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Arizona Ginner Charles C. Owen Honored

Lifetime Achievement Award
Arizona Ginner Honored

The late Charles C. Owen, an Arizona ginner whose career was marked by his strong desire to advance the U.S. cotton industry through quality preservation, research, employee education and outreach to U.S. cotton’s customers, is the recipient of the 2016 Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was presented at the National Cotton Council’s 2017 annual meeting.

In presenting the award to Owen’s wife, Mary, outgoing NCC Chairman Shane Stephens quoted from one of Owen’s nomination letters saying, “Charlie’s focus was the advancement of the cotton industry throughout his entire career.” Also participating in the presentation were Owen’s daughter, Leevon Guerithault, and grandsons, Paul Lovelis and Daniel Guerithault.

The annual award, established in 1997, is named for Oscar Johnston, whose vision, genius and tireless efforts were foremost in the organization and shaping of the NCC. The award is presented to an individual, now deceased, who served the cotton industry, through the NCC, over a significant period of his or her active business career. The award also recognizes those who exerted a positive influence on the industry and who demonstrated character and integrity as well as perseverance and maturation during that service.

Mary Owen addresses NCC delegates after accepting the 2016 Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her late husband, Charlie Owen, as incoming NCC Chairman Ronnie Lee, sitting, looks on with from left in rear: Owen’s daughter, Leevon Guerithault, and grandsons, Daniel Guerithault and Paul Lovelis.

Cotton Legacy Lives On
Owen began in the cotton ginning business in the mid-1950s with Cotton Producers Association in Phoenix. That organization actually was a Georgia marketing cooperative that had expanded into Arizona to take part in that state’s flourishing cotton industry. After working for a number of years for CPA, which had built gins in the Arizona towns of Marana and Santa Rita, Owen joined Southside Gin in Coolidge and managed it from 1971-1978.
Owen next worked as a salesman with Lummus Corporation from 1978-85 before being hired to manage the Glenbar Gin in Pima, Ariz. — a facility he had sold to the current owners after helping to build it three years before. Owen served as Glenbar’s general manager and also became a stockholder. In 1996, he bought the gin from the remaining stockholders.

Owen next worked as a salesman with Lummus Corporation from 1978-85 before being hired to manage the Glenbar Gin in Pima, Ariz. — a facility he had sold to the current owners after helping to build it three years before. Owen served as Glenbar’s general manager and also became a stockholder. In 1996, he bought the gin from the remaining stockholders.

Owen quickly became involved in the Arizona Cotton Ginners Association, the National Cotton Ginners’ Association and the National Cotton Council. He was recognized by his peers in 1989 as the NCGA’s National Cotton Ginner of the Year. In 2011, he received the NCC’s Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award and in 2016, the NCGA renamed its long-standing service award the Charles C. Owen Distinguished Service Award.

Owen made many contributions to the industry’s health, including his idea and work behind the scenes that resulted in the successful quality video series funded by John Deere. He also collaborated with the USDA ginning laboratory in Mesilla Park, N.M., that was instrumental in the development and commercial introduction of high speed roller ginning.

Owen provided stellar support for the Western Ginners School by teaching gin management courses. He also was a leader in the NCGA’s mill communications program and later expanded that communication with overseas U.S. cotton textile customers.

His legacy lives on through these, and many more, contributions to the U.S. cotton industry.