CHICAGO, IL – March 19, 2013 –Gerald M. Cole will
receive the James E. Baumhart Lifetime Achievement Award from the Better
Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) at the group’s 86th
Annual Dinner Meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2013, at the Chicago Downtown
“Jerry Cole is an
outstanding example of a person whose support of the BBB is both personal and
professional,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the
Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Jerry has
been affiliated with the BBB for almost 40 years and has been a member of our
Board of Directors for more than 30 years. He has greatly contributed to the
effective operation of the organization for decades.”
Cole is currently a member
of the Executive Committee of the BBB, as well as chair of the Ethics and
Standards Committee, which helps enforce ethical guideline with Accredited
Businesses. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of the BBB
This award is named after James E. Baumhart, the
immediate past president of the BBB. He dedicated 43 years to the BBB and its
commitment to enhance an ethical marketplace.
“The Baumhart Lifetime Achievement Award
recognizes a business person who has made an outstanding contribution in
support of the BBB’s mission,” said Bernas. “It is presented only when there is
a person worthy of the award.”
Cole has a long-time commitment to the community
and not-for-profit sectors as well. In addition to his work with the BBB, he is
past president of both Jaycees and Lions clubs as well as a past board member
of United Way,
Junior Achievement and Chambers of Commerce.
Cole is a past chairman and a current director of
Special Olympics Illinois and also is a past chairman and a current Director of
the Special Olympics Illinois Foundation. He is a board member and past vice
chairman of the Board of Trustees of North
and past chairman of the Investment Committee.
Cole spent the majority of his long career in the
financial services business with Kemper Financial Services (KFS). He joined the
firm in the mid-seventies, when the firm had less than 75 employees, and left
when the company was sold in 1996 with over 3,000 employees.
During his more than 35 years in the financial
services industry, he also held leadership positions in a variety of industry
groups, including the Securities Industry Association Sales and Marketing
Committee, the Inter-Financial Association, which he served as Chairman, as
well as the No-Load Mutual Fund Association, which he also served as Chairman.
After leaving KFS, Cole did two long-term
consulting projects for investment firms in St Louis
and Chicago. In
1998, he co-founded KCS & World, an integrated marketing communications
agency serving both consumer and business-to-business marketers. The firm
attracted a wide variety of clients, particularly those from the financial
services sectors. KCS & World is now part of Creative On Call since June of
Cole is currently
chairman and CEO of MAGS II LLC. MAGS focuses on systems that process waste
streams with landfill avoidance.
As a private, non-profit organization, the
purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace.
BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation
and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices
and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and
nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity
before making a purchase or donation.