SHEFFIELD — Charles Sukup, president of Sukup Manufacturing Co., has received the 2016 Cyrus Hall McCormick Jerome Increase Case Gold Medal Award from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).
The award recognizes exceptional and meritorious engineering achievement in developing grain handling equipment.
Since Sukup became president of the company in 1995, it has launched several new product lines, contributing to an eight-fold increase in sales. Those products include commercial grain bins, portable and tower dryers, material handling equipment including bucket elevators and drag conveyors, custom-designed agricultural and commercial steel buildings, and support structures.
The company has become the largest family-owned grain handling and storage equipment manufacturer in the world. The company was founded by Sukup’s father, Eugene, in 1963 upon his development of a grain stirring machine.
The Gold Medal Award was presented in July at ASABE’s annual international meeting in Orlando, Florida. It has been presented annually since 1932. The medal features images of Cyrus Hall McCormick, inventor of the self-rake reaper, and of threshing machine developer Jerome Increase Case. On the medal’s reverse side, a contemporary combine, tractor and farmstead appear in front of a rising sun, symbolizing the new era of American agriculture.
Sukup said he was honored to receive the award.
“I’m very humbled. It has been very fulfilling to help design and produce products that increase the world’s food supply,” he said.
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Sukup was the first degreed engineer to work for the company when he joined it in 1976 after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in agricultural engineering. He later earned a master’s degree in engineering from ISU and is a registered professional engineer.
He credits Sukup employees for the company’s success. He has said that when he joined the company after college, it struck him how Sukup Manufacturing was already full of smart and very talented people. Many of them didn’t have a paper degree, but “they had been farming, they knew how to fix things and had creative ideas and put their whole heart into it. I think that’s been the secret to our success here.”
Sukup served as president of ASABE in 2006-07, representing the society at events around the world. He was inducted as an ASABE Fellow in 2010.
Sukup is the author or co-author of 11 journal articles and holds 12 patents. He was named Engineer of the Year in 2013 by the Iowa chapter of ASABE.
ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food and biological systems. Further information on the Society can be obtained by contacting ASABE at 269-429-0300, emailing email@example.com or visiting www.asabe.org/.
Sukup Manufacturing is headquartered in Sheffield and covers 1 million square feet of office, manufacturing and warehouse space. The company employs over 500 people, making it one of the largest employers in North Iowa. Three generations of the family are now active in the business.
Sukup has six distribution centers located throughout the Midwest. Sukup products are sold throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as in over 80 foreign countries.