From basement to booming
Purkeys expands with help from Rural Fast Track Grant
By Robert Stevens
Aug. 31, 2017
MANTI—A business born in a Manti basement that merged with its main client, has grown significantly and now is being recognized with a Rural Fast Track Grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Kevin Christensen, director of economic development for Sanpete County, says the $50,000 grant helped Purkeys, a trucking electronics company, put a 3,600-square-foot addition on its building at 645 S. 300 West.
“Purkeys is a great example of what entrepreneurship and hard work can accomplish,” Christensen says. “It proves that high-tech engineering and manufacturing entities can succeed in rural Sanpete. We need more companies like Purkeys.”
The Sanpete County arm of Purkeys Sanpete had humble beginnings.
Dale Henningson, who has a degree in electrical engineering from Utah State University, founded Quantum Ingenuities in 2004. In the early days, Henningson employed his father and sister to help him create electrical systems for various clients, mostly in the trucking industry.
Henningson, who worked for years at the now-defunct Auto Meter plant in Ephraim, says he went through a lot of ups and downs in those first years, but it was worth it to live and work in his hometown of Manti.
“The biggest hurdle was getting started,” Henningson says. “Having my old job (at Auto Meter) fall out from under me was the incentive I needed to get started.”
By 2012, the Six County Association of Governments had named Quantum Ingenuities the Sanpete County Business of the Year.
Two years later, the company merged with Purkeys Fleet Electric of Lowell, Ark., founded in 1990 by Bruce Purkey. Purkeys “provides product solutions to charge and protect batteries—and other cool stuff—on big trucks,” Henningson says.
After the merger, the business shortened its name to Purkeys. The Manti location, run by Henningson, who has the title, chief research engineer, does product engineering, manufactures electrical components and tests the components. The Arkansas site assembles the final products and ships them to customers.
Fast forward to now, and the business is booming, Henningson says. The Manti location employs 16 people, and the company as a whole employs more than 60.
The addition to the bulding gives Purkeys of Manti a lot more room to breathe Henningson says, and room to expand its product testing capabilities.
Construction of the addition itself has pumped money into the local economy, with materials coming from C.O. Buildings of Ephraim and construction being done by Rick Christensen of Manti, who used local subcontractors.
When Henningson originally bought the Purkeys location property from Manti City, he purchased enough property so he could expand not once, but twice, and he says he hopes for more growth in the future.
“We want to see Purkeys continue to grow as we listen to our customers and provide new product solutions for them,” Henningson says, “and we want Purkeys to be the best place to work in Manti, Utah and in Lowell, Arkansas.
The Rural Fast Track Grant Program provides capital funding to companies in rural Utah that have good financial histories. The goal of the program is to help the companies create jobs and thereby stimulate economic development.