Name: Ken Greeson
Title & Company: Manager, Finishing Research, Cotton Incorporated.
Years with company: 16
Tell us about yourself and your work in the cotton industry:
I graduated with a degree in Textile Chemistry from North Carolina State University. Shortly after graduation, I worked for Cone Mills, a major fabric manufacturer that produced a large number and variety of cotton products. I became fascinated with how cotton products could be enhanced with chemical finishes and put my education to use. I did extensive application and testing of many types of finishes including wrinkle resistant, abrasion resistant, flame retardant, oil and water repellent, and many other finishes. After my years in textile manufacturing, I then worked for three specialty textile chemical companies and learned a great deal about how chemicals are designed to enhance cotton’s natural properties. When I came to Cotton Incorporated, I had the unique opportunity to use my talents to further develop cotton finishes using the state-of-the-art equipment at our facility. Over my career at Cotton Incorporated, I had the privilege to be involved in the inception and growth of TOUGH COTTON™ and PUREPRESS™ technologies.
What makes you so passionate about cotton?
Since I started working in the textile industry, I have seen some amazing advances and developments that have allowed for cotton to perform differently and to be used in areas that were thought to be impractical. I like challenges, and I try to avoid the word “impossible” as a part of my vocabulary.
What do you see as cotton’s biggest opportunity in the future?
I see cotton as a truly sustainable resource. As its evolution continues, I envision cotton fiber becoming even more versatile. Technological advances will allow for dyeing and finishing of cotton with less and less environmental impact. When I talk to friends and colleagues, they always tell me that cotton is their favorite fiber because it is so comfortable.
What cotton item do you own that you hope to keep forever, and why?
I won a blanket in a company raffle a few years ago. It is embroidered with image of Cotton Incorporated’s World Headquarters in Cary, NC. It is of course made of cotton. I can’t think of a better reminder of my tenure at Cotton Incorporated.
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