Thursday, August 13, 2020
Aug. 13, 2020

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Wacom completes Portland move

The company wanted greater exposure after decades in Vancouver

By , Columbian Business Editor
Published:
3 Photos
Wacom, a maker of digital pens used by artists and illustrators, showed off its new Wacom Americas headquarters in Portland's Pearl District on Thursday. The company relocated from Vancouver after 27 years to increase its visibilty and connections with Portland's creative technology sector.
Wacom, a maker of digital pens used by artists and illustrators, showed off its new Wacom Americas headquarters in Portland's Pearl District on Thursday. The company relocated from Vancouver after 27 years to increase its visibilty and connections with Portland's creative technology sector. (Photos by Natalie Behring/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Wacom’s new Americas headquarters in Portland’s Pearl District is 18 miles and a whole world away from the digital pen maker’s former offices in Vancouver’s Columbia Tech Center, and the company couldn’t be happier about its new world view in Portland’s creative heartland.

The new 55,000-square-foot office space occupies the top three floors of the new nine-floor Pearl West building at 1455 N.W. Irving St. The Japan-based company unveiled its new office suite with a Thursday open house attended by Wacom’s CEO Masahiko Yamada, visiting from Tokyo, Portland government officials, and other invited guests.

Visitors soaked up the industrial vibe of a work area with an industrial feel of concrete floors and exposed overhead duct work, with open work areas augmented by private offices for meetings, and lounge areas for collaborative brainstorming. Among the perks for the approximately 200 employees moving over from Vancouver: grand views of the Portland skyline and the distant Cascades, as well as of the incessant traffic on nearby Interstate 405. Speaking of traffic, Wacom’s senior public relations manager Doug Little said about half of the company’s employees will commute from Southwest Washington and others live on the Oregon side of the metro area.

At the grand opening event, Wacom COO Aaron Atkinson said employees will benefit from and contribute to Portland’s creative energy. Atkinson said Wacom employees hope to “extend that creativity throughout the world.” Atkinson noted that the company will retain a presence in Vancouver by maintaining a repair center and photography and video editing studios, with a total of about eight employees in the city. The company, which had been in Vancouver since 1989, has sold its former Vancouver building at 1311 S.E. Cardinal Court

Wacom makes digital pens and pads that are used by illustrators, animators and industrial designers as well as hobbyists. Its pens reached a much wider marketplace when they were offered as a feature on some Samsung smartphones. The company reported some $800 million in revenue last year, including about $170 million from the Americas.

In addition to its new offices, Wacom will soon open a 3,400-square-foot “Experience Center” on the Pearl West’s ground floor where visitors can test the company’s professional and consumer devices. The company said it will invite other creative professionals to use the center for project work.

In announcing last year its decision to relocate to the Pearl District, Wacom said it wanted an opportunity for greater public visibility for itself and its product.

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