Celebrating 80 Years with a New Name

A new name and look was recently announced by a historical Cedar Rapids manufacturing company. “New Leader Manufacturing,” or “NLM,” is now the new name for Highway Equipment Company, a company established in Cedar Rapids in 1939. The company chose its new name and logo as it is more representative of what the company offers, not only to its customers, but also to its employees and community.

“Moving away from our original name was not an easy decision,” Rocki Shepard, President and CEO of New Leader Manufacturing, explained. “That name served us well for 80 years and there’s a lot of history behind it. But, as times changed and as we grew as a company, we started to realize our name no longer reflected all that we offer. We knew it was important to have a name and logo that represented not only who we are today, but who we will continue to be in the future.”

New Leader Manufacturing is the manufacturer of New Leader® crop nutrient applicators and Hi-Way® deicing spreaders and road maintenance equipment. The company is known for designing and manufacturing high quality, innovative, and reliable equipment that leads its respective industries. But its focus isn’t just on its products, it’s also on its workplace culture and community involvement.

“We prioritize safety and our employees’ well-being, both physically and emotionally, above all else,” Brian Bedard, Director of Human Resources and Safety, explained. Whether that’s through implementing a strong safety program, offering benefits like flex time and profit sharing, or organizing company-wide events for employees and their families, “we strive to make sure every one of our employees know we care about them, about their safety, and about their future.”

Finding the right name and logo wasn’t as arduous of a process as they originally thought. “When we sat down and really started to tackle this problem, we realized the answer was there all along,” Ms. Shepard explained. “We try to be leaders in everything we do. From designing and building our equipment, to supporting our customers in the field, maintaining a positive and sustainable workplace culture, offering strong employee benefits, and giving back to our community, we are leaders. It’s who we are. It’s who we’ve always been and who we will always continue to be.”