18 INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTION / July/August 2014 www.inddist.com
BY ABBIGAIL KRIEBS
DXP Enterprises, Inc. has a history of providing solutions right where they are needed. The company started as Southern Engine and Pump Company in 1908, providing water pumps
– and even cotton gin engines – to the rice and cotton industries
in the surrounding Texas countryside. The company migrated into
the oil and gas industry upon the discovery of oil in nearby Beaumont, TX. The discovery tripled the population of the city, and the
need for oil and chemical pumping solutions followed suit.
A Bit Of Luck
While it may seem like luck was the order of the day for the
Houston-based company, it’s taken more than luck to keep the
company pumping along for over 100 years. President, Chairman,
and CEO David Little has made some tough decisions since joining
the company in 1975, and those decisions have certainly paid off
in the long run.
When Little started at the company, he came with a background
in accounting and an entrepreneurial drive. In 1979 the company
rebranded from Southern Engine and Pump Company to SEPCO,
and by 1982, the company had grown to $36 million — and then
oil dropped from 30 dollars a barrel to ten. George Allen, grandson of the founder of the company, promptly handed the reins to
Little, making him president of the company, and Little had the
unpleasant experience of taking the company’s employee count
from 250 down to 150.
“I knew I never wanted to do it again,” says Little. He set out
to make SEPCO a growth company so that he wouldn’t have to
repeat that experience, purchasing the company in full from Allen
in 1986 for $6 million. Little sold off the gas compressor segment
of the business in order to gain back some cash, and merged with
A century & counting: DXP Enterprises has an entrepreneurial spirit, and the resources to back it.