Don O. Carlson

Don O. Carlson

(Donald Otto Carlson)

Don was born in Gary, Indiana, completed high school in Gary, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, History, and English from Indiana University. His first job was as a spot news reporter on the Walla Walla Washington Union Bulletin Newspaper, and he also served the paper as a roving reporter covering northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. He then served on a general magazine in the midwest called Inside Michigan and subsequently joined Vance Publishing Corporation in Chicago in the early ‘50s. He was an editor on a series of building industry publications including American Lumberman (later called Home Center), Wood & Wood Products magazine and Automation in Housing & Manufactured Home Dealer Magazine from offices in Chicago and New York.

Don later worked in major national advertising and public relations agencies, with a specialty in handling national associations and building products manufacturers, such as the Architectural Aluminum Manufacturers Association, the American Hardboard Association and the Insulation Board Institute. He founded his own enterprise in public relations in 1964, and the company in 1974 purchased Automation In Housing Magazine and Systems Building News Magazine and merged them together. The name of Automation In Housing & Manufactured Home Dealer Magazine was changed to Automated Builder on August 1, 1988. The publication is owned and operated by CMN Associates, Inc., an Illinois corporation founded in 1964. CMN Associates, Inc. moved to Carpinteria, CA in March 1980 and to Ventura, CA in November 1997. CMN is owned 100% by Donald O. and Agnes O. Carlson. Don is president, Agnes is secretary/treasurer, and son Lance P. Carlson is vice president and advertising manager and son Scott B. Carlson is vice president and business manager.

Don serves as both the working editor and publisher of Automated Builder which is the only national publication covering all seven segments of housing including: (1) Production Builders, (2) Panelized Home Manufacturers, (3) HUD-Code (mobile) Home Manufacturers, (4) Modular Home Manufacturers, (5) Component Manufacturers, (6) Special Unit (commercial) Manufacturers, and (7)MH Builders and Builders/Dealers.

He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (Sigma Delta Chi), and has been named winner of five national journalism awards including one in the early 1950s for his national coverage of the Lu-Re-Co system of construction, a forerunner of many panelized home manufacturing operations. He was awarded an honorary plaque in 1978 for his promotion of the goals of the structural wood components industry by the Truss Plate Institute and the Component Manufacturers Council. He was named to the Hall of Fame by the Wood Truss Council of America in 1988, and he was elected to the Suppliers Board of Governors of the Manufactured Housing Institute in 1989.

He established through Automated Builder the annual Achievement in Housing Award in 1974, the National Roof Truss and Floor Truss Production Awards in 1977, the Regional and National Manufactured Home Sales Center Awards in 1984, and the International Exposed Wood Truss Competition in 1992.

He has served as editor and publisher of Automated Builder Magazine since 1974, and he published the Automated Builder Dictionary/Encyclopedia of Industrialized Housing in 1982 which was revised, expanded and republished in 1991 and again in 1995. He published the book ‘How to Start an Inner city Housing Plant’ in 1999 and the book on SAVED (Shelter All Victims of Emergencies and Disasters) in 2000, and ‘How & Why to Buy a Factory Built Home’ in 2001. He was active in the Building Systems Councils of the National Association of Home builders; the Wood Truss Council of America, and the Wood Foundation Institute which he co-founded in 1980. He has conducted five study missions to the advanced industrialized housing producers in Japan (1984-1988), led the first two independent housing study missions to the Peoples Republic of China in 1986 and 1987, and visited and reported on the advanced housing and component plants in Finland in 1992, and again in 2000.

In 1993 Don was a founder of the Automated Builders Consortium dedicated to establishing free-enterprise housing factories inside America’s inner cities to help solve multiple urban problems.

In October 1994 the Japanese Export Trade Organization invited Carlson to tour Japan again in an effort to encourage Japanese home builders to import homes from the United States and Canada. In February 1995 at the invitation of Pryda (Aust.) Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, Vic., Carlson toured the component and housing industry in Australia. In December 1995 he toured the housing industries in Hong Kong, Singapore and Maylasia concerning joint ventures and import/export opportunities for North American builders. In February/March 1996 Carlson returned to Japan to cover the Rokko Island Model Home Village established to help rebuild earthquake ravaged Kobe with homes from many nations. Carlson returned in Sept./Oct., ’96 to Tokyo and Yokohama with American builders to work on home shipments to Japan. In 1997 and 1998 he toured Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand and Australia and in 1999 toured Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Aruba and Puerto Rico and in 2000 Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Rhodes, Cyprus and Santorini. He was named ‘Factory-Built Housing Man of the Century’ by the Allen Newsletter in December 1999. Carlson was named one of the four charter members of the Hall of Fame of the Modular Building Institute in 2001.

A printed and mailed publication since 1964, Automated Builder Magazine was converted totally to the world wide internet. The publication is available in 51 languages as of November 2009. On the internet the magazine has two divisions; Automated Builder at Home is aimed at homeowners; and Automated Builder In Plant is aimed at in-plant firms which produce engineered structures for both residential and commercial needs.

The fourth edition of the Automated Builder Directory/Encyclopedia of Industrialized Housing is now underway.