RDC In Its 51st Year

Pete Feeney

February, 2020

Over 50 years ago, February 26, 1969 to be exact, there was a small article in the Indianapolis Star: “A new manufacturer’s representative office has been opened in Indianapolis by Robert E. Dietrick, formerly vice-president of Metal Utilities Company here”.

What is NOT mentioned in that article is the risk that Robert E. Dietrick took – he was the sole breadwinner of the Dietrick household and father to 6 children, all who attended parochial schools. His wife Janet was a devoted wife and mother and supported him 100% in his new endeavor. Bob Sr. focused on selling industrial metal siding, metal roof decking, and industrial doors. Needless to say, the business became a success and in August of 1977 he was joined by his oldest son Robert N. Dietrick, a recent graduate of Purdue University to form a two-person team.  

A new manufacturer’s representative office has been opened in Indianapolis by Robert E. Dietrick

The reputation of the Robert Dietrick Company grew. In 1979 they created a small installation firm, Industrial Installers & Maintenance, with 2 union Ironworkers and they added another office person to run the installation schedule and handle the payroll responsibilities. Industrial Installers started out handling very small installation jobs for RDC but gradually grew to handle larger metal siding and door projects.

Robert Dietrick Co. also continued to grow and added more salespeople to handle increased sales. At Mr. Dietrick’s suggestion, Industrial Installers offered their installation services to a select few customers outside of RDC. One of those customers who made use of Industrial Installers was Bill Lieber of Lieber Equipment Co., who specialized in Loading Dock Equipment sales and service. Mr. Lieber handled the Frommelt Dock Seal line, as well as Poweramp Hydraulic Levelers and Pioneer Mechanical Dock Levelers. After over a year of performing some routine installations for Lieber Equipment Company, Bill Lieber, who was thinking about retiring, expressed an interest in selling his company to the Robert Dietrick Co.

In 1983 the sale was concluded and RDC grew again to have salesmen and installers to promote/install the new product lines. Within a year or so the reputation of the growing RDC enterprise caught the attention of Rite-Hite Corporation (manufacturers of Dock Levelers and Dok-Loks). After some negotiations, RDC became affiliated with Rite-Hite. Shortly after, RDC was able to expand its territory of operations to include Fort Wayne, IN, and Evansville, IN. That brought the total areas covered by RDC to 122 counties, including some counties in southern Michigan, southern Illinois, and also northwestern Kentucky.

In 2002, RDC decided to transition away from the metal siding business to focus on the rapidly growing sales and service of Loading Dock Equipment, Industrial Doors, and other industrial products.

The risks Robert E. Dietrick took in 1969 were quite substantial and he built a solid foundation that has grown to the RDC of today – with 3 locations and a total of 86 employees. 40 of these RDC employees are factory trained Service Techs dedicated to maintaining high levels of customer service and satisfaction. Three years ago, another Robert E. Dietrick (RND’s son, grandson of the founder, Bo-– the 3rd generation) began working to make sure RDC is continuing to invest in talented people and tools – focusing forward for continued success and growth.

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