By Lana Cunningham
She’s not your ordinary 26-year-old. Amelia Dipprey has her Rimfire Trucking, all 55 trucks worth, rolling—keeping the wheels turning in the oil and gas industry.
Tall and lanky with long curly hair dangling down her back, Amelia Dipprey doesn’t look the part of an owner of a Texas trucking company. But that’s what she is, and at 26, she’s also easily one of the state’s youngest as well.
As for her outlook, the words “no fear” might be the best way to describe her. One year ago, Dipprey jumped wholeheartedly into a business known for its many ups and downs and its winding roads of regulations. The price of oil was hovering around $95-100/barrel and truckers were in high demand. No, she wasn’t blind to all the roadblocks that can come with starting a trucking business. She had done her homework and had experience working in that industry.
In November 2013, she and her father filed their articles of incorporation with the state of Texas and Rimfire Trucking LLC was born. The 25-year-old had only been out of college three years. One year later, the Fort Worth-based Rimfire Trucking was hauling frac sand throughout Texas and into surrounding states with 55 trucks.
Dipprey is no stranger to the oilfield. She says that, as a child, she would ride with her father when he did welding jobs on rigs. Dipprey entered Texas Christian University with an eye toward advancing to law school. The first two years Dipprey focused on entrepreneurial management, affording her some background in business. During her junior year, she switched her focus to advertising and public relations, and in 2010, she received a Bachelor of Science degree. “I wanted to do more of the creative side and not so much all the paperwork,” she said of the change in her studies.
Attendance at a DOVE conference opened Dipprey’s eyes to opportunities beyond the boundaries of law school. After graduation, she was hired by frac sand hauler Rowdy Farms LLC in Southlake and learned the ins and outs of the trucking industry. Meanwhile, her father had been throwing around the idea of the two starting their own trucking company.
“By last November, I had worked for a lot of people and saw how the business should be and shouldn’t be done. One of my main customers wanted to start a frac sand company and wanted me to start the trucking company. I told my dad, ‘Let’s do it.’”
Dipprey’s family put up the financing. The name “Rimfire” was decided at a family gathering.” I have a dog named Remington. He’s a Vizla and goes everywhere with me,” she said. From his name evolved Rimfire.
Papers alone don’t get a trucking company rolling, however. Trucks are needed. The easiest and quickest way to get on the road was to lease trucks from owner-operators. The first one was leased in June while Dipprey was setting up contracts with companies needing frac sand.
“Right now we only haul frac sand. We have 55 trucks and it is all owner-operated. We own some trailers and we are about to buy some trucks,” she said.
Dipprey’s cold calling brought her in touch with Schlumberger’s head of logistics in Midland. “I just called one day and said I had a truck hauling frac sand. The man said they were in dire need and I put everything I had on with them. They loved the way we were working for them. As I grew, I kept giving them trucks.”
She realizes the man at Schlumberger has no idea of her age or how long she’s been out of college. “The newer customers like Schlumberger have only talked with me on the phone.” But once customers meet Dipprey and talk with her, they realize that despite her youth she knows her business. And she makes sure they know she keeps their interests a priority.
Rimfire Trucking also hauls frac sand for other companies in West and South Texas with some vehicles going into New Mexico, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Dipprey believes it is the reputation she has built with the drivers that has helped her company grow.
“A lot of times you see where people have not treated drivers the way they should be treated. The company has nothing if it were not for the drivers. They are everything I am built on,” she said. “I am big on respect and authority. Everyone, no matter what position or role they have in my company, is an equal. These people give me their best work ethic. They haven’t been treated that way at a lot of other companies.”
For one thing, she believes in paying people on time.
Dipprey said she learned her business ethics from her parents and has seen how “you will get the best people who will treat you right. I have a core group of guys who will do anything for me.”
Rimfire’s reputation is spread by word of mouth and finding good truckers has not been a problem. “I have drivers calling every day wanting to lease on with my company. In fact, I had two phone calls today from drivers” wanting to work for Rimfire.
Hiring drivers is not an overnight process. Rimfire follows the rules and conducts background checks, and drivers must undergo drug tests. “It’s a long process to hire someone. We get all their trucks inspected by a good mechanic. If the driver doesn’t check out, we have to go with another one,” Dipprey said.
Rimfire is operating a win-win situation with the formula of making sure the customers are happy and the truckers are treated with respect.
A family-owned business, Rimfire maintains a comfortable working environment. “My mom and my sister do the billing and my sister also does all the marketing. I just hired another woman to help with billing and she is a guru in that field,” Dipprey said. “Jill Gibson owns eight trucks and also handles filing and the safety training. Trevor Haggerty and Robert Busbey are my dispatchers. This is very much a family business. Everyone who works there becomes a part of the family. We have our dogs [including Remington] in the office. We get business done and we run it very well. We have music playing and we dance up and down the halls. Once we get that day’s work done, we do extra work the rest of the day so we can stay ahead of the game.”
Rimfire’s rapid growth since June was precipitated by the increased drilling and high oil prices. Since then the prices have dropped and companies are pulling back on drilling plans for 2015. Dipprey doesn’t expect this downturn to hurt her company.
“We made it through the low prices five years ago. I’ve talked to my customers and told them if they stick with me through this, I will stick with them.
“I think the oil price drop will be good for the industry,” she continued. “It will weed out some people. We’re just going to ride it through. I haven’t reached the worry part yet.”
Lana Cunningham is a freelance writer who has lived in Midland since it was a pleasant city of 60,000 people.