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COVER STORY After high school, he spent four years


working as a driver before starting his own company.With his $3,500 in savings, he made a down payment on a new, $19,700 Mack three-axle trailer with a cabover design and a sleeper.Business immediately was good.He and a fellow driver, DickGoodson, hardly left the truck for 30 straight days as they hauled for his first customer, McPherson Propane, from Wyoming andColorado into westernSouth Dakota. Temperatures were in the 30s during the first run and did not rise past 10 degrees in March. Meanwhile, he opened a home-based office where his wife, Kathryn, took care of a lot


of the paperwork and handed him things to do when he returned after his trips.After about a year-and-a-half, he moved the company into a rented office at a truck stop. McPherson Propane remained the


company’s only shipper for two years (and still is a customer today), but then Dixon began to expand.He bought another truck and started hauling fuel for Phillips 66.By the time the business was four years old, he had three trucks and three drivers. That fourth year was perhaps the company’s


most important. Late in 1964, the “brother” in DixonBrothers joined the company. Jerry


Dixon, his younger sibling, had earned a degree from theUniversity ofWyoming in petroleum engineering and possessed some of the accounting and paperwork skills that Dixon lacked.His presence enabled Dixon to spend more time working directly with customers, and it paid off. “I wanted somebody that could do some


of the office work,” he said. “I didn’t care for the office work. That freed me up to get out and around and do what I enjoyed doing. SoI brought him in, and we started growing a little more rapidly about that time.” The next few years were a time of growth,


but also challenges. In 1965, Dixon bought two more trucks and started hauling bulk cement forHalliburton in the oil fields around eastern Wyoming. In 1966, the company built the office and shop building it still calls home. In the late 1960s, it purchased three power units and three trailers and began hauling jet fuel toEllsworth Air ForceBase. That was a profitable client, but during that time period theAir Force three times shipped the bombers based there toGuam for about six months, meaning there was no jet fuel to haul. The company’s new investments could have sat idle, but the lulls coincided with road oil season, so Dixon found some new clients to make sure those units paid for themselves. “You could sit there on your hind end and cry and ask for help, or you could go out and knock on some doors and visit with some people and find some business, too,” he said. By the mid-1970s, DixonBrothers started


moving into other states. It purchased its first out-of-state company, this one inSouth Dakota, doubling its size and enabling it to expand its road oil and cement-hauling operations. In 1983, the company entered Montana with its purchase of Transystems, a division ofGreat Falls-basedRice Truck Lines, which opened the door toCanada. In 1989, the company purchased Northern Tank Lines, enabling it to haul freight in North Dakota and Minnesota. Every trucking company executive must


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figure out how to balance work and family. In the early years, Dixon had no choice but to be gone a lot from home, but he never lost sight of his priorities and was able to make sure that first things came first as the company grew. When he served as president of theWyoming TruckingAssociation in 1977-78, the annual state convention was being held inCheyenne at the same time his daughter’s grade school was holding a graduation party and dance.He drove home to participate in the festivities and then drove back to the convention the next morning. As the children grew up, they all worked odd jobs on the grounds and in the office and then


12 ROADWISE | ISSUE 6, 2012 | www.mttrucking.org


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