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Success Stories

Horatio Castillo and Maria Chavez were born and raised in the rural state of Michoacán, Mexico.  Both came from traditional families that valued hard work and authentic food.  Independently, they migrated to southern California as young adults seeking a better life.  After a few years in the hustling environment of Orange County, Horatio and his uncle took an eighteen-hour bus ride to Caldwell, Idaho, in search of employment opportunities in 1994.

“I still remember getting off the bus the morning we arrived, looking around and thinking, wow, this is it,” recalled Horatio.  “The open space, beautiful mountains and rural lifestyle was just what I was hoping for.”

It didn’t take long for Maria and her two daughters to join Horatio in Idaho.  Both Horatio and Maria found employment and began to save money.  “Our wages were not high, but we settled in and made ends meet,” said Maria.

Horatio worked at a number of different jobs while Maria started working at a local... Read More

Rural Firm with Global Presence: High Country Fusion

Some folks dream of the bright lights while others will make great sacrifices for the peaceful lifestyle found in a rural community.   Traditionally, manufacturers gravitate to industrial centers where they can benefit from the proximity to support services, especially if they plan to export products worldwide.  Well, High Country Fusion bucked that paradigm by blending their global business with a small-town atmosphere in rural Fairfield, Idaho.


High Country Fusion was formed in 1994 by Steve Wilson and his step-son, David Hanks, to provide fused high density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) in all shapes and sizes.  The two had been working together for a similar company that had been sold, so they decided they would take on a new challenge of starting their own business.


On a vacation in central Idaho, the family fell in love with clean air, recreational opportunities and slower paced lifestyle. So in June of 1994, Wilson and Hanks moved High Country... Read More

Our Theme is Team at Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill

Dan Todd has always thrived in a team-oriented atmosphere.  At a young age, he was introduced to team sports and his passion for the athletic camaraderie continued into college.  At home, his father regularly socialized with fellow small business owners and their conversations would always migrate to ideas of how they might collaborate on various projects.  The Todd family regularly vacationed at Henry’s Lake, Idaho to spend time at Henry’s Lake Lodge which was owned by Dan’s parents.


Dan’s family moved to Ketchum, Idaho in 1992.  Shortly after their arrival, Dan’s brother and father opened the first Smoky Mountain restaurant as they recognized the need for an affordable family friendly restaurant to serve both visitors and the local clientele of Sun Valley and Ketchum.  Due to the hard work of the dedicated team that originated the first Smoky Mountain, the restaurant quickly became a popular local eatery.


In 1995, Dan was completing a Human... Read More

2012 National Minority Small Business Person of the Year

Kaleo Nawahine grew up in a very secure home on the Island of Oahu, the son of an educator and a nurse.  He spent his youth surrounded by his extended family enjoying all the regular activities available to Hawaiian children.   Education was emphasized in his home so there was never any doubt in his mind that upon graduation from high school he would go to college and eventually find a secure job of his own.

Just as he had scripted, the calculating Nawahine earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and his master’s in engineering management from Brigham Young University in Utah.  Fresh out of college, Kaleo landed his first job as a project manager with a manufacturing company in rural Fruitland, Idaho.  After two years, he accepted a position as a project manager with a cement and building materials manufacturer and over the next five years, Kaleo had the opportunity to get acquainted with many of his entrepreneurial clients.

“As I interacted with our... Read More