After a long career in the clothing business, Coles founded the Great American Cookie Co. with Arthur Karp in 1977. They grew an initial $8,000 investment into the largest cookie store franchise in the United States. The serial entrepreneur has chaired the Georgia Film Commission and served on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, the Kennesaw State University Foundation Board, and the Walker School Board.
An accomplished businessman, community leader, education advocate, entrepreneur, world-record cyclist, environmentalist, philanthropist and family man, Michael Coles continues to be actively involved in his community and the corporate world.
Michael serves as the Executive Chairman and President of Global Onboard Partners which specializes in advertising on commercial airlines.
In 2009, Michael became the CEO of Boardwalk Investment Group, which operates restaurants under the name Boardwalk Fresh Burgers and Fries.
Michael co-founded the nationally successful Great American Cookie Company in 1977 and when sold in 1998, the company had hundreds of stores nationwide with sales over $100 million.
Following a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1977, Michael was told he would never walk again unaided. He recovered and thru a self-designed rehabilitation cycling program, he not only walks unaided, but holds two World Transcontinental Bicycling records: Biking from Savannah to San Diego in 11 days, 8 hours and 15 minutes, breaking his first record set in 1982; and in 1989, Michael joined a four-man team to win the Race Across America, biking 3000 miles from Los Angeles to New York in five days, one hour and eight minutes. Both records still stand today.
He served on the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, was appointed by the Governor of Georgia to serve as Chairman of the Georgia Film and Video Advisory Council and in 1996 and 1998 respectively, ran for 6th Congressional Democratic Seat and U.S. Senate.
In recognition of Michael’s success, leadership and benevolence, Kennesaw State University, declared that the institution’s School of Business be named the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.
Michael serves on numerous boards, both Non-profit and Corporate, to include the Board of Caribou Coffee Company, where he recently stepped down as Chairman and CEO.
Michael lives in Atlanta with his wife, Donna and they are the parents of three adult children, Lorin, Jody and Taryn.