Aurora native Ron Carson has worked on national campaigns for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, and he’s worked with the Secret Service and other White House officials on planning travel for administration officials. 

He no longer works in government, but has connections with officials as customers. 

While standing in the blistering heat of a New Delhi tarmac as the U.S. secretary of energy, the president of the United States and other senior administration officials deplaned in 2011, Carson had an epiphany.

“We’re all just standing there, and we’re all just sweating through our suits,” Carson said. “The heat index was about 120 degrees, and we thought, ‘There’s got to be a better way.’”

He said that was the day he came up with his idea of moisture-wicking business suits.

“Some of the guys laughed and said, ‘Yeah, that would be great,’” Carson said.

Secret Service and other officials who worked with Carson on preparing for overseeing foreign trips for administration officials often have to move quickly and perform at top level in hot, equatorial countries. 

“Heat is a hindrance; it’s a detriment,” Carson said. “It takes away from the performance of your job.”

In that moment on the tarmac, Carson hatched his plan for a government-job world. He now lives in Washington, D.C., and runs The Cool Action Suit by Carson. He said his company can make standing on that tarmac a bit less uncomfortable because his clothes are made of moisture-wicking material popularized in various brands of exercise apparel.

Politics ‘in my blood’

Before producing suits — which he’s been devoting all his energy to since January when President Donald Trump’s administration took over and he found himself without a job — Carson said he was following in grandmother’s footsteps by taking an active role in politics.

His grandmother, Aurora resident Clarice Nicholson, served as President Bill Clinton’s national coordinator of volunteers. 

“Politics has always been in my blood,” he said. “My grandmother has always been my mentor. She worked in the Clinton administration. That’s where I got the bug from. I’ve been working in campaigns since I was 14.”

More than anything, Carson said his grandmother told him to find a way to contribute to the well-being of the oppressed, less fortunate people in the world.

“I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world,” he said. “My grandmother told me to help root out unfairness wherever it was.”

One of the campaigns Carson said he worked on was Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, but not at first. 

“I stayed loyal to the Clintons because of my grandmother,” he said. “After she bowed out in 2008, I put all my (effort) forth for President Obama.”

Once Obama was elected, Carson served as a presidential advance staffer under the secretary of energy.

“I would travel around the world, in most cases in advance of the secretary of energy,” he said. “I would ensure that all the logistics were taken care of. By the time the secretary got there, I had already been there in advance and met with everyone he was going to meet.”

Carson said he worked for both Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz when they served as secretary of energy under Obama.

His work included planning out every minute of the secretary’s travel, often in conjunction with the president.

“I would go and look at menus and organize it to the point where everything looked great for an event,” Carson said. “Then it would be my job to go and brief the secretary as to what we were going to do and how it would look. It was tremendous. It gave me the opportunity to see the world and created a global Rolodex for me, as well, which has helped me in my future endeavors.”

Suits for Secret Service and more

Although created for Secret Service and other officials who have to be active in the course of their work while wearing suits, Carson said plenty of others may find his suits appealing. He said law enforcement agencies, athletes, broadcasters, actors and more have been interested in the suit. There are also women’s suits available, he added.

Since 2011, Carson said he’s been doing work on the side to develop Cool Action Suit, including allowing federal agents to test prototypes. 

He said working out the details of the production took time because of the moisture-wicking material. 

“We ended up going through four iterations of the suit,” said Carson. “We’ve finally got it to the point where it’s just as great as any other suit you’d buy in the store.”

Although Carson lives in Washington, D.C., where he can work with his network of associates from his White House days, production takes place in a facility owned by The Keystone Tailored Manufacturing Suit Co. in Cleveland, which employs about 120.

“They’re our exclusive manufacturers,” said Carson. “We’re hoping this will create jobs for them.”

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