Monday, January 4, 2021

From manure to domes | Mike Hunter, Domtec International

Mike Hunter, Domtec Interntional
Based in Idaho Falls, Domtec International builds and sells domes all over the world, as storage buildings and as hurricane and tornado shelters. But the company's origins are in the dirt.

As a young, newly married man, Mike Hunter had purchased some farmland near Hamer. One day, while hauling manure from the feedlot pens and spreading it on the farm fields, he thought to himself there had to be a better way of making a living. He envisioned himself traveling the world making business deals. Hunter left the farm and tried his hand in sales, eventually finding himself working for a company that made dome potato storage units.

After the original owners decided to move to California, Mike and another employee of the company decided to break off and do their own business. They were successful, but within the first couple of years it was clear the partnership wasn't going to work long term.

His jumping-off point came when he was in Germany negotiating a deal. The German company wanted Hunter and his partner to be the general contractors, a role they had not previously played. When Hunter approached his partner about taking the role he said no. He decided to do it on his own, and Domtec International was born.

One of the biggest challenges that Hunter faces is finding, training and keeping staff to work on the domes, because they can be working on a project for months away from home.
When asked about whether or not a college degree is needed to have a successful business, he replied, “A university isn't the only place you can get an education if you're a hard worker, and if you really pay attention and if you're really observant. If you want to learn, if you're just naturally curious, and you'll try to learn what you have to learn, you can learn it.”

Domtec International frequently does work in foreign companies. The secret to success of working internationally is partnering with local experts. “If you know how to do it, it's not that hard. It was daunting but now that I've been through it several times it's not all that difficult,” Hunter said.

His advice to those considering self-employment is to believe in themselves and sell a product that other people need to solve their problems. “If you take the time and do the hard work to be an expert in that then it's just a matter of sticking with it and working it out,” he said.

He also advises business owners to embrace delayed gratification. Many of the profits that come from a business need to be reinvested into the business. Hunter likes to quote Dave Ramsey: “If you will live like nobody else then eventually you can live like nobody else.”

He admits he often felt like a fraud at the beginning of his business. “In time you start to get comfort in your own skin,” he said. In his own experience, and based on what he's heard from others, a little bit of fear is a good thing.

When asked what motivates him today, Hunter said, “I've met some great people in different parts of the world. That's probably what motivates me the most now.” He attributes much of his success to surrounding himself with amazing people that work for the company.

The future of Domtec includes bringing up new leadership. “As long as we are going forward and upwards that's all that counts,” he said. He admits that his days at Domtec are winding down and he's working on what his future days will look like on the golf course or in his backyard bird watching.
To find out more about Domtec, visit their website at

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Morgan Construction, ESI announce merger

Morgan Construction Inc., an Idaho Falls-based commercial general contractor founded in 1989, has announced it has merged with Boise-based ESI Construction, Idaho’s largest privately held general contractor. The transaction closed earlier this month. Morgan Construction will become Morgan Construction, LLC a Division of ESI.

Matt Morgan, founder of Morgan Construction, will continue as a business development and client relations executive with the new company, working alongside the ESI team as the two companies merge capabilities and employees.

“(We) believe this merger will enable us to serve our clients at an even higher level thanks to the resources that ESI brings to the table,” Morgan said in the press release announcing the merger. “In addition, this merger will give myself and my wife, Lynne, more time to focus on people and causes we’re passionate about in this new chapter of our lives moving forward.”

Morgan Construction is the developer involved with Jackson Hole Junction, on West Sunnyside Road near Exit 116 of Interstate 15. ESI has project experience in eastern Idaho, most recently doing work for Idaho National Laboratory, with whom they worked on joint venture projects such as the Collaborative Computing Center and Cybercore.

“This merger of two great companies allows ESI an exciting opportunity to support already established clients and new clients on exciting projects by enhancing our efficiency and response to a broader market. Idaho is our home and we want to be able to serve all communities throughout the Gem State as we grow together,” said ESI’s president and co-owner, Neil Nelson. "Developing eastern Idaho is important to ESI and Morgan Construction. Matt’s talented team will have the full support of ESI’s resources so we can continue to complete great projects for our clients.”

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Bank of Idaho opens wait list for Paycheck Protection Program applicants

Jeff Newgard
Bank of Idaho has announced the opening of a wait list for Idaho businesses interested in securing funds as part of the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) included in the COVID stimulus package passed by Congress.

Businesses affected by the pandemic are eligible to receive low-interest loans under this program and can submit their waitlist application at PPP loans may be eligible for full or partial forgiveness if the money is used for qualifying costs and depending on the specific rules of the program. As soon as this program goes live, Bank of Idaho will start assisting clients on its waitlist.
In the first round of PPP funding, Bank of Idaho secured $96 million for more than 1,000 Idaho business owners.

“The PPP is a true lifeline for small- to mid-sized businesses,” said Jeff Newgard, Bank of Idaho
president and CEO. “With the pandemic still in full force, now’s the time for businesses to take steps to secure their futures. By joining our waitlist now, business owners will be able to submit their applications as soon as the program goes live. Even if business owners worked with another institution for Round 1 funding, they can choose any bank they like for Round 2.”

Bank of Idaho has been committed to community – and Idaho businesses – for more than 35 years.
With total assets of $551 million and growing, the Idaho Falls-based bank presently has 10 full-service branches in operation across southern Idaho. In addition to retail and commercial banking, Bank of Idaho also offers a full spectrum of trust and investment services, along with mortgage lending. For more information, please visit or call (208) 524-5500.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Fall River Electric Co-op mails cashback checks

This week Fall River Electric Cooperative mailed cashback checks to more than 6,200 of its owner-members (customers) totaling just over $1 million dollars as part of its patronage capital program. Because Fall River Electric operates as a nonprofit cooperative, it is in fact owned by the customers it serves which the co-op refers to as owner-members. When revenues collected by the co-op exceed operating costs, those extra revenues become patronage capital, which is then disbursed to its owner-members on an approximate twenty-year cycle. This retirement cycle helps the cooperative achieve its ideal equity level which also helps the co-op obtain loans at lower interest rates which helps to keep electric rates to members lower.

Unlike an investor-owned utility that pays profits to stockholders, Fall River Electric’s patronage capital is a customer’s investment in the cooperative and is used in building new or maintaining existing infrastructure, including generation facilities, poles, wire, transformers, and substations. These cash back payments will be especially beneficial to members who have been impacted by this year’s pandemic and can be likened to an infusion of capital into our area’s economy just in advance of the holidays.

The amount of cash back that a member receives is based on how much electricity they purchased during the years being retired. This year, members are receiving patronage capital earned in 1999 and a portion of 2000.

According to Fall River Electric’s CEO/General Manager Bryan Case, “Cashback payments made
to our customers are a unique and tremendous benefit of being a member of our cooperative. It is made possible with the approval of our elected board of directors. They analyze the financial health of our cooperative and only pay out patronage capital when it is in the best interest of our entire membership.” Case added, “Fortunately our staff and management continue to do an outstanding job of managing our financial and physical resources, so our equity has dramatically improved in recent years, now at 45 percent, which is a significant contributing factor to the board’s ability to retire patronage capital to our owner-members.”

To learn more about Fall River Electric’s patronage capital program, visit

Idaho Falls YMCA receives $5,800 from Arby's Foundation

The local Arby’s affiliate has committed to allocate $5,800 from Arby’s national Make a Difference campaign to the Idaho Falls YMCA. The funds will go toward underserved youth and families through the YMCA's Scholarship Fund in its Early Learning, School Age, STEM, Summer Day Camp, Big Elk Creek Camp, and Youth Sports programs.

“Our Arby’s Foundation fund-raiser helps to ensure that every child in our community has the opportunity to reach their full potential.” said Arby's Franchisee Amanda Roberts of Kona Inc. “We’re thrilled to be able to give back and reinvest funds in Idaho Falls for such a significant cause.”

The donation is coming at a crucial moment for the Idaho Falls YMCA in this pandemic-wrought year.
“We feel so fortunate for the generosity of the Arby’s Foundation. The timing aligns perfectly with our Light Their Future fund-raising campaign,” said Idaho Falls YMCA CEO Monica Bitrick. “This year has been especially tough for our families, and because our typical, in-person community fund-raisers could not take place this year, we're grateful that benefactors like Arby’s have stepped in to lift us up.”

As part of the annual the Make a Difference in-restaurant fundraising campaign, Arby’s restaurants brought in more than $4 million this fall to support national organizations dedicated to providing kids the future they deserve. In 2020, the Foundation will grant more than $6 million to over 300 youth-serving non-profit organizations across the country. Nearly half will be reinvested locally in communities across America. Additional funds will be granted to Arby’s Foundation national non-profit partners: Big Brothers Big Sisters, No Kid Hungry and Junior Achievement (3DE) to support programs focused on childhood hunger, youth leadership and career readiness. The Arby’s Foundation will celebrate a major milestone this year – hitting the $100 million mark in total grants given since inception.