GHCSD appoints new general manager
October 14, 2023
At the August meeting of the Golden Hills Community Service District (GHCSD), the Board of Directors unanimously appointed Christopher Carlson as General Manager of the District. Carlson had been serving as Assistant General Manager during the term of prior GM Susan Wells.
Carlson was born in Simi Valley, but his family moved to Tehachapi when he was one month old. His father, Carl, owner of Carl Carlson Masonry, and his brother Casey are still living here. Christopher grew up in Tehachapi, attending Wells, Tompkins, Cummings Valley (6th grade), Jacobsen and Tehachapi High School. He graduated from THS in 1997. He attended Saddleback Junior College in Orange County and it was during his time there that he became acquainted with the business of golf.
On his return to Tehachapi he went to work at Horsethief Golf Course in Stallion Springs until he was hired by a company called Environmental Golf in 1999. Carlson spent three years as Merchandise Manager for the company. He worked at Riverlakes Golf Course in Bakersfield before being transferred to Westridge Golf Club in La Habra in 2000. He admits that it was then that he finally entered the "real world."
He met his wife, Teresa, at Riverlakes where she was the Food and Beverage Manager. They were married in 2004. Still working in golf course management, the couple moved to Conyers, Georgia and then back to California, settling in South Lake Tahoe. Over the years of working with golf courses, Carlson had played the game quite a bit. At South Lake Tahoe, Carlson decided he wanted to turn pro. He played on the Pepsi Tour for a year and actually won two tournaments; however, family became a higher priority and he did not have the time it would take to be really good at it.
In 2009, Carlson signed an eight-year contract with the U.S. Army Reserves. They moved to Tehachapi and Carlson became a medic and completed his Bachelor's Degree. When he was home, he would work construction jobs with his father.
He applied for and was hired as Golf Course Superintendent at Horsethief in Stallion Springs, a job he held for two and a half years. It was there that he began working toward his water certification. He continued his certification studies when he was hired for the maintenance department at the Stallion Springs Community Service District. It was there that he completed his water certificates. During this time, he and Teresa had purchased Papa's, a restaurant in Stallion Springs. Over the years, Carlson had become somewhat of an expert pastrami maker and the restaurant became known for its pastrami sandwiches and pizza. Teresa ran the restaurant and Chris would work there nights and weekends.
In 2016, based on the success of Papa's, the couple opened PizzaRami in downtown Tehachapi and operated both restaurants for two years (they closed PizzaRami in February 2017). At PizzaRami, Carlson met a member of the Golden Hill CSD management staff who suggested Carlson come to work at GHCSD as water operator. He was soon promoted to Lead Operator and continued to obtain advanced water certifications. When Susan Wells became General Manager, Carlson became Operations Manager and then Assistant General Manager. In 2023, Carlson refurbished all the pumps in the Golden Hills water system. Carlson shadowed Wells for 18 months while she prepared him to take over after her retirement.
Carlson calls himself a "jack of all trades, master of none;" however, he does believe that all of his experiences have prepared him for the position of General Manager. The Army taught him about people and teamwork and has enabled him to see the big picture. Christopher and Teresa have a daughter who is now following in her father's footsteps, serving as a Navy Medic on the George W. Bush.