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Bellingham organization expands European presence with purchase of UK marketing firm

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Here are the top 10 employers in Whatcom County, according to information compiled by the Center for Business Research at Western Washington University.
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Here are the top 10 employers in Whatcom County, according to information compiled by the Center for Business Research at Western Washington University.

A Bellingham organization is expanding its presence in Europe through the acquisition of a United Kingdom marketing company.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, announced on Thursday, June 20, that it will purchase Xmark Media. Xmark has less than 10 employees that will work alongside SPIE’s existing European team in Cardiff, United Kingdom.

Along with the company, SPIE will now operate the Photonex Europe, which SPIE considers the premier photonics exhibition in the United Kingdom. Photonex includes a variety of specialized exhibitions, attracting researchers, engineers and buyers.

“SPIE is excited for this opportunity to enhance the UK’s top event in our field,” said SPIE CEO Kent Rochford in a news release.

Rochford said he doesn’t anticipate any major changes in the Bellingham office as a result of the purchase. The Bellingham office employs 173 people.

SPIE was founded in 1955 to advance light-based science and has been in Bellingham since 1977. It currently serves 257,000 constituents from 173 countries, organizing conferences as well as publishing books and journals.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.
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