James J. Horvath, president and CEO of American Crystal Sugar Company, is the 2008 recipient of the Dyer Memorial Award. Born in Milwaukee, Wis., Horvath received degrees from the University of Wisconsin before beginning his business career at the Miller Brewing Company.
In 1985, he became vice president of finance for American Crystal until 1994 and then the vice president for Joint Ventures. In that capacity, he was the Chief Operating Officer of ProGold, LLC, a joint venture with the Golden Growers Cooperative, operating a corn wet milling plant near Wahpeton, N.D. In 1996, he was named American Crystal’s Chief Financial Officer.
In 1998, he became the president and chief executive officer of American Crystal and served in that capacity until he retired in 2007, completing the longest tenure as the head of the Cooperative since it was founded in 1973.
He helped with the formation of the United Sugars Corporation and served as a member of its board as well as serving as a board member of Midwest Agri-commodities Company, the co-product marketing arm of American Crystal and three other beet sugar companies.
Horvath is married to Carol Warren and they have two sons and three grandchildren.
His many outstanding accomplishments beyond those listed here are a credit to the sugar industry.
The Dyer Memorial Award, “Sugar Man of the Year” was established 1958 in memory of the company’s founder, B. Wheeler Dyer by his two sons, Daniel and Ben. Each year a panel of three distinguished judges selects a person who has made meritorious contribution to the U.S. sugar industry to receive this widely acclaimed honor.