New Leader Manufacturing Celebrates 85 Years in Business

Building the Best, with the Best since 1939

Cedar Rapids, Iowa ⎯ When New Leader Manufacturing first opened its doors 85 years ago (formally known as Highway Equipment Company,) it had a simple vision: to offer pioneering solutions that help individuals and businesses achieve their goals. NLM knew it wanted to build more than just a business. It wanted to create a platform and a place where people could come together and make a difference. Over the years, NLM has stayed true to that vision, constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

Today, NLM is proud to say that it has helped thousands of people simplify their spreading needs and achieve their objectives. “Over these last 85 years, we have developed cutting-edge products, launched new technology and software, and expanded our services to new markets. And we have done all this with the commitment to quality, integrity, and customer satisfaction that has been the foundation of our success,” says Rocki Shepard, CEO. “This remarkable feat could not have been possible without the tireless efforts of each and every member of our team. And for that, we want to say ‘thank you.’’

 Locally, NLM partners with numerous organizations, sponsors community events, and volunteers its time to support various causes. Nationally, through its New Leader and Hi-Way product lines, NLM works with the country’s largest original equipment manufacturers and municipalities to bring sustainable practices to the agricultural and road maintenance sectors. NLM continues to strengthen its legacy internationally through its recent expansion into Brazil, with a production facility located in Indaiatuba, Brazil.

“We want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to our journey so far,” says Matt Rissi, Chairman. “To our customers, thank you for your trust and loyalty. To our partners, thank you for your collaboration and support. And to our employees, thank you for your hard work and devotion. We look forward to continuing our journey with you and to achieving new milestones together. Here’s to many more years of innovation, growth, and success.”

Click the link to visit our About Us – History Timeline

New Leader Manufacturing to Host First Youth Registered Weld Apprenticeship Program in the Corridor

Cedar Rapids, Iowa New Leader Manufacturing (NLM) has partnered with the Iowa Department of Education and Grant Wood AEA to establish a Youth Registered Weld Apprenticeship Program. The program will be the first of its kind in Eastern Iowa. NLM plans to host one (1) of the eight (8) available apprenticeships available in the Corridor this year.

The Apprenticeship Program will provide students the opportunity for hands-on welding experience while working under the mentorship of some of NLM’s most talented welders. NLM takes great pride in the development opportunities provided internally – this program is another way to support such efforts.

“NLM has a strong history of partnering with local nonprofits, schools, and other organizations to remove as many barriers as possible for individuals to enter the workplace,” says Katie Wagner, Director of Operations. “This youth welding apprenticeship program is another great way for students to get exposure to possible careers after high school.”

While gaining hands-on experience in the workplace, students will be enrolled in welding-related courses through Kirkwood Community College (KCC) and their Career Academy. The Career Academy allows students the opportunity to enroll in college-level courses through their high school and/or a local KCC Regional Center.

Miranda Hammes, HR Manager, explains that “We [NLM] want students to know that you don’t need a four-year degree to earn a career that is not only rewarding, but also pays well – the skilled trades offer incredible opportunities and open a tremendous number of doors.”

NLM is thrilled to host its very first Youth Weld Apprentice this year in hopes of contributing to one’s lasting career in the skilled trades.

“The Apprenticeship Program is a win-win for both the student and the business,” said Laura Seyfer, Workforce Specialist at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. “It’s important to show students all the career opportunities that are available in our area, especially those in the trades, to assist in retaining and attracting workforce to our metro.”

The Youth Registered Weld Apprenticeship Program is made possible by the efforts of several parties. New Leader Manufacturing would like to thank Grant Wood AEA, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids Community Schools, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, and the Governor’s Office for their countless hours of effort and collaboration.

For more information about New Leader Manufacturing, how to apply, or to connect with a NLM representative, visit