By Antoinette Rahn, Managing Editor
From the Editor: We are connecting with our regular advertisers during this time of self-quarantine in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, to learn how they are spending this time and to learn a bit more about them and their business.
Some things truly stand the test of time. When Covington Engineering, a leading manufacturer of lapidary and glass equipment, opened its doors in 1848, James Polk was the 11th U.S. President, the California Gold Rush had not yet taken place, but news of the discovery of gold in the American River was beginning to spread, and by December of 1848 President Polk would formally announce the development during his address to Congress, and last but not least, the patent for the ice cream freezer was filed, as well as countless other successes and challenges.
Through it all and the many more advancements, setbacks, discoveries, conflicts, celebrations, and noted and unspoken examples of survival that have shaped the world in the past 172 years, Covington Engineering has observed, contributed to advancement, and continued along the path of progress. In fact, just prior to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company completed one of the most significant strides in its journey, relocating from the place of its origins, Redlands, Calif., to Meridian, Idaho.
New Chapter, Same Commitment to Service
The move, as explained by Ashlee Emoto, general manager of Covington Engineering, will allow the company to continue doing what they love and serves the needs of customers around the world for years to come. When asked what type of work the team at Covington does, the response may be simple, “we are the manufacturer of Covington equipment,” but what that encompasses is extensive. In terms of lapidary machinery, there is a line of flat laps, grinder and polisher devices, tumblers, gem drills, trim, and slab saw units and combination units that allow users to cut, trim, grind, among other techniques, with a single piece of machinery. Plus, Covington sells an assortment of supplies and tools that aid lapidaries in their efforts to bring out the shine in geologic treasures and create unique jewelry and art.
“We have a full machine shop to fabricate and machine our parts into the machines our customers know and love,” Emoto said.
That commitment to quality workmanship, as well as consistent, efficient, and mindful service to customers, employees, and community, is at the core of what Covington does, and who they are, especially during this time in the world’s history.
Precautions and Progress
While the company has ceased its walk-in service during this time of self-isolation and social distancing, the Covington team continues to take and fill orders submitted through its website and via phone, while utilizing new protocols, Emoto explained.
“Since these are unprecedented times, we are taking unprecedented measures here at Covington to continue production while keeping our employees and their families safe. Some of our employees are able to work from home, which has been a true blessing. We have also kept a skeleton crew on at our shop in order to continue shipping out orders and producing,” said Emoto, who cited the fact that many of the customers utilize the equipment and supplies they provide to complete work they do from home. In addition, among Covington's customers are various agencies that serve the nation at large.
“We also supply essential government, medical, and oil industries with equipment, and therefore it is important that we take measures to continue production and supply our customers with goods so they can continue producing in their businesses,” she added.
In terms of something to look forward to, Emoto said once it is safe for people to interact and gather in person, the company will hold a grand opening celebration in its new location in Idaho.
Always Looking to Improve and Be Inspired
We asked Ms. Emoto a few additional questions, to learn more about Covington, and its aim of manufacturing high-quality machinery and providing top-notch service.
Rock & Gem: Who or what is one of the greatest sources of inspiration for you, and why?
Ashlee Emoto: Our inspiration for new equipment and updated designs comes from many sources, including rockhounds, hobbyists, and artists alike. We are always looking for ways to make our product better and bring work in house to reduce costs.
RG: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
AE: We at Covington believe in the adage “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” As
rockhounds, we are always looking for the best and fastest way to finish a piece. Sometimes a “tried and true” method just won’t work to polish that unique piece we find in our travels. When that happens, we look back at our steps and take a data-based approach. What did I do with this piece? What can I try differently to get a better result? We log our attempts, and eventually, through some trial and error, we find the best way to get that polish. We believe a little hard work and a lot of determination go a long way!
RG: What is one thing for which you are most grateful?
AE: We at Covington are most grateful that our move is complete and that it all happened before things started taking a turn for the worse with COVID-19. We are also so grateful for a new building with ample space and opportunity for growth.
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