"Thankfully, my dad talked me into going back to school full time instead of trying to make a career in the music business," says Carlson, who at the time was taking courses at a local technical college, working as a drafter and mechanical designer, and singing in a rock band on the weekends. He enrolled at UNH based on the advice of former tech college classmates, and earned a BS in mechanical engineering in 1992.
"The wide range of coursework at UNH prepared me for the challenges and stress of the real world. The lab work and teamwork helped prepare me to work well with others and with cross-functional departments," he says. "I think I've forgotten all the calculus that I've learned, but I believe all the problem solving has helped me to methodically think through real world issues with good attention to detail."
Carlson's creative side has harmonized well with his technical prowess throughout his career at Siemon—an industry leader in the manufacture and innovation of high-performance network cabling solutions—which he joined in 1992. After five years of success in engineering, he moved into marketing communications, based upon a recommendation by the company's advertising agency. He later became national sales manager for the Connecticut-based company. In 2003, he became vice president of global marketing.
"Get out into the field and listen to your customers, and add value by developing creative solutions that solve their problems and exceed their expectations," he counsels. "A company succeeds by growing sales and controlling costs, and that's easier to do when you have products that delight your customers and offer more features and benefits than your competition."
The rock career? Carlson's promotion to marketing VP in 2003 coincided with Siemon's 100th year in business. To help celebrate the company's centennial, he and a group of colleagues formed a rock band, River Mud, with Carlson as lead singer. They continue to perform at clubs and events in and around Connecticut, where he resides. Carlson also is frontman for the band Infinity Unplugged.
Posted Spring 2010