The late Curtis L. Carlson, founder of Carlson Companies, will be inducted into the National Business Hall of Fame on Tuesday, May 13, at a black-tie gala featuring a who`s who of American business. The event will take place at the Minneapolis Convention Center during the national meeting for Junior Achievement, the organization that oversees the Hall of Fame and its annual selection process.
The induction of Mr. Carlson during a year in which the organization`s national meeting is being held in his hometown is a pleasant coincidence. Each year, honorees are nominated by Fortune 500 CEOs and then selected by a committee composed of past inductees and representatives of the national business media, including Fortune magazine and CNBC. The location of the meeting plays no role in the final selection of honorees.
Mr. Carlson, along with six other business leaders, will join an illustrious group of more than 200 American business legends in the Hall of Fame, including Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, Pierre Dupont, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, William McKnight and Walt Disney.
Other 2003 inductees include such American business giants as:
- Ely Reeves Callaway Jr. (1919 - 2001), Founder, Callaway Golf Company
- S. Truett Cathy, Founder and Chairman, Chick-fil-A, Inc.
- Bill (1912 - 1986) and Vieve Gore, Founders, W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.
- Harry Jack Gray, Retired Chairman and CEO, United Technologies Corporation
- Don Keough, Retired Chairman and COO, The Coca-Cola Company
History of Carlson Companies
Mr. Carlson, who became known for his bold and entrepreneurial spirit, founded the Gold Bond Stamp Company in Minneapolis in 1938 with a $55 loan from his landlord and a dream to own his own business. In 1973, after decades of growth, the company was renamed Carlson Companies to reflect its diversification. Today, as a global leader in the hospitality, marketing, and business- and leisure-travel industries, Carlson Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the world. In 2002, Carlson Companies` systemwide sales, including franchised operations, totaled $19.8 billion and more than 180,000 people work under its brands worldwide.
Mr. Carlson died in February 1999 and was succeeded by daughter Marilyn Carlson Nelson, who is today chairman and chief executive officer of Carlson Companies. Accepting the posthumous honor in his name will be his wife, Arleen Carlson, and daughters Marilyn and Barbara Carlson Gage.
As part of the National Business Hall of Fame Day on Tuesday, Marilyn Carlson Nelson will participate in a student/business-leader forum in Minneapolis, and she and family members will attend the black-tie gala that evening.
Commitment to Community
Induction into the National Business Hall of Fame is due, in part, to a nominee`s contributions to community. Mr. Carlson`s commitment to building a stronger society during his lifetime was reflected in his numerous contributions to his alma mater, the University of Minnesota. Since 1976, Mr. Carlson and his family have contributed almost $50 million to the university.
In addition, Mr. Carlson chaired a three-year fund drive, which raised more than $365 million for the university, and he led a drive to raise funds for the school`s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, as well as a drive to create a new home for the business school at the university. In 1986, the university`s business school was renamed the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management.
About the National Business Hall of Fame
Founded in 1975, the National Business Hall of Fame is located in the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. The permanent, interactive exhibit pays tribute to the inductees and also features hands-on activities that teach students about making business decisions. It gives them the opportunity to run their own virtual companies. Mr. Carlson`s life story will be added to the permanent display and to the virtual Hall of Fame located on the internet at http://www.ja.org/nbhof/index.shtml