2021 40 Under 40: Clarence Carson, CCA, CCP, 39

Chief Facilities Officer, Chicago Public Schools; MS, Construction Management, Michigan State University

By Gary Cohen, Chris Vavra and Amara Rozgus May 17, 2021

Carson is a resourceful professional with a wealth of experience optimizing operations through project management, risk mitigation, technical expertise and relationship-building. He started early on his career path, taking an interest in his parents’ family businesses in general contracting and real estate development. In the nascent stages of his career, he was driven to go above and beyond to master his craft, earning his degrees while rounding out his education in multiple facets of the industry — as an owner’s representative, program/project manager, global risk consultant, internal auditor and facilities chief. These days, he prides himself on being a “t-shaped leader,” which requires broader skills and knowledge to link up different perspectives such as internal audit, customer service, diversity/equity/inclusion, contract law, financial projections, risk exposures and much more. As chief facilities officer at Chicago Public Schools, he also must be attuned to socioeconomic issues and act as a leader in civic engagement. He is responsible for not only ensuring that every school has a safe, warm and dry learning environment, but also that they are managed equitably. Carson has remained engaged as a servant civic leader through community service and volunteerism with his children’s local school PTA, the Chicago Food Depository, MSU’s Construction Management Program and others. He also sits on the board of several organizations such as the YMCA of Metro Chicago, the People’s Music School and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. His penchant for community engagement helped put him on the radar of CPS to lead its facilities department.