Charles and Charlene Spears Honored by Carlson Wagonlit

SUCCESSFUL GLOBETROTTERS: Charles and Charlene Spears display their Golden Legacy Award at the 2006 Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates National Meeting in Wesley Chapel, Fla. They are flanked by representatives of Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates.

Courtesy Spears

The Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associate Division recently bestowed its highest honor, the Golden Legacy Award, on Charles and Charlene Spears from Bartlesville, owners of six Tulsa-based Carlson Wagonlit Travel locations in Oklahoma.

Provided once each year, the Golden Legacy Award honors Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates (franchisees) who best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit and high quality standards embodied by Carlson founder Curtis L. Carlson. The Spears were honored during a recent general session of the 2006 Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates National Meeting at the Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla.

By working with her husband Chuck and then later including their two sons Gary and Greg, the Spears were successful in growing their business, thriving despite many significant challenges and changes in the travel business.

In 1985, the Spears’ became affiliated with what is now the Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associate Program. Now, with six agencies throughout the Tulsa region, the Spears are known for their exceptional service to both corporate and leisure travelers.

While all kinds of travel products make up the Spears’ family portfolio, they have developed one very unique niche over the last few decades: solar eclipse tours. With a specialty in astronomy that includes knowing the best places to view eclipse events, they’ve become successful in organizing excursions to both total eclipses and annular eclipses.

Though Charlene and Chuck remain quite involved in the business, their sons have taken on the day-to-day operations over the last few years. Their son Greg says their parents have instilled a love of travel and of the people in the business and it is meant to be a family business. “My folks enjoyed, over the years, traveling and being able to take other people on trips and travel all over the world. They have people that want to go with them and keep them young at heart and in the business,” Greg said.

As this year’s Golden Legacy Award winner, the Spears were presented with a plaque inscribed with a replica of Swedish artist Carl Milles’ sculpture “Man and His Genius.”

Curtis Carlson purchased the life-sized “Man and His Genius” sculpture in 1990 to display in front of the main entrance of the Carlson world headquarters in Minneapolis, where it remains today.

To find the Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associate location nearest you, dial (800) CARLSON, or visit

Updated 10-26-2006

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