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Summer 2010 SacStateAlumni.com csus.edu/giving Dale Carlsen. Taking chances part of Dale Carlsen's success Connect To learn more about Sac State's Guardian Scholars program, visit www.csus.edu/gs. family and fun is what makes Sleep Train so successful. "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." Yogi Berra's famous assertion seems unlikely, not to mention ambiguous, "There are things I learned in college, in the fraternity, advice. But for Dale Carlsen ('84, Business Administration), that are critical to how I operate the company. I learned how to work with people." choosing the path that felt right, rather than the one that The next unexpected turn on the career path came while matched his plans, has paid off in big ways. earning his degree in real estate and insurance. Carlsen had Carlsen is the owner and CEO of the Sleep Train Mattress Center chain, and one will never know how his a part-time job at a Sacramento mattress manufacturer and after graduation he planned to leave it to pursue story would have turned out if he had followed his original his commercial real estate license. But the owner of the career path. He didn't plan to go to Sac State, he didn't plan mattress company was persistent in keeping Carlsen as an to go into the bed business, and he didn't know he would employee and finally offered him just the right perk for a become the champion for thousands of California foster 20-something: "He offered me the use of a sports car as a youth. It all came from trusting his instincts. company car. I was young and single, so I liked the idea." "I was only planning to go to Sac State for a semester. Again, Carlsen planned to work for the company only Then I intended to transfer to Cal or San Jose State to a few years while getting established in real estate, but study aeronautics." something came up. "I realized I could do this 'mattress But during that first semester, Carlsen joined Lambda thing' better." Chi Alpha fraternity and his life was never the same. He More than 225 stores later, it appears he was right. Sleep makes no bones about the fun he had in his college days Train is the largest mattress retailer on the West Coast and and even credits the experience with developing the way employs more than a thousand people in the Sacramento, he runs his business. "The fraternity is why I stayed at Sac State," Carlsen says. San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego markets. It was also at Sac State that Carlsen first discovered a cause "I loved it and I loved the guys in it. I have never regretted that has driven his charitable efforts in the years to follow— that decision." foster children. "I did a paper on group foster homes," he says, Carlsen says he applies the tools he learned as an officer in his fraternity to his company, and believes the focus on "I decided that's where I wanted to direct my efforts. Continued on page 2 Stay Connected on Facebook! If you want the most up-to-date information about Sac State alumni activities and campus news—be sure to "Like" us on Facebook. The Sacramento State Alumni Association now has a new, official presence at www.facebook.com/SacramentoStateAlumni. By becoming a fan, you'll connect with other alums across the country, stay informed about upcoming events and share your Hornet pride!