Charlie Owen, a Thatcher, Ariz., ginner, is the recipient of the 2010 Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award. He was honored February 6 during the National Cotton Council’s 2011 annual meeting in San Antonio.
The Baker Award, named for the late California industry leader and NCC President Harry S. Baker, is presented annually to a deserving individual who has provided extraordinary service, leadership and dedication to the U.S. cotton industry.
Owen’s ginning career began in the mid-1950s in Phoenix with the Cotton Producers Association, a Georgia marketing cooperative that had expanded into Arizona to take part in a flourishing cotton industry in that state. After working for a number of years for Cotton Producers Association, which had built gins in Marana and Santa Rita, he accepted a manager’s job with Southside Gin in Coolidge, where he worked from 1971-1978. He then worked as a salesman with Lummus Corporation from 1978-85 before joining Glenbar Gin in Pima. He served as that gin’s general manager, became one of its stockholders in 1996, and then bought the gin from the remaining stockholders.
Owen has been active in the affairs of his community and in the Arizona Cotton Ginners Association, the National Cotton Ginners Association and the National Cotton Council.
He served as president of the hospital board for Mount Graham Regional Medical Center from 1990-2009, was on Arizona Cotton Ginners Association’s Board for many years and served as its president in 1990-91, and was president of National Cotton Ginners Association in 1998-99 and was recognized by his peers in 1989 as the National Cotton Ginner of the Year. He is a ginner delegate for the NCC and also served in that capacity from 1987-92 and 1995-2001. He was the NCC’s ginner vice president from 2004-2009.
Owen’s career in the ginning industry is marked by sharing his knowledge with others and exerting his leadership for the greater good of U.S. cotton. He had a strong desire to advance the U.S. ginning sector through quality preservation, research, employee education and outreach to U.S. cotton’s customers.
Previous Harry S. Baker award honorees include cotton producers, Duke Barr, Bruce Brumfield, Lloyd Cline, Robert Coker, Bruce Heiden, Kenneth Hood, Bill Lovelady, Bob McLendon, Frank Mitchener, Jimmy Sanford, Jack Stone and Charlie Youngker; ginner, Lon Mann; merchants, William B. Dunavant, Jr., and Bill Lawson; textile manufacturer, Duke Kimbrell; association executives, Gaylon Booker, Albert Russell, Earl Sears and B.F. Smith; Congressional members, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Reps. Larry Combest and Charles Stenholm; and USDA official Charlie Cunningham.