DALLAS, TX – W. D. "Bill" Lawson, III, a North Carolina cotton merchant and dedicated industry leader, was honored today as the recipient of the 2002 Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award for Cotton.
The award, named for the late California industry leader and National Cotton Council (NCC) President Harry S. Baker, is presented annually to a U.S. cotton industry member who has provided extraordinary service, leadership and dedication to the industry. Lawson received the award during the NCC's annual meeting here.
Lawson, who served as the NCC’s president in 1976, also has served as president of Cotton Council International, the Atlantic Cotton Association and the American Cotton Shippers Association.
In presenting the award, outgoing NCC Chairman James Echols said, "Bill has been called on time and again by industry and government to provide his leadership to a number of important initiatives. He has provided valuable assistance to U.S. cotton."
Lawson represented the industry’s interests at the International Trade Conference in the Sudan and for many years was an active participant in cotton trade missions to both Europe and the Far East. He served as vice chairman of the National Cotton Marketing Study Committee and was a member of the National Advisory Committee on Cotton.
Lawson began his career with T.J. White & Company in Memphis, and later was associated with W. D. Lawson & Company serving as vice president from 1952-1970 and president from 1970-1981. He was president of Lawson, Lewis and Peat Company from 1981-1985 and vice president of Hohenberg Brothers from 1985-1995. Since 1997, he has served as president of Lawson-Harris Cotton, Inc. in Gastonia, NC.
A graduate of Davidson College, Lawson holds a master’s degree from the Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania. He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Previous honorees of the Harry S. Baker Award include Duke Barr, Bob Coker, Earl Sears, Albert Russell, B. F. Smith, Charlie Cunningham, Charlie Youngker, Lon Mann, Lloyd Cline, William B. Dunavant, Jr., Frank Mitchener, Duke Kimbrell, Jack Stone, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Jimmy Sanford.