The National Cotton Ginners’ Charles C. Owen Distinguished Service Award was presented during this week’s National Cotton Ginners Association Board of Directors and Annual Meeting to two individuals who over their career have provided distinguished and exemplary service to the ginning industry. The 2017/2018 award honoring the two deserving recipients was presented to Lummus Corporation’s Ross Rutherford and Dale Thompson, Manager of Marketing and Processing Technology for the National Cotton Council.
Both Rutherford and Thompson have played instrumental roles in the ginning industry, and their careers are replete with accomplishments. “I love the ginning business and have thoroughly enjoyed working with so many dedicated people through my time in this industry,” says Rutherford. “This award means so much to me. I am very appreciative.”
Dale Thompson started his career with the National Cotton Council (NCC) in 1984 and is known across the cotton belt for his efforts to staff the NCC’s Joint Cotton Industry Bale Packaging Committee and its Cotton Flow Committee. He has also been a diligent force in the ongoing fight to prevent fiber contamination. “It has been fascinating to interface with all segments of our industry during my career,” says Thompson. “It’s been wonderful being a part of the NCC and their efforts to move the business of U.S. cotton forward both domestically and around the world.”
Rutherford has been a familiar face at gin schools for decades and serves on the National Ginners’ Gin School Subcommittee. “We have to attract, educate, and train new ginners to keep our industry viable,” says Rutherford. “I’ve always placed great value on not only our annual gin schools, but on the Continuing Education classes that keep ginners abreast on the latest trends, technologies, and safety recommendations.”
After earning his B.S. in Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M, he started working for Lummus Industries as a Field Engineer in Lubbock, Texas. After a few cross-country moves as he worked his way up the corporate ladder, he was named Product General Manager and is back in Lubbock, where he oversees Lummus’ ginning product line and its scope of offerings including features, options, costing and pricing. “Ross has been on the product side of the ginning industry for decades, but the broad impact he has made on generations of ginners through his education and teaching is clearly evident and recognized through this award,” says Harrison Ashley, vice president, Ginners Services, National Cotton Council.
Dale Thompson farmed and custom harvested cotton for several years before joining the National Cotton Council in 1984 as a Field Representative. By 2001, he was named Manager of Marketing and Processing Technology in the NCC’s Technical Services Department. “Dale’s attention to detail in both the marketing and processing arenas has helped expedite the flow of quality U.S. cotton into the marketplace,” says Ashley. “He has managed issues, often contentious, ranging from bale packaging requirements and improvements to the prevention of seed cotton and lint contamination.”
Being honored in front of your cotton ginning industry peers by those peers will make you feel deeply appreciative and humble. Both Rutherford and Thompson expressed those exact feelings through their acceptance remarks after they each received their Gin Saw Service Award.