facebook_pixel

An Unsung Hero of Ginning Efficiency

From Cotton Grower Magazine – May 2015

 

Don Van DoornThe cotton industry is full of unsung heroes – the people who work behind the scenes to keep the industry moving ahead through hard work, dedication and innovation.

You’ll find them at all levels of the industry, from the farm to the gin to research to promotion, marketing and beyond. They may not get or want the recognition they deserve. But the industry would be a lesser place without them.

Without Don Van Doorn, it might also be less efficient.

Outside of the ginning industry, Van Doorn’s name may not ring a bell. But if Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and the late A. L. Vandergriff is credited with helping usher in the modern era of ginning, then Don Van Doorn may have found more ways to make gins run faster, cleaner and more efficiently.

Van Doorn passed away on March 8 at the age of 93 – barely a week after being honored with the A. L. Vandergriff Pioneer Award by the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. His sons accepted the award on his behalf. And the stories shared that evening told the tale of a remarkable career, a deep love for cotton and a life well lived.

A native of Michigan, Van Doorn earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1943. Following service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he moved to Georgia in 1947 to join Lummus Cotton Gin Company.

It was his only job for 68 years.

In an industry as steeped in tradition as cotton ginning, Van Doorn soon became known for his willingness to venture into what Steve Marbut, president and CEO of Lummus, described as “uncharted territory.”

“Don was the epitome of an innovative spirit,” said Marbut, in his remarks during the Vandergriff Award ceremony. “He was never being satisfied with the status quo, but was always looking for a newer, better way and thinking outside the box.”

Van Doorn is credited with developing dozens of new machines or machinery improvements, resulting in some 68 U.S. patents for ginning innovations such as the Super-Jet Lint Cleaner, Imperial series Gin Stands, Dor-Les Press, High-Volume Seed Reclaimer, the Model 700 Feeder and more.

His first patent came in 1949. The last came in 2014, and he was reportedly working on patents 69 and 70 at the time of his passing.

In addition to the Vandergriff Pioneer Award, Van Doorn received the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Mayfield Cotton Engineering Award in 1987 and the National Cotton Ginners Association Distinguished Service Award for 1999/2000.

Van Doorn’s work with Lummus took him all over the world, but he was firmly grounded in his family – his wife of nearly 69 years, Connie, four children and five grandchildren.

But his love for – and innate understanding of – cotton helped fuel his drive for innovation.

“Don understood true cotton quality – the performance measures that lent themselves to tangible improvements in spinnability at the textile mill,” recalled Ross Rutherford, Lummus product general manager. “He always worked toward finding better ways of processing cotton in order to protect the true fiber value and spinning properties.”

“I was always impressed with Don’s work ethic,” added Marbut. “He was in the office every day. He may not have been the first to arrive, but he was generally the last one to leave. According to my administrative assistant, his biggest concern during a recent hospital stay was how his absence from work might affect his job position…after 60-plus years.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Ginning Stories
Ginning

Ginners School Presentations Now Online

July 24, 2017

Six educational presentations from the Ginners School in Stoneville, MS are now available through the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

Ginning

EWR’s eCotton Now Connected with John Deere API

February 24, 2017

EWR’s eCotton software is now connected with the John Deere Operations Center through John Deere’s API services.

Ginning

Fountain, Byler Receive National Ginner Awards

February 15, 2017

Kent Fountain and Rick Byler are recipients of national ginning awards for 2016 from the National Cotton Ginners Association.

Ginning

Blakemore to Lead National Cotton Ginners Association

February 15, 2017

David Blakemore has been elected 2017 president of the National Cotton Ginners Association.

Ginning

2016: The Year in Ginning

December 14, 2016

U.S. ginners continue to address quality and regulatory issues.

Ginning

Craft to Lead National Cotton Ginners Association

February 9, 2016

Ron Craft of Plains, TX, is the 2016 president of the National Cotton Ginners Association.

Ginning

Colombini, Nevius Receive National Ginner Awards

February 9, 2016

Louis Colombini and Barry Nevius have been honored by the National Cotton Ginners Association for their distinguished service to the ginning industry.

Around The Gin
Product News

Indigo Offers Premium for Indigo Cotton Production

January 9, 2018

Indigo Ag has announced a new program that offers significant price premiums for U.S. cotton growers who contract to grow Indigo Cotton.

Product News

New Bayer Varieties Focus on High Yield, Adaptability

January 5, 2018

Bayer releases five new FiberMax and Stoneville varieties for introduction in 2018.

Product News

New PhytoGen TRiO Guards Cottonseed Investment

January 3, 2018

New PhytoGen TRiO seed treatment helps provide early season protection for young cottonseed from diseases, insects and nematodes.

Product News

Americot Adds Seven to Sales, Research Teams

December 20, 2017

Americot has added seven new sales and research associates to the company’s staff across the Cotton Belt.

Product News

Seven New Varieties in Deltapine Class of 18

December 11, 2017

Seven new varieties – including five Bollgard 3 XtendFlex offerings – join the Deltapine product lineup as the Class of 18.

Product News

Special Roundup Ready PLUS Incentives for Arkansas

December 7, 2017

Monsanto is offering a special Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform in Arkansas for 2018 for growers planting XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean varieties.

Product News

Monsanto Sets 2018 Crop Protection Incentives

December 5, 2017

Monsanto will provide multiple tools, resources and products to help cotton and soybean growers maximize weed control in 2018.

Product News

Praxidyn’s Mixmate Named a 2018 AE50 Award Winner

November 27, 2017

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has recognized Praxidyn's Mixmate portable ag chemical blending and recordkeeping system with a 2018 AE50 award.

Latest News
Ginning

Ginners School Presentations Now Online

July 24, 2017

Six educational presentations from the Ginners School in Stoneville, MS are now available through the Focus on Cotton online series from the Plant Management Network and Cotton Incorporated.

Ginning

Texas Cotton Gin to be Country’s Largest

June 16, 2017

A $14.5 million expansion will make the Adobe Walls Cotton Gin in Spearman, TX the largest cotton gin facility in the U.S.

Ginning

Number of Active Cotton Gins Up in Arkansas

May 11, 2017

While the number of cotton gins has declined in Arkansas since 2000, the number of active gins increased by five in 2016.

Ginning

EWR’s eCotton Now Connected with John Deere API

February 24, 2017

EWR’s eCotton software is now connected with the John Deere Operations Center through John Deere’s API services.

Ginning

Fountain, Byler Receive National Ginner Awards

February 15, 2017

Kent Fountain and Rick Byler are recipients of national ginning awards for 2016 from the National Cotton Ginners Association.

Ginning

Blakemore to Lead National Cotton Ginners Association

February 15, 2017

David Blakemore has been elected 2017 president of the National Cotton Ginners Association.

Ginning

2016: The Year in Ginning

December 14, 2016

U.S. ginners continue to address quality and regulatory issues.

Ginning

Craft to Lead National Cotton Ginners Association

February 9, 2016

Ron Craft of Plains, TX, is the 2016 president of the National Cotton Ginners Association.

Ginning

Colombini, Nevius Receive National Ginner Awards

February 9, 2016

Louis Colombini and Barry Nevius have been honored by the National Cotton Ginners Association for their distinguished service to the ginning industry.

Ginning

New GinFast System Packages Bales without Strapping

January 26, 2016

Signode’s new GinFast bale packaging system protects and contains cotton bales in a single consumable bag without wire or strapping.

Ginning

An Unsung Hero of Ginning Efficiency

May 6, 2015

Don Van Doorn gave the ginning industry 68 years of innovation.

Ginning

Ginner School Registration Now Open

March 16, 2015

Registration and information regarding the three 2015 Ginner Schools – including the first session in Lubbock, TX on April 6-8 – is now available online.

Ginning

U.S. Still Struggles with Contaminated Cotton

March 3, 2015

Growers have a vested financial interest in solving cotton contamination problems.

Ginning

NCGA Honors Kelley, Lange and Maguire

February 13, 2015

The National Cotton Ginners Association honored Richard Kelley, Mark Lange and John Maguire with the association’s top awards during its recent annual meeting.

Ginning

NCC Survey Projects 9.4 Million Acres of U.S. Cotton in 2015

February 7, 2015

U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 9.4 million acres of cotton in 2015 – down 14.6 percent from last year – according to the NCC’s annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey.