Amalgamated HQ Moved To Idaho

Published online: Feb 26, 2004
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Amalgamated Sugar Company's long-time love affair with the state of Utah is coming to a close. The company announced this week that it is closing its headquarters office in Ogden, UT, and moving 60-70 employees to new headuarters in Boise,ID. The move is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it ends the state of Utah's last connection to the sugarbeet industry, and it marks the first time the state of Idaho has been headquarters to any sugar company. When the Snake River Sugarbeet Cooperative bought the company about five years ago, it was agreed the headquarters office could remain in Ogden. But gradually the expense of travel, the fact the cooperative had no ready headquarters for meetings, and the fact employees will be closer to their growers all added up for the need to make the move. Ralph Burton, company president, hailed the move for those reasons and also for the fact that with today's electronic communications, business can be done wherever a company locates its headquarters. He also said it will position the company in the Idaho state capitol where legislative matters affecting the industry can be easily handled. Burton said the company has already moved about 10 employees including himself, with the traffic, purchasing and sales, and human resource staffs scheduled to start moving in March through the summer. By 2005, all the accounting, information and IT divisions will be moved. "Any time you make a move like this there is always some anxiety," Burton said about relocating employees. "Some are looking forward to it and some for other reasons aren't going to see their way clear." He added that a goodly number will stay with the company. "We have been well accepted [in Boise]. It has been gratifying the reception we've been given. Of course its not like were coming [from a long distance and having to change cultures] because Ogden to Boise is not that big of a change." Terry Ketterling, chairman of the board, will continue in his position with other executive directors being Ron Hepworth, Burley; Duane Ramseyer, Filer; Doug Maag, Vale, OR; Mike Driscoll, Pingree; Scott Stevenson, Paul; and Todd Merigan, Rupert. Burton called the Amalgamated grower group resilient. He said that despite the downturns in the industry they are an optimistic group and look foward to another year. "We're struggling with low prices, which is discouraging, but I think we'll be balanced as we wait for spring to come," he added. The new headquarters has easy access from the freeway. The 14,000-square-foot office building is located at 3184 Elder St. The facility has a large board room. The office was opened in September but the company was aware of the plan to move last summer. The headquarters has been in Ogden for 105 years, despite its last factory in Garland, UT, closing in 1978. That left the company with three factories in Idaho at Paul, Twin Falls, and Nampa, and one in Nyssa, OR. Utah had one of the first three sugar factories in the United States, established by Brigham Young in Salt Lake City in 1853. However, it failed its mission and closed in 1855. There were 14 factories built in the United States from 1838 to 1881 and all but one failed. Today the company produces 19.4 percent of the nation's sugar on 210,000 acres in Idaho and 11,000 acres in Oregon and Washington. The company has 1,100 contract growers in Idaho and 85 in Oregon and Washington.