The People of U.S. Sugar

Honoring the People of U.S. Sugar

At U.S. Sugar, people are the foundation of our sweet success. Our 2,500 employees are the reason we are a recognized leader in the growing and processing of sugarcane, citrus and sweet corn. U.S. Sugar honors its exceptional employees and their years of service during an annual awards ceremony.

"We are constantly looking for improvements in how we do anything that we do. We operate with that in mind. We are always looking to do better."

Michael Cameron

Michael started working for U.S. Sugar as part of the sugar mill labor crew in 1980. After two seasons, he transferred into the field construction department to work with heavy equipment such as field pumps and excavators on the sugarcane farms.

For the last 15 years, he’s been supervising the crews that maintain farm canals, helping the farmers keep the water that flows into the canal system as clean as possible. Michael takes his responsibility as a steward of the land very seriously, embracing improvements large and small that improve productivity and reduce environmental impact.

Michael and his wife, Sydney, met and married in Clewiston. Michael’s career with U.S. Sugar gave the couple the ability to raise their family in their hometown, including a son who recently graduated from law school at New York University and a daughter who has an environmental law degree from the University of Florida.

"Everyone says U.S. Sugar is a large company because we have over 1,000 employees but, we are more like a small company because we care about each other and our community. Volunteering is a good way to get everyone together."

Matthew Kindermann

A former Marine, Matthew served in Afghanistan and is currently a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve. He joined U.S. Sugar in 2013 and works with a group of approximately 450 employees in the Sugar Factory.

Matthew recently coordinated the company’s Habitat for Humanity team, building two new homes in Port Labelle with 60 volunteers, mostly U.S. Sugar employees working in shifts totaling 208 hours over four days. Matthew also helped coordinate the company’s annual turkey giveaway, not a small task as 2,400 turkeys and packages of sugar were given to our employees and many of the area’s first responders.

"My family and I live on the river in Stuart. Its health is important to us. It is equally a that we understand the issues and work together to find solutions."

Carl Stringer

Carl Stringer and his family live on the South Fork of the St. Lucie River in Stuart. Carl, a native of the U.K., moved from Miami 11 years ago to join U.S. Sugar as Chief Information Officer. Today, he is the company’s Vice President of Information Technology and Employee Benefits.

The Stringers, including 14-year-old Cane (serendipitously named before Carl even started working for U.S. Sugar), are passionate about the river. From fishing tournaments to knee boarding, kayaking, tubing or boating with Cane’s classmates, the family spends much of their leisure time on or in the St. Lucie River.

Carl is concerned that lack of knowledge about the real source of water run-off and discharges out of Lake Okeechobee mistakenly colors some of his neighbors’ perceptions about his company and its people.

"We do a tremendous amount of recycling of our water rather than discharging it, and our best management practices result in far cleaner water leaving our farms!"

Jose “Pepe” Lopez

Pepe Lopez met his wife Brenda, a Clewiston girl who had traveled to Spain to study, in Madrid. After completing his engineering degree at the University of Madrid, Pepe moved to Florida and joined U.S. Sugar as a staff engineer.

After 30 years of experience in engineering and water quality issues, Pepe is now the Director of Water Compliance. He works closely with U.S. Sugar staff and with the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He is responsible for the company’s water quality – permitting, testing, best management practices, reporting and compliance.

“When I came to work at U.S. Sugar, it seemed like I came into a family. I enjoy what I do and the people I work with.”

Colin Ricketts

At 68 years old, Colin isn’t thinking about retirement. He enjoys his work and the people he has worked with for more than four decades too much for that. Colin started his career with U.S. Sugar in 1969 as an off-shore cane cutter. He then worked his way up to foreman positions, equipment operations, field chemist and now is our quality assurance technician. 46 years later his responsibilities change with the growing season but his goal is constant – to ensure sugarcane growing and harvesting operations are performed properly.

“I don’t want to be anywhere else. I know most of the people who work here. U.S. Sugar provides for my family, for the town of Clewiston and for the other towns around Lake Okeechobee.”

Daniel Rifa

Daniel grew up in Clewiston, went to college at the University of Florida, studied business administration, and came home to work for U.S. Sugar 2 ½ years ago. He started out in the benefits department as a retirement specialist, was promoted to an insurance benefits coordinator and then was recently tapped to be a management trainee in the company’s sweet corn operation – one of the largest in the state.

Daniel’s father, who started out as a field mechanic is now a farm manager overseeing nearly 40,000 acres of sugarcane and managing 50 employees. His mother worked in agricultural administration for U.S. Sugar for 30 years. His cousins also work for the company.

“I raised my kids right here on a U.S. Sugar farm. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The people who work here are down-to-earth farming types.”

Steve Stiles

Steve’s family has worked for U.S. Sugar since 1935. Both of Steve’s parents spent part of their careers with U.S. Sugar and his uncle worked for the company for nearly 20 years.

Steve grew up wanting a career with U.S. Sugar. Once he was hired, with the help of his mentor, he was promoted quickly. Starting out in 1982 servicing trucks, he worked his way up to increasingly higher positions in sugarcane production. Steve now manages a farm of more than 40,000 acres of sugarcane.