Much of Chuck Lamson’s life has been baseball. In 1979, the New Jersey native came to Tulsa to pitch for the Drillers, which he did until 1981. He then worked as Drillers’ head groundskeeper and sold tickets before becoming majority owner.
“As an East Coast guy, I didn’t have any idea what Oklahoma was like,” he says. “I got into downtown and went wow, this is a modern city. It was very clean and (has) a lot of friendly people.”
In 2010, after overseeing construction of ONEOK Field, he sold his stake in the Drillers. Since then, Lamson has been an executive in residence at the University of Tulsa overseeing management and marketing internships in the college of business, and consulting with buyers and sellers of minor league franchises.
In mid-January, he embarked on another challenge: becoming CEO of Tulsa Botanic Garden.
“I saw the vision of the people who founded it and the quality of the attraction,” says Lamson, who replaced F. Todd Lasseigne. “We’re only 12 minutes from downtown. Because it is in Osage County, some people feel we’re off the beaten path. We’ve got to create more awareness of how close we are because I think once people get to the garden, they realize it’s a pretty neat little place.”
One of the first projects on his plate is the Bumgarner Lotus Pool, a water garden featuring lilies, lotuses, irises and other water-loving plants, and an art deco bridge slated to begin construction this fall. On deck is the All Seasons Garden, which encircles the Lotus Pool and offers a blend of unique seasonal plants, a project in the fundraising stage.
“We have 170 acres and a plan to develop 65-70. There’s some real growth opportunities and some challenges,” Lamson says. “I’m diving in and hopefully can make a positive impact in a short period of time.”