Logitech plans new division

Branch at Camas facility will focus on accessories for smart phones

By Libby Clark, Columbian Web Editor




• Previously: Logitech announced plans in March to move its Vancouver office to Camas.

• What’s new: The company will open a new smart-phone accessory division at its new location.

• What’s next: The new division will start hiring a team to develop its new product line.

CAMAS — Logitech International plans to open a new smart-phone accessory division at its new Camas offices, the company announced Thursday. The Swiss electronics company, with U.S. headquarters in Fremont, Calif., moved its audio division three weeks ago from Columbia Tech Center in Vancouver to a vacant 40,000-square-foot space at the Camas Meadows Corporate Center.

Logitech, which employs 100 here, designs and sells audio accessories such as headsets and speakers for computers and other electronic devices. Adding those accessories to smart phones, such as Android-based mobile phones or Apple’s iPhones, is a natural progression of the product line, said Mark Schneider, vice president and general manager of Logitech’s Audio Business Unit.

Vice President and General Manager Bruce Lancaster will move from Fremont next month to run the new division and has already hired two employees, Schneider said.

Schneider expects the division to hire several more workers to develop the new product line in coming months, though he declined to provide a total. The recent relocation to Camas Meadows leaves plenty of room to grow and the firm plans to take advantage of that, he said.

“It’s good for Camas. The jobs it brings in are high-paying and it’s broadening our base from manufacturing to a technology base,” said Brent Erickson, executive director of the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce.

The announcement came during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Logitech’s new audio-testing chambers, to be located in an under-construction building next door to its new offices at Camas Meadows.

Logitech is the fourth company to move into the corporate center after Plexsys Interface Products, Lightfleet Corp. and Reality Engineering. Some 120,000 square feet is now occupied on the 100-acre property, bought five years ago with the intent to attract exactly this kind of technology companies, said Matt Olson, co-owner of the property with Steve Oliva.

Plexsys, which develops simulation software for the defense industry, recently landed three large government contracts and filed plans with the city to build a $1 million, 7,600 square-foot addition to its building there, said Vice President Walt LeDoux.

The expansion will also bring 30 new software engineering jobs. Plexsys plans to recruit largely from nearby universities, Le Doux said.

In all, the growing business park brings heft to a developing cluster of technology companies in Camas and offers a source of optimism for the battered local economy.

“This is what an economic recovery looks like. … I have some comfort that’s what’s happening in Southwest Washington,” said Bart Phillips, president of the Columbia River Economic Development Council, at the ceremony. “Companies have the confidence to make investments again.”