Craig Johnson was first introduced to Great Wolf Resorts Inc. while working in the Madison office of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, which had the indoor water park resort chain as a client.
In 2013, the operator of the Great Wolf Lodge chain of family resorts offered him a chance to dive right in and he took it, becoming associate general counsel. Just a year-and-a-half later, he became general counsel, leading the legal department for the largest chain of its kind in North America.
Since the 34-year-old Johnson joined the Madison-based company in 2013, Great Wolf has opened three resorts, so he has experienced all the duties it takes to develop a new resort location. One challenge is dealing with how laws vary across the country by municipality. He handles that by tapping local attorneys familiar with the nuances of the region.
The practice is typical of the industry, said Farrah Rifelj, partner in the Madison office of Michael Best & Friedrich.
Even though Rifelj works at the same office where Johnson used to serve as an associate attorney, she said she seems to work with him more now that he’s leading the Great Wolf legal department. She said Johnson is dedicated and capable of working with the corporate executives who make the strategic business decisions.
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