New Leader Remembers Ingrid Livingston

Published April 9, 2014

“It’s a rare person who can take care of hearts while also taking care of business (unknown),” perfectly describes, to many in the ag industry, the life and legacy of Ingrid Livingston. Ingrid made significant contributions to the industry and touched the lives of many.  Although her death tragic, her life accomplishments were vast and far reaching.

Ingrid began her career in the agriculture industry fresh out of college.  After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1996 with majors in English Journalism and Mass Communication, she found a home at Highway Equipment Company (HECO), the manufacturer of New Leader crop nutrient applicators.  As the company’s new public relations coordinator, Ingrid became known for her creativity, sincerity and hard work. She was involved with launching the first HECO website, promotion of the first GPS-ready controller, and the introduction of the revolutionary G4 spinner.  “Ingrid was the epitome of what the ag industry is all about,” says Mark Sharitz, Director of Marketing for AGCO Corporation. She quickly learned the ag industry and accepted the challenge of director of marketing in 2007, immediately taking on the monumental launch of the New Leader L4000G4 spreader.  It didn’t take long for ag professionals to learn how committed and driven Ingrid was to the industry.  “Ingrid was the type of person that anyone would want to represent their company,” says Ken Lehmann, application equipment sales and marketing manager for Case IH.  

In 2008, Ingrid again advanced her career and was promoted to the role of Executive Director of Marketing.  She was instrumental in the launch of the MultiBin, a system allowing an operator to spread up to four products in one pass in the field, and the DN345, a drawn dry box spinner spreader. “Ingrid helped us promote dry product application and it has helped John Deere grow our representation in the industry,” says Craig Weynand, Division Sales Manager at John Deere.  

Ingrid’s motivation to excel in the workplace carried over into her personal life as she overcame a personal disability, a stutter.  As you can imagine, a career in marketing would be extremely courageous for someone who has to speak publicly on a regular basis.  “When Ingrid came to work for HECO, we were unaware of her stuttering until she gave her first presentation.  I remember looking around the room and noticing surprised looks from her colleagues.  Ingrid wasn’t embarrassed or offended by any of the quizzical looks; she simply continued with her presentation.  I always admired her for tackling a career that would make her face her speech challenge on a daily basis.  She was an incredibly courageous woman,” says Rocki Shepard, President and CEO of Highway Equipment Company. 
Ingrid continued to excel in her marketing roles at HECO and was recognized by the company’s loyal dealers as the face of HECO and respected for her passion, engaging personality, and commitment to supporting dealer initiatives.  Sharitz shares, “We [AGCO] always had a brotherly relationship with HECO – trust and the shared objective to serve our customers. Ingrid helped bring the same working relationship our design teams shared into the marketing organizations.” 

Ingrid’s dedication to maintain positive professional relationships was consistently evident by many dealers at industry events, especially trade shows.  “At trade shows, Ingrid always made a point to stop by our booth to see if there was anything more that HECO could be doing to support our business,” says Lehmann.  One of the key events Ingrid orchestrated was New Leader Night at the Ag Retailers Association’s (ARA) annual event.  “Ingrid’s handiwork was probably most evident to the industry at the various New Leader Night dinner meetings she would organize and host at the ARA conventions,” says Scott King, equipment services manager at Helena Chemical Company.  Sharitz also commented on her organization at events saying, “Ingrid never lost composure, never raised her voice, never lost confidence in the team’s ability to execute and never panicked. Her coolness instilled confidence in the rest of her team.”  Marvin Scruggs, president and owner of Scruggs Equipment, an authorized New Leader dealer, recalls Ingrid’s friendship at trade shows, “Ingrid was one of those friends that I always looked forward to seeing at MAGIE.  Even during the hectic time of setting up for the show, she stopped and took time to catch up.  She even remembered my wife's and children’s names.”
During the 18 years Ingrid participated in the ag industry, her leadership provided awareness and commitment to the industry and the entire HECO team during a tremendous growth era.  “The technology and precision farming, which is standard practice for today’s growers, requires fertilizer to be more and more exact,” says King.  Ingrid fully supported dry product application and worked every day to share the message of precision application.  In the words of Lehmann, “Ingrid was a true advocate of agriculture.”

As we reflect on the life and legacy of Ingrid, we remember how extremely close she was to those who she shared her professional life at HECO and recognize that Ingrid’s contributions have forever impacted the ag industry and everyone who knew her.  Ingrid’s unique gift to be a surrogate sister, a mom and a daughter to many of us at HECO will remain a steadfast remembrance of her commitment to life and to those who shared her life.  She was a remarkable woman.  Our hearts were broken on that snowy morning in January.  

Though we mourn for our loss, we will continuously celebrate her energy, her honesty, her vibrancy and her pure joy of living that she brought to all who shared her remarkable life.  Ingrid is survived by her two daughters.  She is missed.

Her Highway Equipment (New Leader) family