How did EPC end up in Idaho?

Category: Company News

Why Sandpoint, Idaho?

Check out our open positions and apply online!

“Idaho, huh? So how far are you from Des Moines?”
“About 1,500 miles. Des Moines is in Iowa. Idaho borders Canada, between Montana and Washington State.” 

Ask any Idahoan about crazy questions we’ve gotten about our home state, and you’ll hear some amusing stories about confused people. Aside from the ever-popular, “Where’s Idaho?” these are some actual questions we’ve heard:

“Idaho? Is that a state?” – Yep. Since 1890!

“Is Idaho mostly farmland?” – No, Idaho is mostly uninhabitable, mountainous wilderness. If Idaho were flat, it’d be the biggest state in the Lower 48. 

“Do you guys have indoor plumbing?” – Yes, yes we do.

(It’s not all woefully uninformed people, though; for the record, that Des Moines question came from a staffer for a US Senator.) 

where EPC is on USA map

EPC and Sandpoint – a perfect union!

So how did Encoder Products Company (EPC), North America’s largest privately-held encoder manufacturer, end up in this little-known, but beautiful corner of the US, just 60 miles south of the Canadian border?

Well, when company founder Bill Watt was ready to take his fledgling rotary-encoder manufacturing company out of his house in California, he wanted to come home. As a native of Sandpoint, Bill knew that Idaho was – and is – a very business-friendly state. 

“We knew the Sandpoint community had a great work ethic – all those people from hard-working farm families – and a great quality of life. Plus, my wife and I wanted to move our family back home and raise our children here. And,” he adds smiling, “I loved to fish.”
Almost 50 years later, EPC employees are glad he came back! We get to work and live in beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho, one of USA Todays’s 10 Picture-Perfect Mountain Towns.

Why People Love Working at EPC

 Bruno Wilson, Mechanical Engineer, has this to say about EPC and its location: “When I first started looking at EPC, I was surprised that I could work in my field and get to live in a place where I can hunt, fish, ski, kayak, etc., practically out my back door. At EPC, work/life balance is part of the corporate culture. I have a career in engineering, with a great company, while still enjoying the great outdoors of North Idaho, Montana, Washington, and even Canada. We are surrounded by national forests, mountains, and pristine lakes and rivers.”

Just like Bill Watt, Cody Swisher, Electrical Engineer, wanted to return to North Idaho to settle down. “I’m from this area, and when I finished college, I  knew I wanted to come home. There were positions all over the country at the time, but you just can’t get the same quality of life in Chicago or Seattle that you can get here – in Sandpoint and at EPC.”

Quality of life, and our exceptional work/life balance, was what attracted Penny Farmin to EPC. Penny, now EPC’s Production Manager, literally started off in the mailroom… in 1984. 

“My first job at EPC was stuffing literature into envelopes. I worked here as a single mom, and EPC allowed me to participate in my children’s lives, and to take time off when they needed me, yet they still recognized my hard work and commitment, and  I’ve been able to advance in the company. Bill Watt created a great company here, in an area where people want to live, but where we needed better-paying jobs,” Penny continues. “I was born here, and I didn’t want to leave. It’s been wonderful watching EPC grow over the years, offering good jobs that contribute to our area’s economy.”

Penny’s not the only one who has stayed with EPC for decades. There are employees here – in every department, from Production to Engineering to Sales – who have worked here 10, 20, 30, even 40 years. And EPC is still growing! We’re always accepting resumes. Check out our careers page for current openings. 

Ready to try living in Paradise?

If you’re ready to leave behind traffic jams, long commutes, and the hectic pace of big-city life, EPC and Sandpoint might be right for you. In this little corner of the Rocky Mountains, there is plenty to do while still getting the job done! 

If you’re into outdoor adventure, we’ve got four seasons of fun. From our world-class ski resort, to famous Lake Pend Oreille, to biking/running/hiking trails, you will never be bored. We also have some of the best restaurants you’ll find, micro-breweries, wineries, a thriving arts community, and live music year-round. And of course, you won’t want to miss Lost in the 50s or the Festival at Sandpoint.   

Sandpoint also has excellent schools, a wide variety of activities for kids, and is a very family-friendly community. If you’re ready for a change of lifestyle, Sandpoint is ready for you! Check out our open positions!

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