Boise food-sensor maker PakSense sold to Emerson

PakSense founder Tom Jensen displays a handful of the company’s Smart Labels in 2008. The labels track temperature during food transport and storage.
PakSense founder Tom Jensen displays a handful of the company’s Smart Labels in 2008. The labels track temperature during food transport and storage.

PakSense, a Boise company that makes sensors to monitor food temperature, has been sold to Emerson, a publicly traded conglomerate based in St. Louis.

Founded in 2004, PakSense manufactures sensors the size of a sugar packet that track perishable-food temperature during transportation and storage. The sensors store give customers the ability to track and document the conditions of foods as they travel through supply chains.

Emerson makes a long list of products and systems related to air conditioning and climate control, and it offers services for process management, industrial automation and network power. Emerson also bought another company in PakSense’s sector, Florida-based Locus Traxx, in an effort to buy into the quality side of food logistics, spokesman Dave Baldridge said.

“We’ll be helping growers, shippers and retailers manage shipments and temperature controls for monitoring cargo as it moves from farm to fork,” Baldridge told the Idaho Statesman.

PakSense reported about $10 million in sales last year, Baldridge said. Boise operations won’t change much for PakSense and its approximately 30 employees, he said. Eventually, PakSense and Locus Traxx will be integrated into Emerson’s new cargo-solutions business, he said.

“For the immediate future, anticipate business as usual,” Baldridge said.”

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Paksense, based at 6223 N. Discovery Way in northwest Boise, was owned by several individuals, many from the Boise area, Baldridge said.

Tom Jensen founded PakSense in 2004 and served as CEO through 2007. David Light served as CEO from 2008 until David Oster succeeded him in 2013.

Jensen said he was optimistic about the future for the company that he grew out of his home basement.

“I’m excited about the merger, especially given that the present PakSense team remains intact in Idaho,” he said. “It means that a great company, Emerson, has just expanded to include growing operations in Idaho for what I believe is the first time.”

It was an amazing 12 years for me, growing the company out of my home basement.

Jensen took a job at Tesla Motors in 2011, Baldridge said. Today, Jensen lives in Boise and continues working in the electric-vehicle industry for California-based NextEV, he said. Jensen served on PakSense’s board until the Emerson purchase.

Light also lives in Boise and works for a management consulting company, The Advisory Group, Baldridge said.

Neither Jensen nor Light could be reached immediately for comment Tuesday.

Jay Larsen, founder and president of the Idaho Technology Council, said Emerson “made an outstanding acquisition.”

“PakSense is a fantastic company that continues to carve out cold-supply-chain market share through its advanced technologies and outstanding talent,” Larsen said. “Expect great things from this partnership.”