One of the less reported sports stories of 2018 involved a marathon runner from Kenya named Eliud Kipchoge. Kipchoge has dominated the sport in recent years, and back in the fall he set a new world record in the marathon with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute, and 39 seconds. Similar to the four-minute mile barrier that nobody believed was possible until Roger Bannister eclipsed it in back in 1954, the two-hour marathon is a mythical number that until now, nobody thought was possible. Now it seems this incredible runner from Kenya has it within his sights. Maybe 2019 will be the year he breaks it!
Eliud Kipchoge is not just a great runner. He also is an accomplished public speaker who is attributed with several inspirational quotes. One of my favorites is, “Only the disciplined ones in life are free. If you are undisciplined, you are a slave to your moods and passions.” How disciplined is Kipchoge? He has fifteen notebooks filled, one for each year since 2003, with notes from every training run he has taken since he took the sport seriously. One of my resolutions for 2019 is to try my best to be more disciplined. I can certainly use Eliud Kipchoge as inspiration in my quest.
I believe one of the things that makes Dixon successful is discipline. As I reflect on the year 2018 at Dixon, I see a year filled with challenges. We saw a disagreement on international commerce turn into a trade war which caused turmoil for all businesses. On the manufacturing side, heavy demand for products based on a strong economy, especially in the oil and gas markets, put a strain on the supply chain. And low unemployment made it difficult to recruit additional staff to keep up with higher demand. But of course, those are good problems to have. We thank our customers for the support we received from you in 2018. We measure last year as a success, because we hit the goals that we set for sales growth, and we stayed disciplined in our pursuit of “Uncommon Excellence.”
As I reflect on the year that was, here are some of the things that come to mind:
Above: A rendering of the new Dixon headquarters building.
New Construction in Chestertown, Maryland – We broke ground in 2017 at a new site across town, for a 150,000 ft² Distribution Center, and now it is just about completed. At this new business campus for Dixon, the DC is the just the first of four new buildings planned, which should be complete by sometime in 2020. Additional buildings include a new headquarters, a new manufacturing building, and a new athletic club. Dixon is positioning itself for growth, as well as upgrading its facilities so we can continue to attract the best workforce in our industry.
New Product Releases – We successfully launched loading arms as a new product. Our Dixon Specialty Products division, in the midst of a significant building expansion, began selling loading arms in earnest in 2018, and we met and surpassed the sales goals we established. At the end of the summer, we launched our Dixon Store concept, featuring two retail displays, a pneumatic accessories and garden hose accessories versions. Crimped steam hose fittings grew, as we qualified and approved several additional hoses and sizes from various manufacturers. And we significantly grew the sales of our new ADS overfill protection products for the chemical markets.
New Apprenticeship Class Receives Recognition – As a member of the State of Maryland’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Dixon received recognition in a ceremony held during National Apprenticeship Week in November in Chestertown. Five manufacturing employees are taking part in this one to three-year pilot program. The new competency program allows them to move at their own pace, but some could graduate as early as this summer. Kelly Schulz, the State of Maryland’s Department of Labor Secretary, attended the ceremony at our Innovation Center. Dixon is a participating sponsor for Maryland's only competency-based apprenticeship program, which assists us in attracting, training, and retaining a skilled work force.
New and Improved Format for Dixon’s Boss Magazine – Dixon’s Boss Magazine was published for the 13th consecutive year in 2018. However, our fall issue featured some subtle format changes that we expect will be embraced by our readers. Along with several new sections, an expanded Dixon section shares more information about what is happening in our company. And overall, the articles are a little shorter and easier to read. What has not changed is our commitment to supplying our customers with a publication that balances articles about the industries we serve with general interest topics. We hope that you continue to be educated and entertained.
Fox Business News Spotlights Dixon – We were featured on Fox Business’ Lou Dobbs Tonight the night before Thanksgiving for its Manufacturing Marvels segment. If you missed it, click here and check it out!
These are just a few highlights for Dixon in 2018, which was a busy year, and with discipline and commitment, a successful one.
Now, it is time to look ahead. One of the trips I took last year was to Alabama. Finding some spare time as I traveled through Tuscaloosa, I stopped at the University of Alabama and visited the Paul “Bear Bryant” museum. Bryant was the legendary football coach for the Crimson Tide, and when you enter the museum, you are invited to take a copy of a poem called “A New Day” by Dr. Heartsill Wilson. Coach Bryant carried a copy of the poem in his wallet. I carry it now, too. I’ll share the poem at the bottom of this post, but in the spirit of a new day, here are some exciting initiatives for 2019.
New Policies and Incentives for Distributors – We begin the new year with an offer for our distributors to take advantage of online ordering through our web portal and earn a discount. Dixon has worked hard to make our online ordering experience for our distributor customers quick and easy. Check it out and give us feedback if you think we can improve the online ordering experience.
Website Enhancements – In addition to online ordering for our distributors, we plan to continue to roll out enhancements that impact our customers in a positive way. Improved search functionality, a refreshed home page, and more training opportunities online are all planned for 2019. Check us out at dixonvalve.com.
New Dixon Bayco Facility – Dixon Bayco, one of our fastest growing Divisions, is poised to move this year. Ground was recently broken on a 40,000 ft² building close to the existing location in Cincinnati, which will give us the opportunity to continue growing in the petroleum tank truck, dry bulk, and terminal markets. The estimated move in date is June 2019.
Dixon Eagle Moving to Houston – We kicked off 2019 with a new home for our Dixon Eagle bellows valve product line. Dixon Eagle was headquartered in Rhode Island since Dixon made the acquisition in 2012. Moving the manufacturing to our Houston, Texas location creates efficiencies in manufacturing, and gets the products closer to where a lot of our customers are. Eagle valves are often used in refineries and chemical plants in hazardous material applications, where zero emissions are required.
New Product Additions – We plan to continue to bring new products to market in 2019. Keep an eye out for new products in the terminal market to complement our growing offering. New product launches are planned in the food and beverage market and oil and gas market. And Dixon is launching new fire valves in stainless steel. In fact, one of the first sold can be seen outside the new World Trade Center in New York City.
A new year always comes with reflection and resolutions. It helps to look back and reflect, but it’s also time to turn the page. After all, it is a “New Day.” Happy New Year to our customers from Dixon. Thank you for your business. We appreciate it.
A New Day
This is the beginning of a new day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for a good.
What I do today is important,
Because I have exchanged a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever,
Leaving something in its place I have traded for it.
I want it to be a gain, not a loss;
Good, not evil;
Success, not failure –
In order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.
Dr. Heartsill Wilson