Amalgamated Sugar Celebrates 100 Years
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Amalgamated Sugar Co. celebrated 100 years in the Magic Valley at a party for selected guests at the facility on Friday.
Local and state dignitaries including Mayor Shawn Barigar and Sen. Mike Crapo were at the event, as were another 150 to 200 guests, who joined inside a movable tent for refreshments, conversation and to learn a little history of the Twin Falls sugar plant.
“You don’t get to be 100 years old without having a really serious work ethic,” said company President and CEO John McCreedy. He said the company was able to start business in the valley because “of the land, water, farming community and the ability to grow sugar beets year after year.”
The Twin Falls facility, which opened on Oct. 22, 1916, might in many ways look every bit its 100 years, said Duane Grant, chairman of the Snake River Sugar Co., but much of its success is attributed to being able to adapt to changing times and technology.
Every decade after the company's opening saw new advances in technology, he said, and the company learned to adapt and grow to meet the increasing demand. Its sugar today is shipped across the country and to many parts of the world.
You don’t get to be 100 years old," says John McCreedy, president and CEO of Amalgamated Sugar Co., "without having a really serious work ethic.
Sen. Crapo honored the company, saying he started working with sugar beets as a young man in Idaho Falls. He said he once worked in a powdered sugar facility.
“I got sweet on sugar way before running for Congress,” he said, noting he’s proud of the many jobs the company provides to Idaho residents.
Amalgamated Sugar employs between 1,500 and 2,000 people, McCreedy said, depending on the time of year. About 500 of them work at the Twin Falls plant. Another Magic Valley plant, located in Paul, opened in 1917.
In its early days the Twin Falls facility processed 622 tons of sugar every day, said Plant Manager Jorge DeVarons, but it now processes nearly that much every two hours. By year’s end it is expected the plant will have produced 1.4 million tons of sugar in 2016 alone.
He shared other interesting numbers about the company, including this one: if you were to stack in piles the sugar the Twin Falls plant has produced in its 100-year history, it’d reach 45 miles high.
DeVarons told the crowd that Amalgamated Sugar “fully intends to be here another 100 years.”
After the ceremony, visitors were invited to tour the sugar plant. Once divided into groups, visitors donned hard hats and safety glasses for their 45-60 minute tour.
Vince Rosen, a facility manager who led one tour, said he’s work at the plant for 42 years. After showing his group a couple of sites on the grounds, he stopped at one of the buildings where machines and workmen were busy inside processing that day’s sugar.
“Put in your earbuds,” he said. “It’s going to get noisy in here.”