• By Stacey Gorman,
The Cotton Board Director of Communications •
The Cotton Board is governed by its membership, which consists of both cotton producers and cotton importers. The importers represent various major U.S. brands and retailers – significant downstream users of cotton. The producers represent their respective states in the U.S. Cotton Belt. Together, these segments of the Board offer a wealth of unique perspectives and insight that help guide The Cotton Research and Promotion Program.
During its 2018 Annual Meeting, The Cotton Board elected new officers to guide the Program, including Peter McGrath to serve as chairman for 2018/2019. McGrath is an importer from Colorado who owns a consulting business for major brands and retailers.
Before entering the consulting business, McGrath was executive vice president and director of product development and sourcing for J.C. Penney Company Inc. He joined J.C. Penney in 1973 as a trainee in merchandise distribution in New York City and subsequently held merchandise positions of increasing responsibility in New York, California and Texas until his retirement in 2010.
To learn more about McGrath’s unique perspective as an importer leader in the cotton industry, we asked him a few questions.
Q: Why is it important for importers to serve on The Cotton Board?
The importers who pay into our Program include manufactures, importers, retailers and brands. The diverse group of importers who serve on the Board bring a unique thought process to the table. Our importers are very forward-looking in trying to understand what their customers want. In turn, they manage the Program in a way that matches up with what they see coming in the way of business trends.
Q: What have you learned from the producer members of The Cotton Board?
I’ve had the opportunity to meet cotton producers who I never would have met before, having grown up in the New York area. I have such an appreciation of the optimism and the hope that farmers have as they plant and begin the process of growing a crop. Every year, I hear hope springs eternal from these producers and I’m always amazed.
Q: What makes you passionate about the cotton industry?
Through my years of service on The Cotton Board, I’ve recognized that farming is the backbone of our country. We have a need to feed and clothe not only ourselves, but the rest of the world. When I started in leadership at The Cotton Board, we were facing a significant downturn in the cotton industry. However, we’ve rebounded nicely from that time and can fund an $82 million Program for 2019. It’s an exciting time for the industry.
To learn more, please email Gorman at email@example.com.