By Jayci Cave
At PCCA, one of the primary goals of the cooperative is to market cotton in such a way that it adds value to its grower-owners’ bottom line. Part of fulfilling this mission is bringing in the best talent to join the PCCA team and working hard each day for the cooperative. Keith Lucas is the newest member of the PCCA sales team ready to do his part. Lonnie Winters, PCCA Vice President of Marketing, recently announced that he will be retiring at the end of August 2018. Following a nation-wide search, PCCA brought Keith Lucas on board to work with Winters and ll his shoes upon his retirement.
“I think my role, in particular, is to take the talented staff that we have in the sales organization and make sure that I utilize each one’s unique ability for the job that they were hired to do here at PCCA,” Lucas said, “to make sure that we work together to get the best value, first and foremost, and the best price for our grower-owners.”
Lucas was born and raised in Alabama and Georgia. He attended Auburn University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Susan, for 34 years, and they have three children; Rett, Katie and Maggie. Prior to coming to West Texas, Lucas was Vice President of Marketing at PCCA’s sister cooperative and AMCOT partner, Carolina Cotton Growers Cooperative. He served that cooperative for 17 years. Since his college graduation, he has always been part of the cotton industry.
“When I graduated from Auburn, I went to work at a textile mill, Swift Textiles, which was part of Dominion Textiles, and I went to work as a process engineer,” Lucas said. “Shortly thereafter, I was working with cotton so much that I was sent to cotton school in Memphis and eventually became the cotton buyer for the denim division. After that, I had a little brokerage company of my own, Lucas Cotton, and did that for a few years and then partnered with a friend of mine in Montgomery, Alabama, and had a merchandising rm. Then after about five or six years of that, I went to work for the cooperative in Carolina.”
Lucas said he feels his experience in the textile industry and in merchandising helps provide him with a unique perspective to his new role at PCCA.
“I do have the ability to understand where that end user of that fiber is coming from when he is talking about the particular characteristics, needs, why he needs them and what kind of end product he is looking for,” Lucas said. “Also, having a merchandising company gave me the opportunity to visit with growers, get to know ginners and that particular community, which led me to the cooperative and I am proud to say I have really enjoyed the cooperative side of it. That is definitely my favorite. I think it is a grand pursuit to be able to work in this industry.”
Lucas said he enjoys working for cooperatives and the principles upon which they were founded.
“Cooperatives are unique in that they are a collective of individuals who came together with a unified purpose, and it gives them the opportunity to band together from the biggest to the least,” Lucas said. “They are all treated equally, and I think that it is almost biblical in a lot of ways for that cooperative to have the same sort of community principle, one of looking out for your neighbor.”
Relationships are one of the strengths of the cooperative system and Lucas said that, along with PCCA’s reputation, are what made him want to join the team at PCCA.
“Getting to know people is a tremendous opportunity in my opinion,” Lucas said. “I am a people person. I love relationships, and the people here, starting from Kevin (PCCA President and CEO) to the management team to the talented staff I get to work with each and every day. It is just an opportunity that I knew was going to be the biggest draw for me to come to PCCA.”
Lucas said he hopes growers will give him as well as PCCA the privilege of taking care of their cotton.
“First and foremost, PCCA has a really great reputation, a very reliable source of security for production,” Lucas said. “If you have any kind of weather issue you know you have a home for your cotton, and it is a proven track record with great returns and it gives you multiple opportunities to market your cotton. I think it benefits the farmer because you are open and honest. They know there is a lot of transparency here at PCCA, and in the cooperative system all together. I have really noticed just how much transparency there is at PCCA to try to make sure that the grower-owners are very much aware of what is going on. No hidden agendas, nothing in the background, just really out there to make sure they are comfortable with who they are doing business with.”