Dale Carlsen

Business Administration - Class of 1984

Whether it's customer service at his Sleep Train Mattress Centers or community service helping foster children and others, business grad Dale Carlsen is tireless in working for a better community. He credits his Sac State experience with turning him from a shy teen into a dynamic, successful businessman and activist.

 College is a great place to start figuring out who you are and what you are passionate about. ... Get involved and take it all in! 

Dale Carlsen has found success with a good night's sleep and his education at Sacramento State. The 1984 graduate from the University's College of Business Administration is the founder and CEO of Sleep Train Mattress Centers Inc.

In addition to being admired for his business sense, Carlsen is known for his commitment to the community, including organizations such as Junior Achievement, the Boys and Girls clubs and his company's own Sleep Train Foster Kids Program.

That commitment to the area's young people led to his being awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters during the Spring 2013 Commencement ceremony for the College of Business Administration. (See our story on the award.) Carlsen also serves on the Advisory Board for the college.

Q. What particular event or day or friend at Sacramento State stands out in your mind?

A. I had a lot of great times at Sac State, but two events in particular stand out the most: the day I was approached to go to a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity party and the day I took my last business final. I joined the fraternity and I met a great group of people, many of whom I am still friends with. After my last final, we celebrated in the Quad, and we were joined by our professor.

Q. You seem to not just enjoy your work, but have a lot of fun at it. Where does that approach to work come from?

A. I have always believed you need to enjoy what you do. If you are not happy or fulfilled, you should do something else. I am blessed to work with great people who accomplish great things, and that makes me happy.

Q. What advice would you give to someone entering college today?

A. Relax and enjoy the experience. College is a great place to start figuring out who you are and what you are passionate about. College is far more than just what you learn in the classroom. Get involved and take it all in! - Craig Koscho

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