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A Textile Leader Innovator And Visionary

Tributes from colleagues who have enjoyed close association with Cogan

Jerry A. Cogan recently retired as president of Milliken Research Corporation. As much as any individual in the companys history, Cogan has been instrumental in establishing Milliken and Company among the worlds most elite companies in research and development. Cogan left a lasting mark on both Milliken and the people throughout the textile industry with whom he worked. Following are just a few observations from those who have enjoyed close association with him in research and development. Jerry Cogan has many marvelous characteristics, two of which really stand out. The first is his complete honesty. Most management decisions are colored to justify either the objectives of the project or the person in charge of the project what today we call spin. Jerry Cogan was completely devoid of spin. He just told you exactly as it was with no attempts to sway one side or the other. It was very refreshing for Mr. Milliken, me and the other people who were associated with him.His second marvelous attribute was his ability to have a broad vision of a large number of problems, crises and other issues without getting lost or getting so bogged down in the details that he couldnt see a solution. He could deal with all areas exceptionally well. He has an enormous grasp of both chemistry and physics. Demitry Gagarine, former Milliken research associate More than anyone I have known, Jerry Cogan combined two frequently contradictory talents the ability to inspire a desire for creativity in those people reporting to him, with the ability to protectively insulate the desire for creativity from those to whom he reported. Dr. George Dacey, former president, Sandia National Labs, and a past member of the Milliken Board of Directors There are two issues in leading innovation: enabling and managing. Each requires different skills. Enabling means asking big questions, tolerating absurd ideas and listening. Managing demands discipline, rigorous goals and the courage to stop. Jerry Cogan does these very well. Dr. Richard Quisenberry, former director, AMTEX Jerry Cogan has been a friend and professional colleague of mine for over 20 years. His counsel and advice on a wide range of issues is always very helpful. Jerry has many assets as an R and D leader, but one of his greatest is his lateral thinking ability. He has a unique ability to see the connection between different sets of technologies and bring them into a cohesive new idea. Combine this with a leadership style that emphasizes freedom to explore and you have a truly world-class R and D leader. Dr. Joe Cunning, director, National Textile Center Jerry Cogan has been a vital link between the academic and industrial worlds. He was comfortable in both environments and trusted and respected by each. Because of this he was particularly effecting in guiding the NTC through its infancy and developing years. Dr. Bob Barnhardt, dean emeritus, North Carolina State University Jerry should be recognized for Innovative Counseling. He was always there when I needed him and he is missed greatly. Bob Swift, director, Crafted with Pride in U.S.A. Council 

Cogan (right) with Dr. George Dacey
Cogan reflects on almost 40 years with Milliken Research

June 2001