Telling the story of sugar is a big task, and companies like Amalgamated Sugar and associations such as The Sugar Association are finding new ways to share that story with the world. Recently, Maria Alvarez, the Sugar Warehouse Manager at Amalgamated Sugar’s Nampa factory was interviewed via Skype by the Sugar Association as a part of a video campaign that is currently in development.
A condensed transcript of the interview is included here.
How long have you worked at Amalgamated Sugar?
I have worked at Amalgamated Sugar for 20 years. In 1999 I started at the company as a general laborer.
Have any of your family members worked for Amalgamated Sugar?
Yes, my husband has worked for Amalgamated Sugar for 30 years, my brother, sister-in-law and brother-in-law have also been working for the company for 20 plus years. My father-in-law retired a few years ago and my son started working at Amalgamated Sugar about 5 years ago. We like to say it’s a family business.
What do you do for the Company?
I am the Sugar Warehouse Manager. I am responsible for the warehouse department; I promote a safe working environment through employee training, equipment maintenance and consistent improvement of work practices.
What’s one thing you would want to tell someone who doesn’t know a lot about how sugar is made?
It is amazing how sugar is made – there is a lot of science and chemistry to it. We can produce many different products from beets, like sugar, liquid sugar, invert, brown sugar, fertilizer, molasses, betaine, etc.
What is it about Amalgamated Sugar that led you to build your career here? Would you ever do anything different?
I work for Amalgamated Sugar because it is an honest company with values centered on the employees, the farmers, customers and suppliers. It is about the people and products – not profit. There are so many events that celebrate and appreciate employees and their families. No, I wouldn’t do anything differently.
What does it mean to you to be an Amalgamated Sugar employee?
I grew up surrounded by agriculture, being an employee of a sugar company feels natural to me. The Amalgamated Sugar Company is a big part of Nampa; it supplies employment opportunities and quality products.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new employees?
Take pride in your work. Have integrity and make smart, safe choices. Everyone’s safety is important. We make safety a personal value.
What do you do to ensure you are producing a safe product?
We have strict policies and procedures in place to manufacture safe, quality products; which also include metal detectors and screens to filter the product and quality assurance is practiced ensuring only the best products are delivered.
What are you doing environmentally that sets you apart?
We have environmental engineers to help develop and operate an environmentally friendly facility. We also recycle plastics, cardboard, and paper. We minimize hazard waste, minimize water usage, reuse water where possible, continually improving.
What do you want your family to learn from you and your work?
I would like to have my children and grandchildren learn about the labor, skill and love that goes with growing sugarbeets and processing them. To appreciate our agricultural livelihood. As a grandmother, I find it important that we operate an environmentally friendly facility because I want our future generations to enjoy this world.