Neil Schmidgall and his wife Linda were the first two employees of Superior Industries, founding the company in 1972. But the story doesn’t start there.
Superior’s legacy originates a couple generations before with Neil’s grandfather Henry Schmidgall.
1917 – Henry schmidgall
In 1917 Henry Schmidgall and his family relocated from Illinois to Hancock, Minnesota, a rural farming community 150 miles west of Minneapolis.
That same year he purchased a small, drain tile plant and started a business that he named Hancock Concrete. It would become the bedrock from which a family legacy of innovation and entrepreneurism would emerge.
1940 – Schmidgall Sand and Gravel
In 1940 Henry’s son Wayne acquired the aggregate production division of Hancock Concrete, forming his own business Schmidgall Sand and Gravel. Wayne’s new business would eventually serve as the catalyst for his son Neil’s passion for aggregate machinery.
Neil started working for his father after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1963. He developed a skill for building and repairing the portable plants and conveyors used to produce his father’s sand and gravel supply.
Neil’s ability attracted a large number of local customers, which gave him the means to develop the family business further by starting the Superior Machinery Company in Morris, Minnesota.
superior Machinery Company – early start
Superior started out simply by building and repairing conveyors, but soon ventured further into the aggregate manufacturing market. In 1974 Superior made a deal with Ersham Manufacturing Enterprise of Kansas, acquiring their conveyor idler inventory, presses and tooling.
Manufacturing both conveying systems and their accompanying accessories, a rare business model still to this day, proved to be a great strategy for growth.
culture of opportunity
Neil worked hard in the formative years of Superior to develop a culture of opportunity and advancement for his employees. Current CEO Bob Domnick states, “Some people tend to be smothering, always on top of people. Neil tends to give people guidance and help them along, but at the end, he gives them enough freedom to be innovative.”
Neil’s belief that hard work leads to a life of accomplishment and deep satisfaction was handed down to him from his father and grandfather. He was able to instill those same beliefs in his employees.
The culture of opportunity that Neil fostered at Superior has helped to sustain the small, rural community in Morris. He says, “Our employees are constantly encouraged to practice high integrity and they are reaping the benefits of maintaining long-term relationships.”
the first Telestacker conveyor
The freedom and leadership that Neil provided to his employees prepared Superior to become an industry leader. In 1997 Neil encouraged two ambitious engineers at Superior to develop a new telescoping radial stacking conveyor.
Their following research and design resulted in the production of the TeleStacker® Conveyor, Superior’s signature product that expanded its customer base to six continents.
full circle only decades later
As Superior has led the industry in new conveyor technology during the 2000s, its operations have expanded considerably. Superior has acquired new businesses all across the U.S., Canada, and Brazil. The company now employs over 1,700 people.
In 2008 Superior acquired Westmor Industries, LLC, a neighbor in Morris, Minnesota, and the community’s second largest manufacturer. In 2010 Superior’s legacy came full circle when the company acquired Hancock Concrete.
In 2015 Neil was inducted into the Pit & Quarry Hall of Fame. He was recognized for his contributions to the aggregate and mining industries and for the company that he founded and grew.
Today, Superior Industries operates on the foundation that Neil set: building innovation that creates opportunity for each other, our communities, and our investors.