Founders

History

 

In April of 1920, Bill Hopper and several partners opened the doors of Gem State Electric, the first electric motor repair shop in the state of Idaho. Located on 10th Street in Boise, between Idaho and Bannock, the company led the way in servicing the electric motor and control needs of Southern Idaho. Gem State Electric, to this date, holds the oldest electrical license in Idaho. Several years later, Bill bought out his partners and became the sole proprietor of the young company. Over the years Gem State Electric grew and served the Treasure Valley area with pride. Not only was Bill a pioneer in the industry but, in one way or another, he hired and trained many of the people who would go on to open their own businesses and become his competitors.

In 1937 Bill hired Dick Lockwood who eventually became Bill’s partner in the venture. Bill remained active in the day-to-day operations of the company until his death in 1957. The company was then run by Bill’s son-in-law Walt Wallich and his partner Dick Lockwood. After many years at the original location the operation had been moved to714 Grove Street.

In 1980 Walt’s eye-sight began to fail and he decided to retire. Dick Lockwood took on three partners: Rob Kimbro, Ken Eichelburger and Mike Lockwood, Dick’s oldest son. The partnership was incorporated in 1982 and the company was relocated to112 W 32nd Streetin Garden City. In 1985 Rob Kimbro sold his interest in the company. Dick continued to be active in the company for 57 years. In 1992 he passed away, working until two weeks before his death. When Ken Eichelburger suddenly died of a heart attack in 1995 Mike Lockwood found himself the sole proprietor of Gem State Electric. Mike continues with the company to this day.

In 2005 he invited Jerry Finnegan to join him as a new partner. Since then, the company has once again become a major force in the electric motor, pump and control industry in Southwestern Idaho. Gem State Electric quickly outgrew its building and relocated, in March of 2011, to its current site at 112 E. 45th Street, still in Garden City.

The company does mechanical repair of motors, centrifugal and submersible pumps and related equipment. Electric motor and generator rewinds are still a staple of the repair shop along with field-service troubleshooting and repairs. Additional services include dynamic balancing, precision laser shaft alignment, Infra-Red Thermography, control trouble shooting and a wide variety of sales.