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Boe Carlson News

Leading by Nature: Boe Carlson MPA ’09

Some days Boe Carlson’s job is a walk in the park. Other days, Carlson can be found meeting with neighbors to discuss noise impacts on snowmaking systems or working to upgrade time and attendance systems.

As superintendent of Three Rivers Park District, a network of parks, trails, campgrounds, and other outdoor attractions located throughout suburban Hennepin County, Carlson MPA ’09 oversees approximately 350 full-time employees, more than 2,000 seasonal employees, and a team of department heads who deal with everything from budgets and human resources to public safety.

“As with most units of government, there is no such thing as a typical day for me at the office,” Carlson said.

Before his appointment as superintendent, Carlson worked in the public sector at the state and local levels for several years. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Minnesota, Carlson joined AmeriCorps, a national service organization, and worked for the Idaho department of parks and recreation teaching environmental education in public schools. After three years, Carlson decided to move back to Minnesota and began working for the Three Rivers Park District as a seasonal supervisor.

Even with prior experience working in the parks department, Carlson realized that he needed more education if he wanted to advance his career in the public sector. He was drawn to Hamline’s Master of Public Administration program right away. 

“Hamline offered a very practical Master of Public Administration that I could apply to my work on a day-to-day basis,” Carlson said. “In fact, I have most of my textbooks on my office bookshelf and look at them frequently, especially the Human Resources books.”

Carlson found the interactive nature of the classes appealing right from the start. “I recall very few classes where it was simply a lecture from the professor; there was a lot of discussion and some great debates,” he said. “Most of my classmates also worked in the public sector and brought a wide array of perspectives and examples into the classroom.”

The flexibility of Hamline’s MPA program allowed Carlson to join a cohort and complete courses at Hamline’s West metro location in Saint Louis Park. “As a working professional seeking a master’s degree, it was great to have a number of options that fit in with everything else going on in my life,” he said.

During his time in Hamline’s MPA program, Carlson learned more than just the ins and outs of the public sector. “My experience at Hamline taught me to focus and manage my time well in order to get done what I needed to get done,” he said. “It also taught me to ask the right questions. Learning what questions to ask in any given situation is an invaluable skill.”

Find out more about Hamline’s Master of Public Administration on the Hamline School of Business website, or contact the Graduate Admission Office to learn more about joining the Hamline community.