Our story begins in 1984. Jim Mundt, a McCall, Idaho based smokejumper, spent countless hours that season on his hands and knees crawling through the ashes of mostly cold lightning ignited fires to ensure that they were completely extinguished: a mop up technique known as cold trailing. Prompted by the tedious nature of the task, Jim imagined a heat sensor at the tip of a 4 foot pole that would make the discomfort of bare handed cold trailing a thing of the past. The following season, Jim left the jumpers and began pursuing a doctorate in human factors engineering.
In 2000, after many years of listening to Jim remarking that otherwise smart firefighters were still sticking their bare hands into potentially scalding ashes, Jim’s brother, Randy, an electrical engineer, showed up at a family reunion with the first ever ColdTrailer prototype. It was pretty simple; a temperature sensor controlled oscillator connected to a small speaker. As the temperature rose, the speaker tone would change. It quickly became obvious that this “simple” approach had a number of flaws and would not be very useful in the real world. But it was a start. For the next two years, Randy and Jim worked together developing and testing ColdTrailer prototypes and patented their instrument. But since Jim was out of the firefighting business and both he and Randy had active careers to pursue, the project lost momentum.
January 2017: Patrick Wood, a crew member on Los Padres Hotshots, had the conviction that there’s got to be a better way to cold trail. He imagined a heat sensor at the end of a pole, with an alarm that sounds when the sensor is stuck into a hotspot. A tool like this would be just as effective as conventional cold trailing but more efficient.
Patrick began researching the idea and found Jim and Randy’s patent. The communication between the Mundt brothers and Patrick began, and now the three are collaborating to bring the ColdTrailer to all wildland firefighters.
Patrick is the founder of CTS and is working his second year with the California Smokejumpers. When not on fires or working for CTS Patrick spends his time outdoors, adventuring with his wife, Sarah, and their three young children.
Randy is the head of engineering and is leading product development for CTS. He has worked at a number of Silicon Valley capital equipment companies, including two successful startups. He now resides in Pleasanton, CA.
Jim was the first to have the idea of the ColdTrailer when he was a McCall Smokejumper in the ’80s. He has a Doctorate in Human Factors Engineering and serves as an advisor to CTS.
Johnathan is leading Marketing and Business Development for CTS. He is an experienced real estate investor and well rounded businessman.