Although it's rare for the worlds of material handling equipment and major league sports to collide, the two got a little closer last month. On Nov. 1, the Pohlad family, the owner of Major League Baseball's Minnesota Twins, announced that it had bought Shoreview, Minn.-based PaR Systems Inc., a provider of integrated robotic automation and specialized material handling solutions.
Along with the Twins, the Pohlad family's holdings include companies in the automotive, real estate investment and development, radio and media, high-end jewelry, and commercial real estate finance industries. In a statement announcing the latest acquisition, Robert Pohlad said the family was adding PaR Systems to its portfolio in order to expand into a new business line that it believes has great long-term potential.
The new owner has not indicated whether it intends to use any of PaR Systems' 380 employees as a new second baseman or relief pitcher, but the robotics company does have a reputation for staying cool under pressure. Among other jobs, PaR created a remote robotic application to facilitate the nuclear decommissioning of the Chernobyl Unit 4 reactor following its 1986 meltdown. More recently, it developed a similar system for the Fukushima nuclear site, which was damaged by the 2011 earthquake in Japan.