Charles & Cheryl Reeve | It’s the Small Things That Count
As far as business locations go, Chuck and Cheryl Reeve’s Hurricane Electronics Labs is about as unassuming as they come. A two-story cinderblock building. A single entrance with the address taped to the front door, handwritten with marker. In front is a narrow gravel parking lot.
Inside Chuck greets us with a warm handshake. Cheryl is right behind him. They look at each other affectionately as they show the ins-and-outs of their facility. They finish each other’s sentences and segway back and forth as if they had their own telekinetic language.
Cheryl points out a variety of inductors they have made. Chuck explains the inductor is in every electronic device that plugs into an outlet or a charging port. Without an inductor the device would burn up when it was plugged in. With an inductor, it sips the power, and more importantly, doesn’t burn up. It is like the brick in the construction industry. Very simple and very common.
As far as electronic components go, the inductor is about as simple as they come. Chuck and Cheryl mention that their inductors are in everything from the space shuttle, to ultrasound machines, to a toaster.
Because they didn’t have a lot of money to invest in the beginning, Chuck decided to go with something that is labor intensive rather than expensive to manufacture.
“It was when I first sat down and started making these that I figured out I could make 30 in an hour,” Chuck reminisces. “I realized that we could make our business. That we would be OK.” .
“When we started in 1980, it was a difficult time for people to make a living in Southern Utah,” Cheryl adds. “There weren’t a lot of high paying jobs. We were able to employ 47 people at one time, and support an entire cottage industry of contractors that were willing to make parts for us out of their own homes.”
As simple as the tiny inductor is, the Reeves are just as excited about what they produce as they must have been on day one.
When asked for an estimate of how many pieces they have produced over the years, Chuck smiles and puts together an estimate, “We’ve probably made close to 100 million coils.”
Cheryl reaches into a box and pulls out an inductor
“These are probably our favorite. These were the first type Chuck made,” she says. It is then that everything snaps into focus. From that first day in business, until today; in a small way, each tiny inductor made, provides a tiny opportunity for someone to make a living. To build up a community. To add value to mankind. To make something better. When done over 100 million times, Chuck and Cheryl still get excited about the huge difference they’re making in so many tiny little ways.