Founded at the dawn of the twentieth century
In 1908 Charles A. Levins founded Southern Engine and Pump Company in Houston, Texas. It was an era of astonishing technological innovation in the pump industry. Thanks to new pump designs, water could be delivered to unprecedented heights, passenger steamships were achieving enormous scales, and irrigation was unlocking America’s agricultural potential. Mr. Levins built his business bringing these new technologies to farmers in the Houston area.
The Southern Engine and Pump business grew as the community around it underwent profound change. The emergence of Big Oil and the trials of the Great Depression shaped the business and the social fabric of Texas. Mr. Levins and his team at Southern Engine and Pump thrived through these years of radical change with a mix of sacrifice, grit, and determination to help customers outlast challenging times.
Generational change brings new opportunities
George N. Allen, Charles Levins’s grandson, took over Southern Engine and Pump in 1957. Under Mr. Allen’s leadership, the family business became more than an engine and pump distributor. Expanding to eight branches in Texas and Louisiana, the company’s customer base grew beyond agriculture to businesses in the oil and gas industry, manufacturing, and municipal utilities.
In 1979 the company changed its name to SEPCO Industries, Inc. By then, SEPCO was a major distributor for a complete line of pumps, engines and gas compressors through its sales and service outlets in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico. SEPCO designed and engineered custom packaged systems, supplied local inventories for quick deliveries, and provided aftermarket support with service and repairs.
Strategic growth in the 1980’s and beyond
In 1983, George Allen appointed David R. Little to succeed him as President and CEO. Following a vision to create a growth company centered on providing customer-driven solutions, David Little led a careful evaluation of the business and identified strategic opportunities for streamlining its focus and further investing in its core work. Through a merger with Shoreline Supply, SEPCO became the largest pump distributor in North America.
In 1990, customers were looking for greater efficiency in their supply chains and eager for a consolidated supplier who could serve a diverse range of business requirements. To meet thriving customer demand, SEPCO acquired additional businesses to enter the bearing and power transmission business, and launched a new Supply Chain Services division.
As SEPCO had expanded into new industries its need for capital had grown as well. In 1996 the company went public. As part of the IPO the leadership team decided to update the corporate brand to reflect the business’s broader scope. DXP Enterprises Inc., “The Distribution Experts,” was born.
Expansion to new horizons of service
Since the IPO, DXP has continued to make strategic acquisitions to further strengthen its expertise and product diversity. With each acquisition, the goal has been to provide customers with a single point of contact for a broad category of technical products and services. The company has continued to foster its century-old roots in the service-driven pump industry, while also expanding into bearings, power transmission, logistics, safety and metalworking.
In 1986 the company had revenues of $20 million and around 50 employees. Today, annual revenues are well over $1 billion, and the team has grown to almost 3,200 professionals. Today, DXP’s service and product offerings, not to mention its technological sophistication, are probably beyond anything that could have been imagined in 1908.
As DXP looks to the future, it draws upon the legacy of its past for guidance and inspiration. Just as the teams led by Charles Levins and George Allen built success by focusing on delivering customer solutions grounded in technical expertise, in today’s marketplace DXP is also striving to optimize fast fulfillment and customer convenience. We live by our slogan: “DXPeople you can Trust.”