A prominent public affairs, public relations and political consultant, Joe Cerrell worked professionally in politics for almost five decades. In 1966, Joe founded and served as chairman and CEO of Cerrell Associates Inc. Based in Los Angeles, it is one of California’s oldest, largest and most respected government affairs, public relations and campaign management firms.
During his career, Joe played key roles in the presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey, Lloyd Bentsen, John Glenn and Al Gore. On his own, or as part of the firm, he managed a wide variety of local and state campaigns, and pioneered the field of judicial campaign management. He was chairman emeritus and past president of the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) and past president of the International Association of Political Consultants (IAPC). Joe also served as a member of the White House Business and Public Affairs Advisory Committee by appointment of President Jimmy Carter.
He served on the board of directors for the Los Angeles World Affairs Council; was past chairman of the Hollywood Wilshire YMCA; past vice president of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), Los Angeles chapter; and member of the Board of Visitors of the Graziadio School of Business Management, Pepperdine University. Joe also served as president of the California Museum of Science and Industry and as a member of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, when it hosted the 1984 Olympic Games.
Active in Italian-American organizations, Joe was vice chairman and immediate past president of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF);he served as vice-chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian-American Organizations; was appointed to the California Italian American Task Force by former California Governor Pete Wilson; and was chairman of the board of the Italy America Chamber of Commerce West (IACCW). He was a member of the Sons of Italy, UNICO and the Federated Italo-Americans of Southern California and holds the “Commendatore al Merito Della Republica Italiana”(Knight Commander) decoration from the Republic of Italy. He was also the Regional Vice President for the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit. In 2002, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
He was been honored with many awards during his professional career, including the Small Family Owned Business of the Year Award given by the Los Angeles Business Journal and the PRSA PRism Award for Outstanding PR Professional . In 2004, American University’s Campaign Management Institute awarded him the Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Campaign Consulting . (He is the 11th member inducted to their Hall of Fame)
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he completed 15 years as an adjunct professor with USC’s prestigious Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, which he co-founded. He is a past member of the Board of Governors of the USC Alumni Association.