MEMPHIS – Neal Gillen, the former executive vice president and general counsel of the American Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA), is the recipient of the 2011 Harry S. Baker Distinguished Service Award. He was honored on February 12 during the National Cotton Council's 2012 annual meeting in Fort Worth.
The award, named for the late California industry leader and past 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.
Gillen represented ACSA and its federated associations from 1966 until 2010 as the director of its Washington office, as vice president and general counsel, and as executive vice president and general counsel. His duties and responsibilities for ACSA brought him into daily contact with agricultural policy makers. As a lawyer, he appeared before numerous state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. He testified before U.S. Congressional committees, state legislative committees and foreign parliaments on more than 100 different occasions pertaining to numerous issues of importance to the U.S. cotton industry.
The longest serving member of the Agricultural Advisory Committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gillen was appointed by the Departments of State and Agriculture to serve as the first U.S. representative to the private sector of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC). He currently is the ICAC's permanent representative to the United Nations' Committee on International Trade Law.
In his role with the NCC, Gillen was a member of the Advisory Committee on Trade, an advisor to the Cotton Flow Committee and the Committee on Futures Market Delivery, and was a key member of the NCC committee that drafted language for transactions involving option to purchase contracts.
A New York City native, Gillen graduated from New York University and later received his Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law School in Washington, DC, where he met his wife, Mary-Margaret.
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; ginners -- Lon Mann and Charlie Owen; 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.