The D&D Sexton Story

Posted on October 27, 2021 by Matt Lonardo

What started as a break room joke turned in to a thriving trucking business that has served the refrigerated carrier industry for the past 40 years. 

D&D Sexton Inc was founded in 1981 by David Dean “Deano” Sexton. But before he started the company, he was an athlete with dreams of getting a scholarship to pay for college. He played football, baseball, and ran track when he was young, and he was and was quite talented. Tragically, a serious knee injury in a football game his senior year of high school would end that dream. 

Deano & the first D&D truck circa 1980

With his college dreams smashed, Dean was devastated but not defeated. As the oldest son in a family that struggled financially, Dean had younger brothers and a sister at home who depended on him for guidance and support. He took a nights & weekends job his senior year of high school shoveling cheese at Schreiber Foods to support himself and help his family.

So how did Dean go from shoveling cheese to owner and CEO of a successful trucking company?  Story goes, one day there was a bid sheet for a company driver position in the break room at the Schreiber plant on Claxton Avenue. Some anonymous jokester wrote “Deano” on the first lineof the bid sheet.  No last name, just “Deano.” It ended up being the only name on the sign-up list. Even though Dean had never been behind the wheel of a tractor, he was offered the job.  He went to truck driving school and started driving a Schreiber Transit truck in 1978. Whoever wrote “Deano” on the bid sheet unexpectedly handed him the opportunity of a lifetime.

Danny Sexton circa 1981

Dean drove a Schreiber company truck for 3 years and then set his sights on bigger goals. Late 1980, Schreiber decided to get out of transportation. Dean borrowed $5,000 from his grandparents and purchased one of the Schreiber Transit tractors. He taught his brother Danny to drive, and they started driving as owner operators leased to Schreiber in 1981.

Dean understood that as long as people ate food, that food would need to be moved around from farms to factory, to distribution centers, to retail locations, all by truck and trailer. From 1981 to 1985, Dean acquired more tractors and trailers and hired more drivers, including his youngest brother, Davin. He expanded his customer base.  D&D officially incorporated on November 1, 1985.  The company began to generate more momentum and started to grow into something much larger than Dean had originally dreamed. 

A big part of the reason D&D grew was Dean’s outgoing and charismatic personality. Dean made great friends with the people he met in the trucking industry. The people who knew him as a friend though the trucking industry were his friends first, and his customers, colleagues, and vendors second. 

D&D Wins Missouri Motor Carrier Grand Championship first time in 1996

Dean took an innocent prank in 1978, turned it into vision and grew that into a fleet of over 140 tractors, 400 reefer trailers, and 190 full time employees 40-plus years later. Dean took the most pride in his company’s commitment to safety above all. The company has received numerous safety awards and many state and national awards.

In March of 2021, Dean unexpectedly suffered a heart attack, and passed away at his home in Carthage, Missouri. This was shocking news to all who were connected to D&D, but this tragedy would not be the end of the D&D story. Dean had assembled an amazing team of drivers, managers, administrators, mechanics, and operations specialists, who all take a lot of pride in working for this small family-owned company. D&D’s management team continues to lead the company’s commitments to this day, serving the industry with great appreciation.

November 1, 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of D&D Sexton Inc. The company tagline has always been “The Driving Force of the Future” and their story continues into the future. 

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