Scott Dixon, 40, is a branch manager with W.W. Williams, a repair facility for tractor-trailer trucks.
NAME: Scott Dixon
POSITION: Branch Manager, W.W. William, Oakridge Drive
FAMILY: Married to Drew with a son, Shawn, six years
EDUCATION: Westover High School, Albany
Scott Dixon has sold everything from vacuum cleaners to copiers and mail machines, he said. For the past dozen years, he’s served as branch manager of W.W. Williams, a repair facility for tractor-trailer trucks on Oakridge Drive. His company completes its first century of operation this year.
Dixon arrived in Albany from Mississippi when he was 8 years old and later delivered papers for The Albany Herald. He enjoys reading science fiction, playing tennis with his family and researching guns on the Internet. Last week, he spoke with Albany Herald reporter Jim West.
Q. What was your first job?
A. When I was 13, I was a delivery boy for The Albany Herald. I delivered to Greenbriar Apartments off Beatty Road.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?
A. It’s been a long time ago ... probably a Mountain Dew and a candy bar at the local convenience store.
Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. The biggest thing I’ve found is letting your employees know you care about them personally. A lot of times, having been from the bottom up myself, I’ve been there and done that. I think that helps in holding that high standard of what we expect. They know I wouldn’t ask them to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.
Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to what you’re doing now.?
A. I’ve been here for 12 years, doing sales before this. I was looking for a career change and came here for an interview. I had no experience, no tools and started off washing parts in the back. I learned everything I could, paid attention and had a “go get it” attitude. It kind of went from there.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. Actually the guy that hired me, David Coulter, was my mentor. He mentored me and worked me through the steps in my career and got me where I am today.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. We’ve remodeled our business a little bit. We used to be very narrow in what we serviced. We’ve expanded that into broader horizons to be more of a one--stop shop to keep us busy.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples email, automated phone systems, cell phones, tablets, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?
A. Automated phone systems. Personally, and here at W.W. Williams, we want to talk to a person and not have to through a bunch of options, which is one reason we have not (gone automatic). When you call you might have to go through one person to get to another but at least you talk to a human being. We think that gives more a personal touch.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. My multi-meter, for checking voltage and electrical circuits. It’s one thing I can’t live without about half the time.
Q. What is your favorite tradition?
A. It’s something small. Every year we get a cake for the guys. Everybody gets to enjoy it. We have some ice cream and sit around and it’s nice to celebrate. Outside work, my family and I like to play tennis. We all like to play, so every once in a while and have a good time at the Darton tennis courts.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. I don’t read as much as I probably should. I do read the fleet maintenance magazines that are relative to our business and business legal stuff. Personally, I like a lot of science fiction. The last thing I read was “Revelation Space” by Alastair Reynolds.
Q. I’m up and going by ... And what is your morning routine?
A. I wake up at 5 a.m. If I’m motivated, I attempt to go running. Most times, I just get a shower and get in here about 6:15.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?
A. I would probably say Albert Einstein. I watch a lot of science shows about space and the universe, so I would enjoy talking to him about those things.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activities outside work?
A. I spend as much time with my wife and my son as I can. He’s into karate and soccer and those kinds of things. I do a little bit on the computer and do gun research on the Internet.
Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. One think I learned when I first moved out of the technician side to the office side, dealing with customers, I made a bad decision. I was following policy and procedure, but really the customer’s best interest should have trumped that. I kind of learned a hard lesson I never forgot. Even if it doesn’t always work out best for us in the end, we have take care of our customers.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. Being able to work with my guys here, the people, the customers. There’s nothing better than when somebody brings you a truck, “Hey, nobody can fix this,” and we hit a home run. That’s what we call it here. I got some of the best guys I’ve ever worked with — talent-wise. Seeing how good they are. When we take care of things nobody else can figure out it makes you feel really good.
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. Time away from family. It’s something I have to actively control. I think that most people in the position I am have to balance that situation. You want to succeed but you have to watch and be sure you don’t take too much from your family time.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. An electronics class at Westover High School. We do a lot of electrical work here, which requires a lot of trouble-shooting. Those basics of circuitry that I took there helps me to this day.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. I would love to be full-time musician. I played guitar for years and actually played in a local band. You always want to get to the point you can play music for a living, but it’s easier said than done.
Q. Finish this thought: “On the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself ...”
A. Probably working on an old car and restoring it — buying an older Camaro or a Mustang, taking my time and rebuilding it.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. Honesty and integrity with your people. With your customers. You’ve got to do the right thing when it’s hard to do the right thing, because if you do, things will always work out right.
Q. What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. It’s a little bit different for us. Fuel prices do affect us some, but for the past year and a half we’ve been overrun. We’ve actually hired four people in the past two months, just to try to meet demand. It’s hard for me to guess.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. A mix of mainly rock and Southern rock. A wide selection, I guess you’d say.
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. We got the new Olive Garden here and that’s always a good change. Hopefully we’ll see larger industry coming our way and bring more jobs.
Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?
A. The best I ever took was to Las Vegas. My wife and I went and actually got married in Las Vegas.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?
A. We used to be very specific in what we worked on. Our business has changed because our customers are really needing a one-stop shop. We’ve had to expand our knowledge base and the items we work on. We work on the complete truck and not just the engine or the transmission. That’s been a huge change for everyone in our industry. The recession sort of brought that on, too.