Leadership Team

Stuart Sleper
President & CEO

Stuart’s manufacturing career spans 25 years. He’s worked in leadership roles for companies such as Honeywell, Goodyear Tire, and Parker Hannifin. As a senior leader, Stuart brings expertise in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, international business and finance, sales & marketing, operations, global sourcing & supply chain management. Stuart enjoys working along-side XL’s team members to improve our company and culture—and hitting the road with our sales team, visiting our customers and dealers, to make sure XL maintains its market leading position in product innovation. Stuart earned his BA from Michigan State University and his MBA from Davenport University.

Eric Branson
Director of Human Resources

Eric came to XL in 2011 from a diverse background. Eric has held various leadership HR roles at Omega Cabinets, First Citizens National Bank, Heartland Financial and ran his own consulting practice. He has notably helped a company grow from 220 to 680 employees in five years, established performance management plans, benefit programs, training programs and information systems. Eric’s contributes to XL’s craftsmanship manufacturing environment through recruitment, staffing, employee relations, compensation, benefits, and associate development. Eric has been recognized as a Senior Professional in Human Resources by the Human Resources Certification Institute and a Senior Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resource Management. He has a BA in Business Administration and Education from Wartburg College. Eric has supported community efforts in many ways including involvement in: the United Way of North Central Iowa, the Boy Scouts of America, YM/YWCA of Mason City, and Employer Support of the National Guard and Reserve.

Tom Hiatt
Director of Sales

Tom brings over 30 years of professional sales and management expertise to our team. Tom comes from a diverse background of heavy manufacturing, component sales, strategic distribution and representative networking, construction management, acquisition development and an outstanding reputation in relationship building. Tom works closely with our global sales and dealership network to provide innovative hauling solutions for the heavy-haul market.

Brian Nollen
Director of Operations, Plant 1

Brian started his career in the construction industry; owning and operating a successful concrete business for ten years. In 2008, when the economy slowed, he sold the company and started working at XL Specialized Trailers in the fabrication department. He quickly became a supervisor and then a manager, overseeing both Fabrication and Welding areas at various times. Brian aligns the production team with the overall company goals, through building an environment of teamwork. He has lead cost savings initiatives and efficiency projects. Brian holds a technical degree and certifications in Lean Manufacturing and Jobsite Management.

Eric Olson
Director of Accounting & Finance

Eric has been with XL Specialized Trailers since 2011.  Eric brings over 20 years of business management and leadership experience to the XL Team, ranging from an independent franchisee to a Fortune 500 company.  Eric earned his Bachelor’s degree from American Intercontinental University in the areas of Business Management and Accounting. Eric is passionate about continuous improvement in all facets of the business and refuses to accept the status quo as the best we can do.  Eric enjoys working closely with the XL Team as well as our outstanding network of distributors to provide financial leadership, aligning business and financial growth strategies and influencing the future direction of the company.

Shannon Richardson
Director of Engineering

Shannon has 25 years of engineering experience; working in product design, manufacturing, testing, and customer support of over-the-road heavy equipment and heavy-haul specialized trailers. He has held management positions in new product development, research and development and design. He came to XL Specialized Trailers in 2011, where he has headed a multitude of one-of-a-kind trailer design projects as well as efficiency undertakings. Shannon has earned five patents during his diverse career. He is committed to providing custom-engineered solutions for the wide range of markets XL serves. Shannon holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Texas Tech, and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Texas Tech. Shannon served as an officer in the Army National Guard 22 years, in various leadership roles. He also is active in the community; he is on the Earlville City Council as well as serves as the Earlville United Parish Council Chairman. 

Erin Reiff
Director of Marketing

Erin has experience in many facets of marketing, from product launches, campaign development, design, advertising, public relations, website development, and event planning, to market analysis and forecasting. She joined XL Specialized Trailers in 2011, and headed the company’s rebranding and website relaunch in 2012. Erin earned her BA in Communication Arts: Public Relations and Communication Design from Wartburg College. Erin is passionate about continuing to build the XL brand in the market and implementing strategies to make our distributors successful.

Cory Stafford
Director of Business Systems
Quality, Continuous Improvement, Supply Chain, IT, EH&S

Cory Stafford has been a part of XL Specialized Trailers since 2013, in various leadership roles.  Cory brings with him many years of leadership experience; over 12 years in purchasing and 25 years in Environmental Health and Safety.  His most recent position with XL was Supply Chain, IT and EHS Manager.  Cory possesses a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration: Marketing, from Wartburg College. Cory takes pride in XL’s production of the highest quality and most durable trailers in the industry, and recognizes our partnership with dealers is a key component to making this possible.