Dixie Flag Celebrates Sixty Years, Three Generations
and One Remarkable Man
On Saturday June 2, 2018, San Antonio manufacturer and long-time SAMA member, Dixie Flag and Banner Company gathered with a crowd of hundreds, made up of friends, families, former-employees, customers, suppliers, and business associates from around the country to celebrate Dixie Flag’s 60th Anniversary. The group assembled around the business’s iconic 110 foot flag pole and together raised a brand new 30’x60’ United States flag to symbolize the beginning of the next chapter in the company’s story. After 38 years of dedicated leadership and service, Henry “Pete” Van de Putte, Jr., officially retired and passed the keys to the next generation of family leadership, Vanessa Van de Putte and Isabella Van de Putte-Boyar, to carry on their grandfather’s legacy.
Founded in 1958 by Henry P. Van de Putte, Sr., “Dixie Decorators” was small home-based business that focused on convention and special event decorating. The original production facility was just two sewing machines set-up in the bedroom of Van de Putte’s 8-year old son, Pete. Two decades later and after a career as a high school band director, Pete took over Dixie Flag Manufacturing Company and grew the company in to an industry leader, specializing in flags, banners, installation services and special-event décor. Dixie Flag has made some of the country’s most well-known flags, including the 60’x90’ flag that hangs on the World Trade Center to commemorate 9/11 and the 60’x90’ American flag that flies on the George Washington Bridge. They are also known for making some of the largest flags including several flags the size of football fields. Its home today includes headquarter offices, manufacturing facilities and a retail store, all located on Interstate 35, near historic Ft. Sam Houston.
Though now officially retired from the day-to-day operations of the company, Chairman of the Board, Pete Van de Putte is still very involved. “He is our visionary. He is and will continue to be the greatest ambassador of the Dixie Flag brand” said company President, Vanessa Van de Putte. Pete will be representing the family business at conventions and tradeshows and as a resource to organizations and businesses on Leadership, Board Development, and Flag History. Pete is an expert in all three areas. He has been on the board of directors of SAMA since 1981, now as an ex-officio member, and served as SAMA Chair 1989-1991.
Pete credits SAMA for the role it has played in Dixie Flag’s growth. “As a young manufacturer, the relationships and mentoring I received from SAMA members was instrumental in my ability to manage and expand the company.” Today the reigns have been passed down to the next generation. Vanessa and Bella plan to carry on the family business and honor the hard work of their father and grandfather by staying true to the core values and traditions while evolving to stay relevant and meet today’s marketplace.
—Isabella Van de Putte-Boyar, Sales & Finance, Dixie Flag and Banner Company