Alumni Update: Brother Paul Carlsen Appointed as President of Lakeshore Technical College

For Paul Carlsen, a life lived in a cubicle was just not enough. There must be more, he thought, to this thing called life and how he could contribute.

Carlsen was granted his wish when he was recently appointed as the president of Lakeshore Technical College, located in Cleveland, Wisconsin. While a major step in his career and personal life, Carlsen says that he could not have written the script on where he would be today.

The University of Colorado graduate and member of the former Gamma-Mu chapter began his journey in higher education with his first taste of teaching as a graduate assistant while attending graduate school.

But when he began his family, Carlsen realized he would have to put his teaching aspirations on hold for a while. He then took a job with the South Carolina Department of Commerce, working in economic development.

Through his time in economic development, first in South Carolina, and later in Louisiana, Carlsen recalls the thrill of assisting those around him in their quest for a better life, but still felt that something was missing.

Carlsen will begin as president in July.

“I enjoyed doing that [giving people opportunities] from a distance with economic development and working to bring employers to these areas,” said Carlsen. “We were just really far removed from that individual touch of improving lives…”

So, when the opportunity arose for Carlsen to take a position with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, he jumped. There, Carlsen was responsible with working with students to find their passions and careers quickly through such initiatives as workforce development and academics.

Carlsen had finally found it: a career he could call his pride and joy.

It is no surprise that Carlsen has now ascended the ranks in higher education to become president, with his passion on full display for his students.

In his new role, Carlsen will take on a mix of inward and outward responsibilities, but as he discussed, his main mission will be learning the culture of the area and how he can fit that.

Lakeshore Technical College serves a 206,000-resident population, where about 60,000 of those adults are in the service area and have either only graduated from high school or did not graduate at all.

Carlsen’s goal as president resides with his students. He wishes to give them the nudge they need to help them see their full potential.

“If we are able to touch 10% of those people, it’s an enormous impact on those individuals…there is just a lot of room to do some cool things to bring new people through the pipeline,” said Carlsen.

As Carlsen prepares to take his place as president, he remembers the lessons learned through his involvement with Lambda Chi Alpha. Carlsen fondly recalls how he was held to a higher standard by his brothers, something he hopes to take with him to Lakeshore Technical College.

“To think that in five years, how much different things could be, because of our ability to seize opportunities, take chances and just work really hard, it’s pretty cool,” said Carlsen. “I haven’t lost track of that fact that five years ago, I’m sitting in a cubicle at a job that wasn’t my favorite, just chugging along. To be where I am now is pretty cool.”

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