Carlson was named to the DART Board in 2003 by the Dallas City Council. He served on a number of board committees and chaired the planning committee during his tenure. He was also a board officer. He joins the transit agency from the law firm of Cavazos, Hendricks, Poirot & Smitham, where he served as Senior Counsel. Previously Carlson oversaw regulatory matters at Nortel Networks and supported various business initiatives. He has also been an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Dallas. Before beginning his legal career he was a civil engineer in the oil and gas industry.
He is a graduate of the Southern Methodist University School of Law and holds a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Texas Tech University.