind numbing job.  My mom helped me get that job (she worked in the front office).  I think she had a hidden strategy there.  
Welcome to the team Jim!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Jim Souder Joins Unosquare Executive Team

Guadalajara, Mexico and Portland, Oregon (July 9th, 2012) Unosquare LLC, an industry leader in the provision of software development, software testing and application support from Latin America, today announced that Mr. Jim Souder has joined the company as Vice President, Client Partner. Souder will help lead the company in the areas of sales, marketing, and sales partner development.

“We are thrilled to have Jim’s industry knowledge and business development skills as part of the Unosquare team,” said Mike Barrett, Unosquare’s CEO and co-founder.

Most recently, Souder was employed by CDI IT Solutions as a Director and head of sales for the Southwest regions of the United States.  He was responsible for the aggregate production of a sales team that generated over $40m in yearly revenue and led the successful implementation of IT outsourcing engagements for Fortune 1000 clients across the region. 

Prior to CDI, Souder was a senior manager for Accenture where he was responsible for sales and implementation efforts for  Systems Integration clients on the West Coast.  There he executed strategic and operational plans that greatly improved the division’s productivity and increased growth. He also held leadership roles at influential IT outsourcing firms like Keane, HCL, and james martin + co.

“Jim’s extensive IT outsourcing experience on a global level, combined with his leadership roles in formulating and executing sales and marketing initiatives for some of the leading companies in this space will play a critical role in Unosquare’s aggressive growth strategy,” said Barrett, “We look forward to leveraging Jim’s knowledge and experience to continue capturing high profile clients and exciting projects for our fast growing company.”

Souder holds a BS degree in computer sciences from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois

About Unosquare

Unosquare LLC is a bi-national firm with offices in Portland, Oregon and Guadalajara, Mexico. Unosquare has been providing software development, IT consulting, and testing services for North American companies like Vesta Corporation, Columbia Sportswear, and MedAssets.

For more information visit For additional comments, contact Unoquare’s CEO Michael Barrett, at 503-722-3480, or via email at

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Truth About the TN (NAFTA) Visa

Now that Unosquare is bringing engineers into the US for certain projects and client roles, I thought it would be helpful to see and understand how the TN Visa really works. You can get official information here... but this is what we've learned from our real world experience.

It is easier to get the TN Visa in Mexico than it is to actually get setup for work in the USA.  Getting the Visa itself is fairly easy in Mexico.  You need an employer, a letter from that employer, and a positive history in Mexico.  If in the last 10 years there is any illegal activity on your record... forget it.

After your interview at the US Consulate, it takes about 2 weeks to get the Visa. Then it's time to travel to the US for work.

Once in the US, things get a little more tricky. There is a process that must be followed to work legally in the USA.  First, the person holding the TN Visa needs to make an appointment at the Social Security office.  It is not possible to apply for a Social Security number online if you are arriving with a TN Visa.  It is mandatory that each new Visa holder appears at the Social Security office in person. The SS officer will verify your immigration information in their computer systems.  If everything is verified it takes about 3 - 5 days to get a social security card.  If items are not verifiable (that can happen also) it will take 3 - 4 weeks to get a social security card.  This is because Social Security has to verify your information with immigration manually... which takes more time.

It is completely unknown why some people are verified automatically and why some are not. I asked a SS officer the other day and she didn't know either.  Regardless, the Social Security number is required before anyone can receive a paycheck or open a bank account in the USA.

You might be asking yourself at this point.. "Why not just get paid in Mexico and avoid the whole deal in the USA?"  Good question.  Because that is illegal with the TN Visa. It is a work Visa allocated for Canadians and Mexicans only and it also produces tax revenue for the US government. So don't try it.

Once you get the SS Card in the mail, it is time to setup payroll and bank accounts.  It is also required that Mexicans go to the Mexican Consulate in the state where you are working to get a local state ID card. This will be useful when getting carded at a restaurant or getting pulled over by the police.  Presenting your State ID card with your Mexican drivers license will suffice in most situations.

Lastly, make sure that you don't come into the US while working for a shady, weak, or otherwise tiny company.  You are a "guest worker" in the USA and the company that you choose to work with is very important.  A lot of companies say they take care of guest workers but some are too small and without the experience to really do that.  So choose wisely.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Unosquare Industry Focus

In the spirit of growing the "lean enterprise", Unosquare has begun to let our customers determine our future.  We started almost 3 years ago with 5 people and 2 clients and today we have more than 50 people and 10 valued clients. 

So what has the market said about Unosquare?  What have our customers told us about our future?

Basically this; As a company we are very good at healthcare related technology and eCommerce solutions.  We have a few clients that fall outside those two segments and we value them also. But we have 3 referenceable healthcare clients and 3 referencable eCommerce clients. These companies trust our software engineers and QA engineers to deliver.  Our team leaders know the domains of healthcare and eCommerce.  They have the nomenclature down.

Over time you'll see our messaging change to focus on these two areas.  Our internal education and training efforts will support the growth and demands on our consultants. And we'll always strive to have fun with clients and employees throughout the experience.  Saludos!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Domestic Staffing Services

Unosquare has launched a new domestic staffing effort from our Portland, Oregon office.  We're all pretty excited. We even hired a new staffing services coordinator, Annlisa Tomba, to help lead the effort.  Annalisa is a driven young woman... providing two forms of evidence... she holds a PHD in chemistry and runs marathons.

Our goal is to provide domestic contract staffing, IT/engineering recruiting, and project work from our US location while remaining a strong Nearshore services provider.  This will give our clients the option of Nearshore or Onshore.  A natural progression.

About Unosquare

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Portland, OR, United States
Unosquare provides US based IT consulting and Mexico based software development and testing.