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Body heat is key to Youngstown firm's success

Disney, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Advance Auto Parts know what's hot. This trio of major companies is among many who've tapped Youngstown's SenSource to count "people traffic" through thermal imaging technology.

SenSource was founded in 2002 by President Joseph Varacalli and Vice-President Kevin Stefko. Varacalli, an electrical engineer, has more than two decades experience in sensor manufacturing, while Stefko is a veteran district sales manager.

In SenSource's short life, the company has developed a variety of high-tech counters that track people, retail traffic and pedestrians through body heat. Companies use these counters for a variety of reasons like monitoring staffing needs, measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and identifying effective sales people. SenSource also offers vehicle counters and environmental counters that monitor temperature and humidity.

A number of well-known retailers have used this thermal imaging technology, including Famous Footware, Lacoste, Vera Bradley, Skechers and Vitamin World. Libraries, too, use counters to monitor library traffic.

Disney is one of SenSource's latest clients. SenSource declined to divuldge exactly why Disney is using the product, but it's been reported that one use is to gauge wait times in lines at amusement parks.

"Disney is known for being particular about every detail of its business, making us pleased that they would chose to work with SenSource," says company Marketing Coordinator Jessica Sferra.

SenSource has grown from two employees at its founding to 12, including two hired in 2009 in product support and marketing. The company plans to hire two more sometime this year.

Source: Jessica Sferra, SenSource
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

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