Mackenzie, Lunsford Earn Wool Excellence Awards
John Mackenzie and Doug Lunsford
Two men who each spent decades working in the wool industry have been selected to receive the 2014 Wool Excellence Award. John Mackenzie (S.C.) and Doug Lunsford (N.C.) will be honored Jan. 23 during the ASI/National Lamb Feeders Association Annual Convention in Charleston, S.C.
The Wool Excellence Award is sponsored by the American Wool Council’s Wool Roundtable.
“The roundtable chose well when they chose to honor Mackenzie and Lunsford,” said Rita Kourlis Samuelson, wool marketing director for ASI. “Each men dedicated his life to the betterment of the wool industry.” Lunsford’s long career in wool began somewhat by accident when he went to work for Burlington as a teenager in 1966. He worked for about a year, then went back to school to earn a two-year business degree. In 1969, he went back to Burlington and worked at a few different jobs, including yarn making and in the wool warehouse and sorting areas.
In 1976, Lunsford was pulled into the Wool Division of Burlington full-time and a year later found himself in Buffalo, Wyo., where he became a buyer, working directly with growers in western states. By 1988, Lunsford was buying wool for Burlington at warehouses in the central and western United States, eventually being named Manager of Wool Buying in 1990. Lunsford also has fond memories of his time working directly with the growers.
“It kept me away from home a lot, but the growers always made me feel at home,” he said.
Mackenzie, born and raised in Argentina, was introduced to the sheep business early in life as his father managed a sheep station with 55,000 sheep.
Starting out as a trainee for Hart SAC in Buenos Aires, Mackenzie assimilated his knowledge of wool by traveling to other parts of the world. Hart was Argentina’s main wool exporter and remained so for at least 20 years. After leaving Hart, Mackenzie worked as a wool agent and buyer for a variety of wool companies in South Argentina. Upon arriving in the United States, Mackenzie spent 10 years as a wool buyer in Montana for Prouvost Lefebvre & Co.
“The wool business changed in a big way while I was with Cal-Wool,” continued Mackenzie. “We moved from selling all of our wool on the domestic market to selling both domestically and internationally.”