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Lee Carlson's Retirement Caps Career Spanning 30 Years

When Local 106 President Lee Carlson retired at the end of 2017, it marked a career of three decades as a glazier in the IUPAT. Along the way, he has served the union in a variety of posts, and he has seen his share of changes in the trades.  “We’re twice as productive as we were when I first started,” says Carlson, who began his career as a glazier working northeast of Duluth. “Technology has been the biggest influence, with tool and production changes.” After three years of working non-union, he joined a union local and started making more money. He also became an active union member. “I started paying attention,” says Carlson, whose service to the union includes stints as recording secretary and treasurer. He also served on the union’s executive board and was a delegate to District Council 82 since it was formed in 2001.  Lee Carlson started his career at St. Germain’s Glass Co. in 1988, where he ran most of the big jobs for St. Germain’s as a field foreman. “Projects here are different than in Minneapolis,” Carlson says. Some of the bigger projects he worked on include the Metro Center in Superior, Wisconsin, and the Sheraton Hotel in Duluth. At retirement, he had been serving as president of Local 106 since 2008. Even with Lee Carlson retiring, there will still be Carlsons working in the trades. “I remember going with my mom to visit dad when they were working off a swing stage at Minnesota Power, and I thought that was the coolest thing,” recalled Lee’s son Jack Carlson, a glazier, who is now an organizer with District Council 82. Lee’s son Jeff is a glazier at St. Germain’s Glass Co.   What will Lee Carlson do in retirement? With an 80-acre hobby farm, he says, “If I can’t find something to keep me busy, it’s because I’m just lazy.” As Jack Carlson observed after his father was retired for a few weeks, “He certainly hasn’t slowed down. He’s kept himself very busy.” With his sons building their own careers in the trades, Lee Carlson is glad to see the next generation take the lead in keeping the IUPAT strong