Suwannee Democrat

Suwannee Democrat

February 13, 2013

Celebrating Black History Month: Hard work rewarded

A manager at Johnson & Johnson, Sherman Riley looks to bright future

Live Oak — Sherman Riley is a 2000 graduate of Suwannee High School. The son of Reverend Clifton and Sonja Riley, Sherman was taught early on the fundamentals in morals, values and work ethics. Sherman knew at the tender age of eight that he wanted to be an engineer and made up his mind to focus on school and studying to make his dream come true.

After excelling in school and earning awards in scholastic achievement, Sherman headed up to Tallahassee to Florida State to earn a degree in industrial engineering.

Although things were falling into place for Sherman, an unexpected event happened. He became a father to a newborn son. He admits it was a struggle and obviously sacrifices had to be made, but he admits it was the best thing to happen to him. He gave up time with friends to take a full load of engineering courses and to work a full time job to support his family.

Sherman now has two kids, Jada a five-year-old girl and Jordan his nine-year-old boy. He said that time with them gives him the greatest joy. Now residing in Jacksonville, Sherman works for Johnson & Johnson as operations manager overseeing the production of Acuvue contact lenses. Sherman is also involved in the community and serves on many non-profit boards such as Knots4kids, Big Brother Big Sister, National Society of Black Engineers and Jacksonville Urban League.

Sherman became interested in mortuary science and worked for Charles T. Hall Funeral Home while still in high school. Sherman is currently working and studying to become a licensed funeral director and embalmer. His long-term goal is to own and operate successful funeral home establishments.

Sherman mentors young men to always keep their eyes on their dreams and to never give up.

On March 9, Sherman and twin brother Sherwin will be leading the Gary Edwards Leadership day at SHS for young men grades six thru 11. They’ll be introduced to modules such as: Health Awareness, Crime Prevention, Dining Etiquette, Behavior and Attitude and Dressing for Success. Sherman and Sherwin have a committee of members that will be helping with the logistics for that day.

For more information and how to get involved, go to

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