After being discharged from the US Navy in 1946, Pete Dix Sr. moved from California to Spokane, Washington and started his business in 1947 as Dix Steel Company. Pete decided that it would be a good business strategy to combine steel fabrication along with steel erection which was uncommon at the time, and it proved to be very successful.During the ‘40s and ‘50s as farming picked up in the Palouse and other areas around Spokane, Pete could see the need to supply farmers with new storage buildings to keep up with their growing equipment fleets. The solution was to supply and erect Quonset buildings and over the next few years the company erected several hundred around the countryside.
As times and customer needs changed, so did the company. Pete always tried to stay one step ahead of his competition and wanted to meet his customers needs head on. In 1951 Dix was featured in “Engineering New Record” for his innovative solution to a customer’s problem. Dix was awarded the contract to erect the structural steel for the new 14-story, Ridpath Hotel in downtown Spokane. As there wasn’t a large enough crane in the area to erect all fourteen floors, the Dix solution, heralded as a “first” in ENR, was to disassemble a mobile crane, hoist it onto the fourth floor and reassemble it to erect the remaining ten stories of steel. This kind of innovative thinking continues on every project the company does and is one of the many reasons today’s Dix Corporation is so successful.
As the mining industry grew in the ‘60s and ‘70s Dix took on the challenge of pioneering the concept of “turnkey” industrial construction in the area. This led the company into larger projects that included grassroots facilities as well as mill expansions/modernizations in Idaho and Montana. With the increased business, Dix opened a new office and fabrication facility in 1973, near the Spokane International airport. That facility expanded in 1979 to a total of 45,000 square feet.
In 1974 Dix took on another challenge in fabricating and erecting the massive U.S. Pavilion for the “World’s Fair” in Spokane. That structure still stands today as a Spokane landmark. The American Institute of Steel Construction gave Dix the 1974 Architectural Award of Excellence for the outstanding aesthetics in structural steel for the project. In addition to the pavilion, Dix fabricated and erected five bridges that crossed the Spokane River on the fair site.
As business trends changed again in the ‘80s Dix fabricated, built and launched several barges for the US Navy on Lake Pend Oreille in northern Idaho. These were used as support facilities for the Acoustic Research Detachment, located on the lake. During those same years Dix was called on to launch several model subs, including the 300 ton prototype of the “Seawolf” class submarine.
In 1985 Dix made a strategic decision to concentrate solely on field construction, sold its fabrication facility and moved into its present offices on Grove Road near Interstate 90. Since then, Dix has ventured into new areas such as container crane rebuild and installations, powerhouse and gantry crane rebuilds and installations on dams across the United States and Canada. Other projects include fish and selective withdrawal systems for migrating fish on rivers in the Northwest, navigation lock gate replacements and spillway gate repairs. Cement manufacturing plant expansions is another area Dix has worked in since the early ‘50s. The company continues to serve some of the same companies and in the same industries we have worked in for over 60 years. Dix is always up for new challenges, including numerous one-of-a-kind projects that require heavy rigging and lifting of equipment weighing in excess of 1,700 tons.
Dix Corporation’s most well-known project has graced calendars, magazines and posters worldwide. It’s the world’s first (and only) floating golf green. Dix was awarded the contract to design and build the 14th green on Lake Coeur d’ Alene in northern Idaho. This green is about 15,000 square feet and weighs about 5,000,000 pounds. It is movable and provides a varied range of play. The floating green is the hallmark of the world class Coeur d’Alene Resort.
From 1978 until 2012, Pat Dix served as President. Now he sits on the Executive Management Board with his sons Kevin and Mike Dix. Kevin is a Principal in Charge of Business Development and Mike is a Principal in Charge of Operations. With new generations of family and employees entering the business, it is still based on the same values and customer commitment that Pete Dix Sr. originally brought to the company. With this kind of commitment, Dix will continue to grow and expand for another sixty years and beyond.
Dix Corporation appreciates you taking the time to read our company history and encourages you to review our projects outlined in this web site. We encourage you to ask questions regarding our projects and capabilities and look forward to adding your company to our list of satisfied customers.