Tom Carlson

Tom Carlson

Tom Carlson will be inducted into the 2023 Missouri Public Affairs Hall of Fame.

When it comes to service to his community, Tom Carlson is a jack of all trades. The former Springfield city councilman and two-time mayor served in city government for more than two decades, has served on a litany of nonprofit boards and organizations and is the current publisher and financial backer of the Queen City’s nonprofit newspaper, the Springfield Daily Citizen.

Carlson says it’s in his blood, it’s how he was raised. A young Carlson watched as his father helped found the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri. As mayor, he helped steer the city through numerous public/private partnerships resulting in more than $200 million in investments and industrial parks. He’s been a member of the board of directors for two publicly traded companies, as well as served on the Missouri State University Board of Governors.

Carlson’s career choices have been just as varied as his community service. He holds a degree in journalism and Chinese from George Washington University and got his start as a reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. He earned a second degree from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law, noting he thought it would be a “good arrow to have in his quiver.”

After 20 years as an attorney representing financial institutions, he changed courses again and went into housing development. Carlson has built single- and multi-family housing units across Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. He still enjoys the work today.

Despite it all, it’s his service to the community he says still grounds him each day and that which led him to the Daily Citizen. With a mission “to inform our community and be a catalyst for good,” Carlson believes a newspaper performs a vital service to society and hopes to see the Daily Citizen continue to build upon the overall quality of the Springfield community.