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Dorothy Owen, First Female AISC Board Member, Dies at 81

Dorothy “Dottie” Anne Greene Owen of Columbia, S.C., passed away last Friday at the age of 81. She served in leadership roles on various industry boards, including Colonial Cos., Inc., the state and national boards of BB&T, Commercial Metals Co. and South Carolina State Ports Authority. She was the first woman to serve on AISC’s Board of Directors (from 1982 to 1986).

Owen was born on December 16, 1934, in Blowing Rock, N.C. An alumna of Furman University, she went on to earn a master’s degree from Appalachian State University. Early in her career, she worked in higher education, teaching at both Anderson College and Wake Forest University. Later, her career path led to administration roles in the regional steel industry. She met her husband, Franklyn Deming Owen, Jr., the second generation of leadership for Owen Steel Co., Inc. (an AISC member and certified fabricator), while working for U.S. Steel.

When Franklyn died in 1982, Dorothy became the company’s chairwoman of the board — including its 10 subsidiaries in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Virginia — and served in this role until 1994. She also served on many community and higher education boards and received several honors, including Life Membership-University of South Carolina Alumni Association, Woman of Valor from the Diabetes Association, the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction award and the YWCA 1994 Tribute to Women in Industry Award, and was twice recognized in Working Woman magazine as one of the “Top 50 U.S. Women in Business.”

She is survived by three children and four grandchildren.


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