George R. Perkins Jr., 1964, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for the Wilson College of Textiles during the NC State Alumni Association’s annual Evening of Stars Gala held Oct. 29. Recipients have excelled in their careers, made a difference in their communities and given back to their alma mater.
“George is a leader in the Textile industry in North Carolina. He is recognized globally as an entrepreneurial businessman who understands the importance of manufacturing and has lead in the creation of many successful companies. He is a visionary who saw the value in keeping core Textile industries in North Carolina and we are proud to have him as an alum of our College where we pride ourselves on our innovation, creativity and leadership,” said Interim Dean David Hinks.
Perkins graduated from NC State with a degree in textile technology in 1964. Upon graduation, he worked in sales positions for J.P Stevens Company and Federal Spinning Company before founding Imperial Cotton Mills in Sanford, N.C., in 1980. Perkins acted a president and CEO of Imperial until 1987. In 1988, he formed Pioneer Yarn Mills, serving as president and CEO until Pioneer was purchased by Unifi Inc. in 1993. With Unifi, Perkins headed the Spun Yarns Division and also was elected to Unifi’s board of directors. In 1996, he launched Frontier Spinning Mills Inc., one of the largest producers of cotton and cotton-blend yarns in the world, and served as the company’s CEO and chair of board until 2008. Two years later, he established Perkins Investments.
Perkins’ textile affiliations include the American Yarn Spinners Associations, The N.C Textiles Manufacturing Association, the N.C Textile Foundation and the National Cotton Council of America. He was a member of the Meredith College Board of Trustees, Central Carolina Community Board of Trustees and the Central Carolina Hospital Board of Directors. In community support, Perkins has served on the boards of First Bancorp in Southern Pines, Centura Banks in Sanford and Macks Stores Inc. in Sanford.