PAK Solutions has new owners and big plans to grow in tamper-evident bag market
By JOHN KOZIOL Union Leader Correspondent
Located on Page Hill Road, PAK Solutions has been a mainstay in the Lancaster economy since 1990. Earlier this year, a new ownership acquired the manufacturer of tamper-evident bags and infused $1 million into the business with the goal of rapidly expanding both sales and the size of the workforce. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)
In a display of tamper-evident technology, the word “VOID” appears on the seal of a money bag made in Lancaster at PAK Solutions in Lancaster after a would-be tamperer, in this case Patrick Judge, the senior operations manager, attempted to break the seal using cold. A red line would have appeared if heat had been used. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)
Patrick Judge, the senior operations manager at Pak Solutions in Lancaster, holds a large money bag that his company makes for a customer in the money-transfer business. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)
A machine at Pak Solutions in Lancaster makes tamper-evident money bags. (JOHN KOZIOL/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)
LANCASTER — A new ownership group has put life back into a local company that once helped the Federal Reserve get rid of some very dirty money.
Pak Solutions, located on Page Hill Road, has been in Lancaster since 1990, when under its former corporate parent it made security bags used by financial institutions and retail businesses. In 1997, it switched to making “tamper-evident” bags.
Entering 2017, Pak Solutions faced an uncertain future. Its plight came to the attention of Kevin Powers, who works in the plastic-packaging industry.
Interested in saving Pak Solutions, Powers told his cousin, John Shaughnessy, about the opportunity to acquire the business, and he in turn told Rob Roriston, with whom Shaughnessy serves on the board of directors at the Tilton School.
The circle that would become the ownership group on June 1 was completed when Roriston recruited the Gaudet Family Group, which operates the AutoServ family of car dealerships.
Gregg Miller, Pak Solutions’ vice president of sales, is back for a second go with the company. He said Pak Solutions is one of four manufacturers in North America in the tamper-evident bag market, which annually racks up sales of about $225 million.
“Our production is growing, and we are adding more jobs,” Miller said. “We primarily manufacture secure bags for banks, retailers and companies that transport money. We also manufacture forensic bags for law enforcement, and are expanding into medical and pharmaceutical industries.”
Pak Solutions declined to identify its customers, citing confidentiality, but said it is among the largest and most well-known in its sectors.
Currently, Pak Solutions operates one shift, five days a week, but hopes to expand to two shifts, and eventually three, following the installation in December of a new bag-converting line that will double production, said Patrick Judge, senior operations manager.
Miller said Pak Solutions has had an interesting history, which includes being approached by the Federal Reserve in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The Fed, Miller said, had to dispose of a lot of currency that had been damaged by flood waters. However, the drivers charged with hauling the money to an incinerator were getting ill from the fumes coming off the befouled currency that were escaping the containment bags.
Within a week, Pak Solutions came up with a double-bag application, Miller said, adding that Pak Solutions, along with other parties, has also worked with the United Nations to create bags used for duty-free sales throughout the world.
Although tamper-evident bags can be cut open, or outright stolen, they cannot be tampered with easily, Judge said, and Pak Solutions makes that even more difficult.
The bags, many of which are transparent to show their contents, are numbered sequentially and have a bar code for scanning. Once sealed, the bags employ clever technologies to defeat tampering.
For example, should a tamperer use heat to melt the glue in the seal, a thermochromatic ink will be activated and will irreversibly turn a bright color. Should cold be employed, the word “VOID” pops up in blue.
To date, the company’s new owners have invested $1 million in equipment and hope to soon grow the number of employees from the current 33. Ron Demers, Pak Solutions’ maintenance manager, said morale at the facility has improved greatly.
Shaughnessy believes Pak Solutions can return to its halcyon days when it employed more than 100 people, and had, according to Miller, about 40 percent of the market share.
“We would like to double the workforce in five years,” Shaughnessy said. “There’s real potential to do that.”
Before she became a co-owner, Donna Gaudet-Hosmer was a customer of Pak Solutions. On a cruise, she bought an item in an onboard duty-free store and had it placed in a tamper-evident bag.
“Our committed partners are bringing world-class operating standards, the best in new technology and a passion for making a difference,” she said.