Eugene Sukup Receives Honorary Doctorate Degree from Iowa State University
Eugene Sukup, founder of Sukup Manufacturing Co., the largest family-owned full-line grain drying, storage and handling equipment manufacturer, was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Iowa State University at the December commencement ceremony. In order to receive an honorary degree, a candidate must be nominated by an ISU faculty member, receive letters of support from influential people in their field, and be voted on by the Board of Regents. Sukup’s nomination was unanimously approved. It was noted that as an entrepreneur and civic-minded philanthropist, Eugene has made many groundbreaking contributions to state, national and global agriculture.
Dr. Carl Bern, Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, nominated Sukup for the award. “Eugene Sukup’s career has exhibited extraordinary achievement in invention, innovation, and business management as he and Mary founded and grew Sukup Manufacturing Co. over the past 51 years. He has earned and richly deserves the title, Dr. Eugene G. Sukup,” Bern said.
Sukup received letters of support from Dr. Steven Mickelson, Professor and Chair Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department, Iowa State University, as well as other members of the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department, along with Suku Radia, CEO and President of Bankers Trust, and Dr. Ron Noyes, P.E., a world-class grain storage engineer. Dr. Noyes stated, “Through his lifetime of unselfishly giving to the U.S. and to the world, tools for improving food safety and security, and through his innovative application of steel grain bin technology to provide transportable, low cost, secure humanitarian housing for the masses, Industrial Pioneer, Eugene G. Sukup has earned and deserves the honorary doctorate title of Dr. Eugene G. Sukup.”
At a reception held in his honor, Sukup credited his fifth grade teacher with taking him under her wing and helping him to see that he was capable of doing great things. “She did what I know the faculty here in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering do. She took a genuine interest in me and helped me see my potential.” He credited his continued success to his strong faith in God and the loving support of his wife, Mary.
Eugene Sukup started his career in manufacturing with the invention of an auger for stirring shelled corn in grain bins. The invention broke up hot spots in the bin and loosened the corn for better air movement and was the beginning of Sukup Manufacturing Co. Eugene and Mary’s two sons, Charles and Steve, both joined the company after graduating with engineering degrees from Iowa State University. The company Eugene started has grown to become a leading manufacturer of grain drying, storage, and handling equipment, as well as steel buildings.
Over the past more than 50 years, Eugene and Sukup Manufacturing Co. have amassed more than 80 patents and Eugene’s technical ingenuity has evolved from solving basic food product problems to helping feed and house people around the globe. One of the company’s innovations, the Sukup Safe T Home®, is an adaptation of grain bin technology used to provide emergency housing. These homes are in use in Haiti, the Philippines and Kenya.
Sukup Manufacturing Co. is headquartered in Sheffield, Iowa and covers 1,000,000 sq. ft. of office, manufacturing and warehouse space. The company employs over 500 people, making it one of the largest employers in North Central Iowa. Three generations of the family are now active in the business. The product line includes on-farm and commercial grain bins, portable and tower dryers, centrifugal and axial fans and heaters, stirring machines, bin unloading equipment and bin floors and supports. Sukup also manufactures a line of material handling equipment that includes bucket elevators, drag conveyors and chain loop conveyors, as well as a line of steel buildings. Sukup has six distribution centers located throughout the Midwest and Sukup products are sold throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as in over 80 foreign countries.