Retired Michigan Sugar Company President and CEO Mark Flegenheimer has been recognized as the Sugar Journal Magazine’s 2023 “Sugar Notable” in the “Beet Sugar Processor” category. He will be honored Saturday, July 15, during a dinner at Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans.
Flegenheimer joins fellow sugar industry professionals Bret Allain, Kelly Erickson, Jack Nelson, Richard Baker, and Calvin Viator as this year’s Sugar Notables.
A committee of sugar industry leaders selected this year’s winners from nominations received from members of the sugar industry based on their length service to the industry, career achievements, contributions to the betterment of the industry, involvement in industry organizations and activities, and demonstrated leadership characteristics. Winners were announced in the May issue of the Sugar Journal, a monthly publication that reports on the latest sugar industry news.
“We have so many outstanding individuals in our sugar industry that have done so much to improve and move the industry forward that we felt we should celebrate the ‘best of the best’ that were selected,” said Romney Richard, publisher and editor of Sugar Journal. “We congratulate all of them for excelling with their expertise in sugar production.”
Flegenheimer retired in May 2023 after a 40-year career serving the sugar industry, including 28 years working for Michigan Sugar Company.
He began his career with Michigan Sugar in 1994 working as Vice President of Administration. He became President and CEO in 1998, following in the footsteps of his father Ernest Flegenheimer, who served as Michigan Sugar Company President and CEO from 1963 to 1993, and his grandfather Albert Flegenheimer, who served as Chairman of the Board from 1963 to 1970.
Under Mark Flegenheimer’s leadership as President and CEO, Michigan Sugar Company became a grower-owned cooperative in 2002, and two years later merged with Monitor Sugar Company to form the company that exists today.
Since the formation of the co-op, annual sugar production has doubled from roughly 630 million pounds to 1.2 billion pounds, while the amount of fuel used in the factories has been reduced by more than 40%. Flegenheimer had recently overseen a major upgrade to Michigan Sugar’s Croswell factory, and in 2021 he led efforts to secure a $75+ million investment to build a molasses desugarization facility at the company’s Bay City factory. That facility is scheduled to come online in 2024.
Over the past two and a half decades, Flegenheimer was a leading voice and advocate for Michigan Sugar Company and the entire sugar industry in Washington, D.C., helping to shape numerous Farm Bills, trade agreements, and regulatory matters.
He has been a champion of helping build Michigan Sugar Company’s culture centered on its mission, Creating Growth and Opportunity; its purpose, Making Life Sweeter; its EPIC+ Values: Excellence, Pride, Integrity, Compassion, and Trust; and its commitment to sustainability. His understanding of the company’s history, combined with his vision for its future created a solid path for Michigan Sugar’s next generations of grower-owners and employees.
“As I get to the end of my career and look back, I made a lot of good friends,” he told Sugar Journal magazine, adding he is honored to be recognized as a 2023 Sugar Notable. “The business has great people in it.”