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Bob Pickens - Inspires, Mentors and Empowers


Inspire Mentor Speak

Meet Bob Pickens

The Biographical Sketch Of Bob Pickens

Bob Pickens retired as Vice President of the Board of Commissioners for the Chicago Park District in December, 2011. He was appointed by The Honorable Mayor Richard M. Daley in February 2000 to serve as a Commissioner until April 2009 and reappointed in July of 2009. The President of the Chicago Park District appointed Commissioner Pickens to the NeighborSpace Board in July 2002 and Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission for a two-year term from 2005-2007. And in 2008, the Commissioner was appointed to serve on the Board of Trustees of Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois. As a native of Chicago, Commissioner Pickens is fulfilling his lifetime commitment to servant leadership and civic engagement.

Commissioner Pickens currently owns Merrill Associates, Ltd., a contract labor, janitorial and maintenance company and is an independent Relocation Specialist with AKP Properties, LLC. He continues to be involved in manufacture trade investments with the Republic of China. Prior to retirement, Commissioner Pickens worked at Sears for 18 years as the Toy Buyer and special assistant to the Chairman, National Sales Manager. He began his career as Director of Diversity and Minority Outreach at Foote, Cone and Belding, advertising agency.

Commissioner Pickens has been gifted with a special athletic prowess his entire life. From 1958-1962 while attending Evanston Township High School in Evanston, IL, he was an all-state offensive tackle in football, the 1961 Heavyweight State Champion in wrestling and the 1961 Suburban Shot Put and Discus Champion. After enrolling at the University of Wisconsin, Pickens was selected as the 1963 pre-season All-American and Big Ten Lineman of the Year during his sophomore term. In 1964, Pickens was selected for the Greco-Roman Wrestling Team representing the U.S. at the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. He placed sixth in the world. In 1965, Pickens transferred to the University of Nebraska where he was selected as an All-American candidate, received All Big-Eight offensive tackle honors in football and finished second in the National AAU Wrestling Tournament Heavyweight Division. He was conferred his B.S. degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska.

From 1967-1969, Commissioner Pickens was drafted to the NFL and played offensive tackle for his beloved Chicago Bears. Following his three years with the Bears, he spent a year playing for the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League. This illustrious sports career as an athlete resumed with Pickens serving as a football official for the Big Ten from 1976-1989. He has worked such games as the Big Ten Championships, the Liberty Bowl, Peach Bowl and Rose Bowl. Pickens has served as national steering committee President of the NFL Former Players Association and President of the NFL Former Players Association, Chicago Chapter.

Commissioner Pickens volunteers for numerous community and civic organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Better Boys Foundation, the Michael F. Sheahan Youth Foundation and Boundless Playgrounds for special needs children. He has been honored extensively, most notably with induction into The History Makers Athletic Hall of Fame, The Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame and The Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. He was also an inspirational speaker for Chicago 2016 Olympic Organization.

Commissioner Pickens is married to Judith Jamison Pickens and has two children, Todd and Tori, one grandson, Ameer and one granddaughter, Tori.

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