Focused on the Next Generation

DXI Construction

Turnkey site preparation company DXI Construction was established in 1966 as a small paving company under the name of Dixie Construction Company, owned and operated by the Dixon family. What began as a family business performing small weekend projects has grown to be a committed force that is eager and ready to take on some of the most challenging, mission-critical projects in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“My parents and grandparents started the business,” says Justin Dixon, Director of Communications for DXI Construction. “My grandfather, during World War II, was a boxer in the army, and he was given the name Dixie Kid by some of his fellow army buddies, and when he retired from the military – a young man still, looking for projects to do – he and my dad would pave parking lots, tennis courts, and things like that on the weekends.”

DXI Construction has truly been a family-run business. “When we were kids, once we got too old for our grandmother to watch us, our grandfather would watch us, and that meant tarring and sealing driveways, so we grew up in the business, and we’ve been here pretty much ever since,” says Justin.

The company is very proud of the service it provides, and over the years, it has grown impressively. “We do everything from the ground down to get sites ready for vertical construction,” says Michael Dorsch, Director of Business Development for DXI Construction. Roughly seventy-five percent of its clients are returning customers.

With the total site work package offered by DXI Construction, clients have the option of having either a particular scope done like underground utility work or all project tasks from the ground down taken care of by the company. For example, the company can prepare a four-hundred-acre treed site, do the mass grading and excavation, install large mass underground utilities – sewer, water, wet, and dry utilities, put in the actual roadbed, do the fine grading landscaping, and pave the final roadway. The client can erect a million-square-foot facility onto a building pad that has been prepared with all of the underground utilities installed.

Between its skilled professionals and its modern fleet of over five hundred pieces of equipment, DXI Construction can tackle the largest and most difficult projects in the region. One example is the Tradepoint Atlantic project – a 3,200-acre multi-modal distribution center where the company has been working for about four years now. “A project of that scale and magnitude is nothing for us,” says Justin.

Although the Dixon family is still very involved in the company, it has recently transitioned its ownership to a 26-year employee, and the company is very passionate about passing on its knowledge to the next generation. The Dixon kids “grew up doing this, but there just aren’t many schools that teach you what it is that we do. The only way you learn this is through boots-on-the-ground, going out to job sites, and working at it from every different angle,” says Justin. “That’s who we’re looking for, who we are, and what we’re about.”

This Dixon family experience is what gives DXI Construction its expertise which, in turn, it offers to its clients. It proudly teaches the next generation of young professionals and the next generation of clients.

This forward-thinking company eagerly implements new technology. All of its equipment is GPS-equipped, and the company has a full-time drone pilot who flies a fleet of company-owned drones to monitor sites, survey, and perform multiple other tasks. “We’re very technologically advanced compared to lots of companies in this industry,” says Michael.

As early adopters of multiple, state-of-the-art construction software programs that began on laptops in the field, then migrated into iPads, and now are predominantly wireless, the company can do anything from a job site, from e-mails to safety inspections, filling out timesheets, and arranging service for the equipment. Even the heavy equipment is electronic and computerized. Employees in the cab of a big D8 dozer can tap through a screen to adjust security, grading levels, and torque settings. And many of the company’s clients consider this aspect a real benefit and even a cost-saving advantage.

DXI Construction is determined to keep its promises. “When we make a commitment to a client, we live up to that commitment, no matter what it takes,” says Justin.

Many of DXI Construction’s projects are mission-critical, meaning work on sensitive federal government and military sites or data centers for Fortune 500 clients which have very specific expectations and deadlines that must be met on each project. “We don’t take every project that comes our way, but when we do take one and make a commitment, we live up to it,” says Justin. “We can bring heavy iron to bear very quickly. We show up en masse, and we can work things out. If we say we’re going to work twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; we work twenty-four-hour days and seven-day weeks.”

At DXI Construction, employees are treated like family. “Even though we’re over four hundred employees now, everybody that works for DXI Construction is considered family, and that is a very serious principle that the company adheres to – that we’re all one family and we work together as a team and as a family to take care of our clients and to meet those commitments,” says Justin.

One obstacle that the company faces, however, is finding enough skilled employees to rapidly adapt to the changing economy. Since mission-critical projects have become such a large part of its business, employees must meet the highest security clearances and have the safety and professional training needed to work on mission-critical sites.

Although it has been in business for many years, embraced many technologies, made and kept many promises, and built scores of long-term relationships, DXI Construction still gets excited by opportunities to work on unique, challenging, and multifaceted projects. “From one day to the next, you never know where you might end up, and some days, you have to pinch yourself because you can’t believe you’re doing this,” says Justin.

As DXI Construction looks ahead, it plans to continue expanding and growing, with the next generation offering the same dependable service for which the company is known, while continuing to build strong relationships with its clients. “We want to be able to take all the lessons that we have learnt in the first fifty years and apply them to the next fifty years,” says Justin.

Silver (and Steel) Linings

The construction industry has managed to overcome some massive hurdles in 2020. Despite a range of challenges, from orders to halt work during the shutdown to navigating new health and safety requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the industry kept going. As the year draws to a close, it is time to celebrate some of its notable success stories.

December 4, 2020, 3:59 PM EST