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Cotton Incorporated’s sustainability vision, our efforts across industry, and our partnerships and affiliations are guided by a team of experts in the science and practice of sustainability throughout the cotton lifecycle.

Jesse Daystar

Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer

Dr. Jesse Daystar leads sustainability research and implementation programs at Cotton Incorporated from field to fashion. Well-versed in complexities of sustainability, Jesse breaks down the science and metrics, for consumers and experts, of how cellulosic fibers are grown and apparel is made, used and discarded for the health of the planet. His research has produced numerous publications on sustainability and engineering tools; and certifications for clients including the USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Michele Wallace

Director, Sustainability Standards Development

Michele Wallace’s engagement in sustainability and standards development, combined with her expertise in textile manufacturing and certification as a life cycle assessment professional, enables her to understand the challenges, seek solutions and assist the supply chain through sustainability initiatives. She represents Cotton Incorporated in industry sustainability efforts with organizations including:

  • Apparel & Footwear Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) Technical Secretariat (for the European Single Market for Green Products)
  • AAFA (American Apparel and Footwear Association) committees
  • ASTM International
  • ISO (International Organization for Standardization)
  • AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists)
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Steven Pires

Manager, Sustainability

Steven Pires focuses on improvement strategies for both agriculture and textile industries. Steven applies 10 years of experience in sustainability and environmental management, from dirt to shirt, through research and data-driven practices for cotton. He manages projects aimed at advancing the cotton industry to meet their 10-year sustainability goals, including to help amplify the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, and supports a program with Quail Forever to convert low-yielding cotton acreage to wildlife habitat.

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Ed Barnes

Senior Director of Agricultural & Environmental Research

Dr. Barnes manages agricultural engineering-related projects, including ginning, precision farming, irrigation, and conservation tillage system research. Over the course of his career, Ed has authored or co-authored over 100 technical publications, received two USDA certificates of merit, and served on the Editorial Board of Agricultural Water Management, a Fellow of the American Society of Biological and Agricultural Engineers (ASABE), and serves on the Science Advisory Council of Field to Market, the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture.

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Gaylon Morgan

Director, Agricultural Research (Nutrient and Weed Management, Soil Health)

Dr. Morgan’s research on cotton agronomy, weeds, and diseases has been published and referred to extensively in numerous scholarly reports and industry publications. He has also participated in various conferences, webinars, and lectures during his professional career. Prior to joining Cotton Incorporated, he taught at the University of Tennessee and Texas A&M University.

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Ryan Kurtz

Director, Agricultural Research (Insect pest, pesticide management)

Dr. Ryan Kurtz develops and administers an entomology research program aimed at improving production efficiency and profitability as well as reducing cotton’s environmental impact. Ryan has authored or co-authored several publications looking into the resistance to pest management and serves as content director for Cotton Cultivated, a resource for Cotton Incorporated’s agriculture research and data trends.

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Matthew Farrell

Manager, Textile Chemistry Research

Dr. Matt Farrell conducts and manages research projects including finding more sustainable and innovative methods to add color and performance to fabrics. Matt has published and contributed to numerous research publications on technical aspects of cationic cotton as well as research focusing on the sustainability of textile dyes, fabric treatments and ways to repurpose textile waste to minimize environmental impacts.

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Mary Ankeny

Vice President, Product Development & Implementation Operations

Mary Ankeny plays an integral role in the development of strategy and oversees the day-to-day operations of the Cotton Incorporated Product Development and Implementation laboratories, as well as the internal and external research for the division. Mary has contributed to numerous research publications focusing on textiles’ impact on the environment.

Mary is a long-time member of AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists) and currently serves on many industry groups including as a board member for the AATCC Foundation Student Research Grant Support Program.

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Kater Hake

Vice President, Agricultural and Environmental Research

Dr. Kater Hake is responsible for the cotton production research program, leading a team of scientists who develop and support innovative problem-solving research to increase the profitability and sustainability of cotton farming in the U.S. His passion for agronomy radiates in his presentations and in-field research with growers across the U.S. and globally.

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