Exclusive Interview with New Dixie Chopper President and CEO

Simon Wilson, Dixie Chopper president and CEO
Simon Wilson, Dixie Chopper president and CEO

Dixie Chopper has announced that Simon Wilson has been named the company's new president and CEO, replacing Gary Morgan. Wilson has an extensive background in sales and marketing, aftermarket parts, and developing dealer networks. It is anticipated that his background experience, and time working as chief financial officer and vice president of operations for the company, will aid Wilson in pursuing continued growth for Dixie Chopper and their dealer network.

Following is a Q&A with new Dixie Chopper President and CEO

It's been noted that your past experience with Dixie Chopper and before your time there will help you to better the company. How exactly will your past experience help Dixie Chopper see success?

I would have to start this off going back to growing up on a small farm and the principals my parents instilled in me. Work hard, be honest and be accountable for your actions.  These are principals I take with me every day. In addition, this is the very reason I came to Dixie Chopper three years ago, as this company mirrors these principals.

Growing up around equipment on the farm drove me to join New Holland after earning my degree in marketing and finance. Over the years, I was given many opportunities to learn the different facets of working in an OEM environment. I have experiences in operations, marketing, product development, aftermarket sales, dealer distribution, regional and territory management. I spent a significant amount of time in the small equipment and turf organization. This has given me a great base on the turf-care business and the unique aspects of business that our customers and dealers face here at Dixie Chopper.

My goal is to transfer all of these experiences to aid the management team and all the employees at Dixie Chopper in building stronger relationships with our dealers and in turn a stronger Dixie Chopper product. It is not about me. It is more about what our team at Dixie Chopper can provide to our dealers and how we can make a difference. 

What plans do you have for Dixie Chopper as you take over as the new president and CEO?

First, I would like make it easier for our dealers to do business with us. Our dealers are our lifeblood and we have to continually focus on improvements to make it as easy as possible for a dealer to operate their business. Secondly, we will continue to invest in our Research and Development organization. This will pay dividends in our current product and also help our dealers and Dixie Chopper pursue new products that our industry is trending towards. Examples of this are lower horsepower zero-turn lawnmowers as well as EFI powered equipment. Lastly, we must foster communication with our dealers and customers. Communication is the key in any relationship and is critical as we continue to adapt to the ever changing industry and economic trends.

How will you use your experience developing dealer networks to better the company and attract dealers?

Dealer network development is a mindset. Building a plan and targeting the focus area is the first step. You have to provide new dealers a reason to do business with you.  Just showing up at a prospective dealer without being prepared will not work. You have to do your homework and help the prospect understand how your product fits into the dealer’s total plan. The prospective dealer needs to understand that you can bring not only additional revenue, but more importantly the additional bottom-line growth.

You say you are just beginning your growth as a company. What do you anticipate for growth in the next few years? How will you encourage that growth?

We see tremendous opportunity for Dixie Chopper with sustained growth over the next five years. We have not branched out into complementary product lines in the past but our Research and Development team has some very good products that are entering final testing.

These new products will aid in our planned 8-10% annual growth that will also come from an expanded dealer base. We want to ensure that as we grow, we have the tools to continue to provide our dealers and customers with the support they have come to expect. We have planned for this growth assuming the same economic challenges that everyone is facing continues for the next 3 years with the stagnant, limited growth economy persisting well into 2014.