AUSTIN, TX – The late William M. Garrard, the first general manager of Staplcotn Cooperative, is the recipient of the 2006 Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award.
The announcement was made at the National Cotton Council’s 2007 Annual Meeting here on February 1-5. Accepting the award on behalf of the family was Mr. Garrard’s grandson, Billy Whittington, a Greenwood, MS, cotton producer and the nephew of former NCC Chairman Aven Whittington.
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 more than 60 years ago. 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. Recognizing more than office or position held, the award honors someone who, like Garrard, exerted a positive influence on the industry and who demonstrated character and integrity as well as perseverance and maturation during that service. Garrard is the eighth individual to be honored with this award.
Garrard was born in Illinois in 1881 but was raised in Greenwood. After graduating from Mississippi State College in 1904, he began his career at Humphrey Cotton Company in Indianola. He later opened his own cotton business, W.M Garrard and Company, a successful merchandising and export business.
In 1921, Staplcotn’s originating directors urged Mr. Garrard to become their first general manager. By the time that he died in 1958, Staplcotn had sold more than 10 million bales of cotton valued at $1.5 billion, with buyers in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Mr. Garrard was known for his winning personality, courage, depth of character and unusual trading abilities. With this pioneering attitude, he was able to bring cooperative marketing to the Mississippi Delta. He also was known for his basic blend of ideas from which emanated the rules of cooperative marketing.
Mr. Garrard also participated in the National Cotton Council’s organizational meeting and served as a NCC delegate from 1939 until 1958.
Previous Oscar Johnston Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are: James E. Echols, Memphis, TN, a former NCC chairman; Sykes Martin, Courtland, AL, producer; Walter Montgomery, Sr., Spartanburg, SC, textile manufacturer; William Rhea Blake, a former NCC executive vice president; Roger Malkin, long-time chairman and CEO of Delta and Pine Land Company, and former NCC presidents, George C. Cortright, Jr., Rolling Fork, MS, producer, and Jack Hamilton, Lake Providence, LA, producer/ginner/warehouseman.