Business Spotlight: Mountain West Optical


Vision. That’s what Terry Tranmer had in 1984 while employed by a lab that made glasses in Salt Lake City. He’d started in the optical business 12 years previously, working with a true artisan who trained him in the art of making eyewear. Tranmer decided he wanted to start his own lens manufacturing business because no two person’s eyewear needs are the same.  He moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, and opened Mountain West Optical in the Lynwood Plaza.

Mountain West Optical specializes in custom-made eyewear as unique as each individual. By focusing on a customer’s needs, wants, personality, occupation, and hobbies, it goes a long way toward the proper eyewear and perfect fit. Other optical businesses come to Tranmer when they have difficulty matching a customers’ request with the type of prescription lenses they need.

The staff are trained, certified, and licensed opticians who are experienced in the true art of making and fitting exceptional eyewear. They offer customers a large selection of high-quality frames and lens materials for every lifestyle. Specialty products include swim and ski goggles, prescription scuba masks, custom reading glasses, bike and motorcycle eyewear, and creating ballistic eyewear for Oakley.

Tranmer’s vision continued to expand.

In 2001, he built a new building for Mountain West Optical on the corner of North College Road and Fillmore Street. Its Southwest architecture sets it apart from the “big box” stores and conveys the message of “local owner, local store, and customized eyewear.”

In 2016, Tranmer invested in digital machinery to modernize his manufacturing of eyewear. The equipment provides more accuracy and has helped Mountain West Optical supply industry-specific glasses to other optical businesses, both locally and across the United States.

Also in 2016, Tranmer switched to PMT for his fiber Internet, phone and TV services. Many of the reasons for this change are also the hallmarks of his business — reliability, local customer service, and up-to-date technology. PMT provides a much faster and more consistent Internet speed than their previous provider, and the 100×20 internet circuit allows the manufacturing companies that work with Mountain West Optical to communicate seamlessly as well as quickly create and check on orders.

“I’m very pleased with PMT and how they support my business. They know our communication needs and help us create a network so we can be successful every day. I know if there’s ever an issue, I can call PMT and talk to a local person to get it promptly resolved,” states Tranmer.

Here’s to Mountain West Optical and its clear outlook on the future!

PMT Foundation Awards Over $15,000 in Community Grants

The PMT Foundation awarded over $15,000 to organizations in the Magic Valley, each seeking to help sustain and improve our community.

“Once again we received grant applications from many worthwhile and deserving organizations from all across the area served by PMT,” states Marianne Welch, PMT Foundation Chairman. “We are pleased to announce our 2019 grant recipients and wish them continued success in their efforts to positively impact many in the communities they serve in the Magic Valley.”

As a customer-owned cooperative, Project Mutual Telephone (PMT) pays patronage dividends back to customers every year based on services used. When those monies go unclaimed for a number of years, they are transferred over to the PMT Foundation, which focuses on furthering education through a scholarship program and supporting community projects through grant awards.

The 2019 recipients were:

  • Oakley Valley Senior Citizens – $4,000 – To purchase tables and chairs for the Heritage Center, as the number of seniors using the center continues to rise.
  • Mini-Cassia Shelter – $3,500 – To replace aged appliances in the safe house
  • Friends of the DeMary Library – $2,534 – To install a set of Handicap Automatic Door Openers on the west side of the Library.
  • Mini-Cassia Search and Rescue – $2,500 – To purchase thermal imagers to help aid in search and rescue missions.  The thermal imagers are useful in that they can expedite searches as they work in the dark, and in inclement weather.
  • Wilson Theatre – $2,500 – To purchase a scrim screen to project scenery on the stage for plays, concerts and productions.

PMT Grant Applications are awarded once a year and will become available again in the summer of 2020.

About PMT Foundation

The PMT Foundation was created in 2006 by the PMT Board of Directors as a charitable foundation. The Foundation helps further education in communities served by PMT through its scholarship program.  It also supports projects and programs that sustain and improve those communities.

About PMT 

Project Mutual Telephone (PMT) is a full-service communications company providing local telephone and its associated features, including long distance and voicemail, cell phone service, cable TV, IPTV, high-speed internet, directory publishing and computer networking and repair for home and office.  Headquartered in Rupert, Idaho, PMT has been serving the Magic Valley since 1916.  PMT serves 8,000 member customers and has offices in Rupert, Burley and Twin Falls, ID.  For more information, see

Past Recipients

2018 PMT Foundation Grant Recipients

2017 PMT Foundation Grant Recipients

Automatically Finding the Best WiFi!

Automatically Finding the Best Wi-Fi Signal Wherever You Are In Your Home

We know how important it is for you to have a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. That’s why many modern gateways (also known as routers, modems or access points) have powerful features designed to help you get the strong connections you want. Here are two of them:

Band steering: keeping you on the road less traveled.

Imagine a single lane highway that carries all the traffic both in, and out of, a town. If it’s a fair-sized town, that road could get pretty congested at times, and vehicles traveling on it can interfere with each other.

Now imagine if that same road was widened into two lanes. Congestion would be halved, and it would be able to carry twice as much traffic.

Wi-Fi is a lot like that.

In the beginning, there was only one Wi-Fi frequency: 2.4 GHz—a single road. As Wi-Fi became more popular, the 5 GHz band was introduced, doubling the amount of traffic a Wi-Fi network can handle.

Older devices can still only operate on the 2.4 GHz band, but newer ones can operate on both. However, in most cases, the device chooses the band. For example, your brand new phone might stay on the 2.4 GHz band as long as it can connect to it, even though there may be less congestion on the 5 GHz band. It will only switch to the 5 GHz band if you tell it to or if it can no longer connect to the 2.4 GHz band.

Some modern gateways don’t leave the choice up to your devices. They monitor how much traffic there is on the 2.4 GHz band and, if it’s too congested, will steer your devices to the less traveled 5 GHz band. Of course, if you still have old devices that can only connect on 2.4 GHz, these gateways will leave them where they are.

Node steering: finding you the best connection.

If you’ve installed a MiHome, a Whole Home Wi-Fi solution from PMT, in your residence, you may have one or more smaller boxes in different parts of your home. These units ‘mesh’ together to expand your Wi-Fi coverage across your entire property—perhaps even to your garage and front and back yards. They receive the signal from your primary gateway and transmit it further afield. In this situation, both the gateway and each of your additional units are referred to as “nodes”.

When you move around with your devices, you’ll move away from your primary gateway and towards one of the other units. Or you may move from one unit’s coverage area to another. In each case, the system will automatically steer—or switch—your devices to the gateway or unit that delivers the strongest signal. You don’t have to do a thing.

Community Donations

PMT is committed to serving the residents of Southern Idaho, and our dedication to this area is fundamental to who we are as a customer-owned company.  Unlike our national competitors, we care about more than just making a profit.  We are making a difference.  Here are some recent contributions PMT has made in the community:


Rupert 4th of July – $5,000

PMT was a major sponsor of the Rupert 4th of July Celebration. The money was used for the free entertainment and concerts in the Rupert Square.

“On behalf of the Rupert 4th of July Committee, I thank you so much for the continued support!  We know we are so lucky to have a company like PMT in our community that goes the extra mile to give back. We are grateful for the PMT employees and for their hard work to help make this a great community event! Thanks so much,” said Alan Johnson, Rupert 4th of July Committee Member.

St. Luke’s Golf Scramble – $1,500

St. Luke’s Magic Valley Heath Foundation puts on an annual golf scramble to raise funds to help improve the health of people in our region. The money earned from this year’s scramble benefited the Magic Valley Children with Special Needs Fund.

Magic Valley Folk Festival Youth Cultural Day – $1,000

International dancers will be arriving and performing in the Mini-Cassia area July 22- 27 as part of the Magic Valley Folk Festival. PMT is co-sponsoring the Youth Cultural Day on July 24 at Burley High School. This event is free to children of all ages. Small groups rotate to participate in workshops presented by our international guests. They see dances and costumes, hear different languages, learn about the different countries and cultures and ask LOTS of questions. Each child in attendance is given a “passport” with a page for each country they visit throughout the day. At the end of each presentation, there’s time for the dancers to sign the children’s passports. This is a day that you and your children will never forget! To learn more, visit

Women at the Wilson Conference – $700

This two-day conference on June 14 and 15 had participants laughing, crying and celebrating womanhood. Participants enjoyed inspiring speakers, entertainment and good food. The keynote speaker was Detective Ellis Maxwell, the lead detective from the Susan and Josh Powell disappearance case and the COLD podcast from KSL. Detective Maxwell addressed domestic violence and the podcast. Participants left feeling inspired to seek light, life, beauty and more purpose.

Minidoka Health Care Foundation Annual Golf Tournament – $500

PMT is a major sponsor of the 21st Annual Minidoka Health Care Foundation’s Annual Golf Tournament. The money raised from the scramble benefits the nonprofit Foundation to promote quality health care in Minidoka County.

Goose Creek Run-Off – $300

The Oakley Recreation District is holding their 34th Annual Goose Creek Run-Off on July 20, 2019. The run features a wide array of participants ranging from seasoned runners to individuals simply looking for a fun day with friends. The funds raised from the run help benefit the Oakley Recreation District maintain and manage the Oakley swimming pool and other recreational activities in the Oakley Valley.  To learn more about the race,

Wee Links – $200

Wee Links is a six-hole youth focused golf facility located adjacent to the Rupert Elk Lodge. The $200 donation goes towards helping keep operating costs low at the facility, so all youth have an opportunity to play with minimal green fees and club rentals.

Business Spotlight: Idaho Equipment and Sheet Metal

If you eat food, there’s a high probability that at some point you’ve eaten a product that’s come from Idaho Equipment and Sheet Metal (IESM) equipment. In 1982 Ron Jensen started IESM in Rupert, Idaho. In 2012 Shane Kloer, Bud Jensen and Justin Young bought the business, and with the foundation work laid by Ron, have been expanding into their niche market ever since, allowing them to build an additional facility in Nampa.   

IESM is a one-stop shop for custom food processing solutions for food manufacturers. From the beginning of an idea to installation, IESM works with their customers to design, engineer, machine and fabricate equipment to be installed in food manufacturing facilities both locally and across the globe.

“We take pride in the continuous improvement process we’ve developed to provide a quality work environment for our employees and products for our customers,” states Bud Jensen. “From remodeling our building, to providing a good work culture, to embracing the latest technology, it all ties together. If we can do 1% better than the day before, that adds up every day and compounds year over year, and we’ve seen the positive yields it brings to our company.”   

Recently PMT was able to build our fiber optic network out to IESM, and the company jumped at the chance to connect to PMT fiber Internet and upgrade their phone system to keep improving their communications.  “Now we can seamlessly connect to our office in Nampa,” states Kloer. “In a matter of seconds, we can transfer large files between our offices as if they were next door.  There’s no wait time or lost productivity.” 

PMT is happy to be able to help IESM continually enhance their communications and run efficiently as possible.

PMT Foundation Accepting Grant Applications

The PMT Foundation is seeking applications from organizations in the Magic Valley to receive financial funds that help support, sustain and improve our community.  Favorable consideration will be given to:

  • Projects that reach a broader segment of the community.
  • Requests for seed money to realize unusual opportunities that meet urgent to special needs in the community.
  • Stimulate and encourage additional funding for community projects.
  • Promote cooperation and partnerships within the community.

The deadline to submit grant applications is August 16, 2019.

Application forms are available at or PMT offices in Burley or Rupert.

For more information contact Rick Harder at (208) 434-7124.

About the PMT Foundation

The PMT Foundation was created in 2006 by the PMT Board of Directors as a charitable foundation. The Foundation furthers education in communities served by Project Mutual Telephone through its scholarship program, and supports projects and programs that sustain and improve those communities.

To date, the Foundation has helped over 48 area students with funding to further their education beyond high school by continuing the scholarship tradition that PMT established in 1990.  The Foundation has contributed over $190,000 in grant awards to community organizations that help sustain and improve our local community through various projects.


2017 Recipients

2018 Recipients

PMT Foundation Awards $8000 in Scholarships to Local Students

Four Magic Valley graduates will each be awarded a $2000 PMT Foundation Scholarship. They are Carol Blauer of Burley, Makenzy Whittekiend of Wendell, and Rylee Carter and Cassie Beene both of Rupert. All four showed outstanding academic performance, as well as exemplary community and extra-curricular involvement and dedication to their future education.

“Once again our pool of scholarship applicants was outstanding.  With that said, these four students really stood out to all members of our selection committee.  On behalf of the PMT Foundation board members I’d like to congratulate our four $2000 scholarship recipients and wish them much success in their college endeavors,” said PMT Foundation Board Chairman Marianne Welch. In the past 29 years, PMT, and now the PMT Foundation, have awarded $132,500 in scholarships to our communities’ children. The four recipients are from across the Magic Valley.

Carol Blauer is a hard-working graduate from Burley High School, who maintained a 4.0 GPA while being involved in many extra-curricular activities, sports, clubs, as well as working outside of school. Carol was an active member of the National Honors Society, Health Occupations Students of America, and Future Farmers of America, as well as participating in volleyball, track and basketball for BHS. She plans on attending the Brigham Young University this fall, working towards becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner by obtaining a Master of Science Degree in Nursing.

Makenzy Whittekiend is a dedicated student from Hagerman High School with a 3.97 GPA. Makenzy took a challenging course load, taking many dual-credit classes during her high school career, as well as being highly involved in FFA, where she was an active leader in her chapter and received state and national awards.  In addition to her schooling, club involvement and volunteer work, Mackenzy also worked part time throughout her high school years.  She plans on finishing her Associate’s Degree at the College of Southern Idaho majoring in Natural Resource Management and Geographic Information Systems, then transferring to Utah State University to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management.

Cassie Beene of Rupert is a dedicated student who finished her high school career with a 3.94 GPA and 41 college credits. Cassie was an active participant in FFA and 4-H where she held many offices in both organizations.  In addition, she volunteered many hours in her community and worked part-time at the Rupert Animal Clinic. She plans on attending the College of Idaho where she will finish her Associate’s Degree in Agriculture Business and then transfer to Montana State University to get a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Business with a minor in Animal Science.

Rylee Carter graduated top of her class at Minico High School where she worked hard during her high school career taking challenging courses while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  She’s been involved in the National Honor Society, Spartan Singers and Science Club.  She has also volunteered her time outside of school, as well as working part time. Rylee plans to attend Idaho State University and will major in secondary education with a focus on mathematics.

In its 13th year of existence, the PMT Foundation’s creation was authorized by the PMT Board of Directors as a charitable foundation for the purposes of supporting worthy community projects and educational scholarships. The PMT Foundation furthers education in communities served by PMT through its scholarship program and supports projects and programs that sustain and improve those communities through community grants.

The 2019 PMT Foundation board members are Marianne Welch, Chairman; Jim Evans, Vice-Chairman; Rick Harder, Secretary;  LaLanne Delis, Alan Johnson, Patty Temple, Jennie Schow, and Diana Warburton.

You’re Invited to Our Customer Appreciation Celebration

We hope you and your family will join us for the festivities at the PMT Rupert office, which will include:

  • Hot dogs and other free food
  • Fun games for the young and young-at-heart
  • Cool giveaways for all attendees
  • Great prizes for lucky drawing winners
  • Warm smiles from friends and neighbors

See you on June 28th and thanks again!

Business Spotlight: Twin Falls Escape Rooms and Ford Family Eye Care, PC

Drs. Edward and Tonya Ford are husband and wife, optometrists, and business partners. Together they own and operate the Twin Falls Escape Rooms and Ford Family Eye Care.

PMT first started working with the couple when they opened the Twin Falls Escape Rooms at 826 Blue Lakes Blvd. N. in Twin Falls. Each of the three escape rooms offer entertainment and fun for all ages. Participants are encouraged to collaborate with each other to solve a series of puzzles, locks and riddles with the goal of escaping the room and/or completing a specific task in the allotted one-hour time limit. You can book a time to escape the “The Neighbors,” “The Zombie Apocalypse” or the “Silver City Bank Heist” by visiting

The Twin Falls Escapes Rooms rely heavily on the Internet to make sure everything runs smoothly. The Fords chose PMT’s dedicated fiber Internet so they can confidently take orders/bookings online, monitor their security system, and check in on equipment to make sure it’s functioning properly.

“Our experience with PMT and our Internet connection at the Twin Falls Escape Rooms was so good that we decided to switch our services with Ford Family Eye Care to PMT as well,” stated Dr. Edward Ford.

Earlier this year, Drs. Ford moved Ford Family Eye Care to their new state-of-the-art office at 2139 Village Park Avenue. The goal of the practice is to enhance their patient’s lives by providing reassurance, improving and maintaining vision, and preventing blindness through treatment and education. Drs. Ford take an individualized approach to each patient by providing personalized eye exams and selection of eyeglass frames and lenses as well as contacts. Patient needs are their top priority, and they work diligently to help their patients see their best. You may see either of them by calling (208) 736-2020.

When Ford Family Eye Care moved into its new office, it needed new telecommunications services. PMT is pleased to provide future-proof fiber Internet plus a phone system and SIP trunks that are more reliable than VoIP and offer the flexibility of a PBX phone system.

By delivering secure and reliable connections to Twin Falls Escape Rooms and Ford Family Eye Care, PMT is enabling the Fords to confidently run their businesses whether they’re in the office or at any other locations with an Internet connection.

What is the Ideal Placement Scenario for your Wi-Fi Router?

To enjoy the best possible online experience, your router needs to be able to send out a strong signal to your wireless devices, wherever you are in your home. In general, the signal gets weak­er the farther you are from your Wi-Fi router. If possible, you should place the Wi-Fi router on a shelf. The ideal position is half-way between the floor and the ceiling.

The physical features of your house may also contribute to Wi-Fi coverage issues. For example, walls made from concrete or brick, or with steel studs behind the drywall, can block some — or all — of your Wi-Fi signal.

Metal surfaces can also weaken your Wi-Fi signal, so placing your router in a kitchen or laundry room (where there might be a lot of metal appliances) is not a good idea.

Finally, one of the most obstructive materials for Wi-Fi signals is a mirror. If you have a sizeable mirror near your Wi-Fi router, it may negatively impact Wi-Fi performance.

If you are experiencing Wi-Fi issues, try moving your Wi-Fi router to a different room in your house. Or, consider adding  PMT MiHome  to improve the coverage to all areas in your home.