MRL Equipment Company, Inc. today announced the retirement of its co-founder, co-owner, and former President and General Manager, Jim Spielman, effective July 1, 2022. Jim’s industry-changing career in the road marking industry spans 48 years.
Jim began his tenure in the industry in 1974 on road striping crews with Swanston Equipment Co. from North Dakota. With Swanston, he traveled extensively, striping projects in over 20 states before turning 25. After working for Swanston for eight years, Jim started a parking lot painting company in Salt Lake City, Utah. He operated this company for a few years before joining two other industry equipment manufacturing companies in Sales and Sales Management roles.
He soon crossed paths with John Gonitzke, another Swanston Equipment striping alumnus and the owner/operator of Mark Rite Lines of Montana Striping Company located in Billings, Mont. Mark Rite Lines of Montana focused on expertise-driven striping services in the state of Montana and surrounding areas. It became one of the largest epoxy striping contractors in the United States.
Setting the Standard for Road Striping Equipment
In 1989, Jim and John partnered to organize MRL Equipment Company, Inc. They identified the need for high-performance, quality-manufactured equipment built by stripers for stripers. From its inception, MRL Equipment products emphasized innovative technical advances, durable, easy-to-operate equipment, and industry-leading superior customer service. That tradition continues today.
Jim’s career with MRL Equipment was marked by accomplishments, from sales and operations management to rapid expansion and acquisitions of complementary product lines. Every strategic step raised the bar for road and airport striping equipment, and MRL Equipment thrived under Jim’s leadership. By 2005, the Montana-based company surpassed competitors to become the largest road marking and marking removal equipment manufacturer in North America, which it remains today.
A Legacy of Excellence
In 2012, MRL Equipment acquired HighMark Traffic Services, Inc., owned by John’s son, Jonathan Gonitzke. This pivotal event brought Jonathan’s incomparable industry knowledge and expertise to the MRL ownership and management team. Adding HighMark significantly enhanced MRL Equipment’s R&D and new product development processes by again providing hands-on striping services. Jonathan will continue with MRL Equipment and HighMark for the foreseeable future.
2019 was a benchmark year for MRL Equipment. As the company celebrated its 30th anniversary, MRL Equipment and its HighMark subsidiary were acquired by Federal Signal Corporation. Federal Signal is a world leader in manufacturing with over 3,900 employees in more than 20 business units, offering a suite of products and integrated solutions for municipal, governmental, industrial, and commercial customers.
The Road Ahead
Long-time customers can be confident in the leadership transition at MRL Equipment. The Federal Signal subsidiary will be guided by General Manager Duane Johnson, Director of Operations Ben Schmitt, and Manager of Striping Operations Jonathan Gonitzke. The team has worked closely with Jim to prepare for his retirement.
A striper at heart, Jim is most at home on the road. His retirement plans include travel and adventure with his family, skiing, flyfishing, bird hunting, and catching up with family and friends.
Please join us in thanking Jim for his leadership, vision, and significant contributions to our industry. If you’d like to share a message with Jim, send your good wishes to firstname.lastname@example.org. Messages will be shared with Jim at a formal celebration in his honor in late July.