2010 Publicity Club of Chicago Lifetime Achievement Honoree:
Aaron D. Cushman
Aaron D. Cushman spent five decades in the field of public relations and was active chairman and CEO of the agency that he established in 1952 (Aaron D. Cushman and Associates, Inc.) until he retired in 1997.
A journalism graduate of the University of Illinois, Cushman entered public relations during the industry’s early years as a publicist in show business and promoted such entertainers as the Three Stooges, Jane Russell, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, among others.
Cushman returned to Chicago after serving in the military to build Aaron D. Cushman and Associates and guided its growth into one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious independent PR firms. The agency ranked in the Top 10 with offices in New York, Los Angeles and St. Louis and served a diverse clientele – from Serta, Keebler Cookie Company, Maytag Marriott Hotels, 7-UP, and Marvin Glass & Associates, to Chrysler, Motorola, Warner-Lambert, Century 21, Ralston Purina and Con Agra. The Agency also represented foreign governments, including Mexico, Canada, Sweden, South Korea, Singapore and the Cayman Islands.
He became president of Cushman-Veeck Public Relations in 1959 in conjunction with Bill Veeck, president of the Chicago White Sox. In 1975, he became a partner-owner of the ball club. During his 11-year tenure, Cushman helped Veeck institute inventive sports marketing programs which also led him to produce 12 World Championship Tennis Tournaments.
Aaron D. Cushman and Associates, Inc. received numerous awards including 50 Golden Trumpets from the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC), several Silver Anvils from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and over 40 Awards from the International Association of Business Communicators. Cushman himself has been recognized with several honors for his lifetime achievements, industry pioneering career and leadership, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from PCC, a national PRSA Gold Anvil nomination, and the highest honors from several regional PRSA chapters.
Cushman has served in numerous capacities including president of the PCC, president of the Counselors Academy of the Chicago Chapter of PRSA, member of the PRSA Counselors Academy National Executive Committee, worldwide president of Public Relations Organisation International and was elected to the PRSA College of Fellows. Cushman holds an APR and in 1996, was named Marketing and Public Relations “Man of the Year” by the International Hospitality Marketing Association.
Cushman authored, A Passion For Winning: Fifty Years of Promoting Legendary People and Products (2004), where he reveals how his innovation and integrity influenced a profession in its infancy. He continues to inspire others and shape the PR profession by authoring and speaking at engagements, as well as serving as a member of the National Advisory Board for the University of Illinois’ College of Media.
Cushman has been married to his lovely wife, Doris, for 65 years and has three children, 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.