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Optical/IP

Marconi Thinks Big in Texas

IRVING, Texas -- Marconi Communications PLC (Nasdaq/London: MONI) is feverishly recruiting here to boost the firm's local optical staff from 30 people to about 110 by April 1, says one executive recruiter familiar with Marconi’s plans.

The recruiting mission is part of an effort to expand Marconi's Optical Division. Marconi is spending $50 million to fund the expansion, according to Light Reading sources. Marconi's Optical Division here will sell dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM), synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH), and synchronous optical network (Sonet) equipment.

“We haven’t announced anything to date,” says Marconi spokesman James Blew. “We may have announcements forthcoming about people and facilities and things like that,” he says. Blew did confirm, however, that Marconi had been stepping up its recruitment efforts for its optical and access businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, which includes the suburbs of Irving and Richardson, a.k.a. “Telecom Corridor.”

Marconi already has around 1,200 employees in the Dallas area (about 49,000 worldwide) and it occupies about 350,000 square feet of office space locally. Most of its employees here are engineers, salesmen, marketers, and manufacturers supporting Marconi’s Access Solutions group.

The general manager of Marconi’s Access Solutions group, Mike Pratt, is based in the Dallas area, but Dave Lewis, Pratt’s counterpart in the Optical Divison, is based in the U.K. However, Larry Hamilton, Marconi’s optical sales boss, is based here. Hamilton could not be reached by phone for comment.

Marconi, of course, isn’t the only telecom equipment vendor looking to expand here. When Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) completes its campus on 78 acres in Richardson, the company will have 6,000 employees in the area (see Cisco Watch).

--Phil Harvey, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com
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