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Creating Success

Algene JohnsonRodney Gene Cummings

Director Global Biomaterials Development, Tate & Lyle Americas, Decatur, Illinois

Sandhills Community College Alumnus Rodney Gene Cummings has engineered a successful career at Tate & Lyle Americas as the Director of Global Biomaterials Development in Champaign, Illinois.

After serving in the U.S. Army, Cummings received his associate’s degree in Computer Engineering from Sandhills and transferred to N.C. State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He then went on to Kansas State University where he received a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. Cummings also has a Master’s in Business Administration from Stanford University.

His education and experience has taken him around the world. He has worked in the petroleum and chemical industry in Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium; Arman, Jordan; Istanbul, Turkey; Copenhagen, Denmark and Houston, Texas.

In his current position at Tate & Lyle Americas, Cummings manages commercial development of new chemicals, polymers and fuels coming from renewable resources. Using simple sugars derived from biomass (items like wood chips or corn cobs) or food (corn or sugar cane), Tate & Lyle converts them into building block chemicals via metabolic pathway engineering.

Cummings hopes to one day return to the Sandhills of North Carolina upon retirement. He may choose, like many area retirees, to volunteer at the college helping a new generation of engineers through the Tutoring Center.


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