Propak acquired by Dallas-based Pallet Logistics of America

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 3,234 views 

The Propak corporate headquarters in downtown Fort Smith

Fort Smith-based Propak has been acquired by Dallas-based Pallet Logistics of America (PLA). Propak founder Steve Clark said the deal will not reduce employment in Fort Smith, and he will remain as Propak CEO. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Propak, founded in 1999 by Clark, offers third-party logistics, reverse logistics, warehousing, transportation, and freight brokerage. The company has 1,700 employees at more than 60 national locations. Clark reiterated Tuesday (June 7) in an interview with Talk Business & Politics that no changes will be made with Propak, noting that PLA recognized the value of keeping connections between Propak and its customers.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to do. … We’ve been able to maintain relationships. Starting basically with a telephone and a good attitude and being able to build something that finds national value, I’m really proud of that. I’m proud of it for our team, proud of it for our city and our region, and we’ll just continue to build what we started,” Clark said.

The deal also includes Clark having a seat on the PLA board of directors. Clark said the deal is an example of “consolidation going on in the industry. Consolidation for efficiency.”

He also said the deal “could lead to additional jobs in Fort Smith” because as PLA grows, the Fort Smith region has a low cost of living and other benefits that make it a good candidate for operational expansion. Clark also said Propak will continue its charitable work and community support efforts, and he will still own the historic downtown Fort Smith building in which Propak is based.

The PLA deal does not include Rogers-based Firebend, a software company Clark founded that provides proprietary supply chain technology. The two primary software products are Freight Genius, a transportation management system for freight brokers, and Control Tower, which provides access to data through a supply chain.

According to a PLA press release, the company handles more than 40 million pallets annually for more than 500 customers. With Propak, PLA will have 16 U.S. pallet management locations and an expanded logistics network.

“I’m proud to welcome Propak to the PLA Family of Companies. I’ve known Steve for many years and he and the management team at Propak are innovators in the Reverse Logistics space, creating a sophisticated network of Reverse Logistics Centers, 3PL’s, and a freight brokerage all designed to lower the supply chain costs of some of the largest retailers and manufacturers in the US,” Kyle Otting, CEO of PLA, said in a statement. “Steve will continue to serve as President and CEO of Propak and I look forward to Steve joining the board of PLA as we enter our next phase of growth.”

PLA is owned by Evanston, Ill.-based Silver Oak Services Partners, a private equity firm founded in 2005 that has raised more than $1.1 billion in capital and handled more than 25 deals with 100 add-on acquisitions.