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 to study Sound Reinforcement at Columbia College. He crewed in the audio department of the Allstate Arena then joined the Ravinia Festival’s crew and became Ravinia Festival Master Carpenter, Technical Director, and Steward.

Freeman Companies called on Carlson to be the Technical Director of their largest annual event, The National Association of Homebuilders Show Opening Ceremonies, which featured President George H. Bush, Ted Koppel, Terry Bradshaw, Steve Wynn, and Colin Powell as keynote speakers.

Members voted Carlson onto Local 2’s Executive Board by the biggest vote, to that date, in Local 2’s history. Members elected Carlson their Business Manager in 2005 and re-elected him, by acclamation, in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017 and 2020.

Carlson became an IATSE Vice President in 2008 and was re-elected by acclamation in 2009, 2013, 2017, and 2021. 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. 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 and 2020; He sits on Chicago’s Amalgamated Bank Labor Advisory Board, is Technical Advisor to Ravinia Festival, is a Local 2 Benefit Plan Trustee since 2005, is a Special Olympics Chicago Committee Member, and is 216 S. Jefferson Street’s Building Association President.

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, James Lumber Performing Arts Center, and the Aragon Ballroom. He also negotiated first ever Agreements for work at NOW Arena, The Salt Shed, Lollapalooza, NASCAR in Chicago, Riot Fest, Spring Awakening, North Coast Fest, Heat Wave, Arc Fest, Summer Smash, Huntington Pavilion, Toyota Park, Union Park, Wintrust Arena, RiverEdge Park, Credit Union 1 Arena, and more.

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