Elizabeth Mendonca

Liz Mendonca started working at ASR Group’s Domino® Sugar Refinery in Yonkers, NY, as a Process Engineer in 1996. Now, she is the Refinery Manager. Before starting her career 25 years ago, she didn’t know anything about sugarcane. She had seen cane fields when visiting family in Florida, but had no idea there were cane sugar refineries in her area.

Originally from Queens, Liz attended Manhattan College, right down the road from the Yonkers Refinery. Touring the “sugar house” (refinery) was part of the course requirement for Chemical Engineering. She is now responsible for the whole refinery, from refining to packing and shipping. She is intentional about getting out in the refinery on a daily basis to see what is going on and talking to employees as they work together to achieve operational excellence targets.

One of these targets is focused on sustainability, with a focus on reducing water and energy usage. Packaging is another area where they have made advancements. They use more recycled materials and also changed from two layers of paper for their 4-pound bags to one layer saving many tons of paper each year.

As a Chemical Engineer with direct exposure to the sugar refining process, Liz often finds herself debunking common myths about sugar in conversations outside of work. “There are so many misconceptions. People think sugar is bleached. Sugar is not bleached. The color is removed through filtration and natural processes, not chemically driven processes.” However, if she had to pick one thing to tell people about sugar it would be:  sugar is comes from plants.

While working at the sugar refinery has given Liz an educated stance on what sugar is and isn’t, the most significant impact it has had on her life is the fact that she met her husband there! They now have three adult children, a golden retriever, and seven chickens. Liz likes to bake homemade brownies and cupcakes, but her favorite sweet treat is ice cream!

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