Craig Carlson - Business Manager

Carlson began as an apprentice at Chicago’s Lyric Opera where he became Stage Left Assistant Carpenter and Union Steward before leaving in 1988 to study Sound Reinforcement at Columbia College. He crewed in the audio department of the Allstate Arena in 1988, joined the Ravinia Festival audio crew in 1990 and became an audio department head in 1999. That same year he was named Ravinia Festival Master Carpenter, Technical Director and Steward. From 2000-2009, Freeman Companies called on Carlson to become Technical Director on their largest annual event, The National Association of Homebuilders Show Opening Ceremonies.

Carlson was elected to Local 2’s Executive Board in 2002 by the biggest vote, to that date, in Local 2 history. He was elected Business Manager in 2005 and re-elected Business Manager by acclamation in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017.

Carlson was elected to IATSE Vice President in 2008 and was re-elected by acclamation in 2009, 2013 and 2017. He’s chaired the IATSE’s 9th District, which covers every IATSE Local within Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri, since 2009. He’s a member of the IATSE PAC Committee and he’s often served as President or Vice-President of the Chicago Entertainment Industry Labor Council since 2007.

Carlson was elected Illinois AFL-CIO Vice-President in 2013 and was re-elected by acclamation in 2016; He sits on Chicago’s Amalgamated Bank Labor Advisory Board, is an advisor to Flashpoint Academy, is Technical Advisor to Ravinia Festival, has been a Local 2 Benefit Plan Trustee since 2005 and is a Board Member of 216 S. Jefferson Street’s Building Association.

Carlson spearheaded the purchase of Local 2’s first ever office; began a Journeyman / Apprentice Training Fund (JATF), organized the Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Shakespeare Theater and the Aragon Ballroom. He also negotiated first ever Agreements for work at Sears Centre Arena, Lollapalooza, Huntington Pavilion, Toyota Park, Union Park, Wintrust Arena, RiverEdge Park and many more.

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