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From little shop to major enterprise

David Hinkins stands in the main shop at Industrial Electric Motor Service in Orangeville. Hinkins and his brothers began in a little shop on the towns Main Street and now have an operation that serves mines in several states.

Sun Advocate/ECP publisher

When David Hinkins looks back, he is amazed by the number of people he worked with at Harmond Electric in the early 1970's who have gone on to be successful in the energy business. People like John Houston (Intermountain Electronics), Dave Zaccaria (Tram), Art Bruno (Bodec) and other names came out of his mouth as he talked about it.

But he actually forgot to mention himself. Starting out as a 22 year old opening a small motor rewind shop on Orangeville's Main Street in 1976. He smiles when he talks about that old shop.

"It was a good place to start, but I don't think the neighbors there enjoyed the noise we made grinding and welding much," he said.

By 1978 they had grown enough that they moved to southwest Orangeville, the location where they are in business today. Growing from three employees who worked largely with local mines Industrial Electric Motor Service now employs 35 people and works with industry in many of the surrounding states.

"We work with about 30 mines in Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah," said Hinkins as he walked through the main shop floor at Industrial Electric Motor Service. "We will celebrate our 36th year in May."

With him in the business are his two brothers Ross and Todd. David is the president of the company, Ross is the vice-president and Todd is the secretary now. In the beginning though, when Hinkins first opened his shop Ross was only 20 and Todd was 18, just out of high school. At that time they were the employees and did everything. Today they have specialists in each of their departments.

The company provides and repairs motors and pumps for mines, does control repair and custom controls and works with and provides some communication systems for mines. The company handles such lines as Flygt, Appalacian, Ocenco, Line Power, Baldor and Stancor.

Hinkins has other interests too. He has a ranch, works with cattle and has race horses. And of course he is a the state senator from District 27 which encompasses much of eastern Utah.

The shop the company has is sprawling, and walking from department to department one can see that the employees take pride in what they are doing.

"We want to be sure what we send customers will work right for the application they need," stated Hinkins as he stood by a Dynometer. "We rebuild motors so that they provide the power needed and make sure the paperwork on the tests we do on them go to the customer. Without the testing you can never be certain that even if a motor is rebuilt it will provide the power that is needed in a mine. It can be quite a deal if someone goes to all the trouble to install a motor in a mine and then find out it isn't capable of what they need."

Hinkins says they used to run two shifts in the plant, but now they have cut back to one because business "has slowed down a bit." Still they maintain a replacement service at a 24 hour a day pace if a mine needs something.

"These pumps are here ready to go if a mine has one fail or needs one," he said pointing to a group of over two dozen pumps in the shop. "If they have something fail we will take one of these out at any time and install it so the failed unit can be repaired."

Hinkins and his brothers come from a coal mining family, but also had a lot of agriculture in their blood as well. He credits his family and upbringing for a strong work ethic and willingness to try and succeed for he and his brothers success. Education also helped.

"I went to Utah Valley Technical College and actually roomed with John Houston while I was in Provo," he said. "That education was valuable."

At times his propensity as a state senator to use down home examples and to honestly relate comments to what he sees going on has gotten him in some trouble with the upstate media and his critics.

"I know I am not the most educated guy on the hill but I do know that I have been successful in running a business and doing many of the other things I have done," he said. "So you just have to develop a bit of a thick skin. I am now chair of the natural resources committee and that is exactly where I want to be."

While not everyone can agree with all of anyone else's politics, it's hard to argue with success.

And that is what the Hinkins' brothers have achieved over the years.

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