Local

From bees to meds, diamonds to sleep, Bakersfield native loves doing business | News

It doesn’t really matter what kind of business he is doing.

The business is in Albert Benssen.

He is a beekeeper, environmental health professional, medical representative, diamond broker, financial broker, and a longtime owner of Sandman Sleep Lab, the oldest locally owned sleep disorder test until it closed last year. -I was the operator. Kern County facility.

“My wife says I will continue to reinvent myself,” Benssen said.

Often, throughout his career, entrepreneurs were engaged in two or three businesses at once. Also, multiple companies could share a single phone number.

“I answer the phone and say,’Hello, this is Connie,'” recalled his 32-year-old wife. “And the caller may say,’Is this a diamond mine?’

“Yes, that’s right,” she replied. And so was it.

Al Bensusen, now 78, has probably become best known as “Sandman” in Bakersfield for his knowledge and diagnostic skills in the areas of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

“He saved my life,” said Ralph Bailey, a local talk radio host who had suffered from sleep disorders for years before helping Benssen control his sleep disorders.

Phil Radnick, a longtime community resident, said he owe a lot of time to Benssen for a gift of restorative sleep.

“He was the first pioneer in sleep research at Bakersfield,” Rudnick said.

But for the past year or so, Benssen has faced life-changing challenges. His diagnosis of cancer in the throat resulted in chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which he said succeeded in getting rid of the cancer. However, harmful radiation jeopardized his ability to swallow food, forcing him to take nutrients through tubes, at least for now.

But that didn’t slow down his sense of humor.

When the reporter stepped into the couple’s house in southwestern Bakersfield, Benssen sat on the couch and took food out of a bag hanging from a metal stand.

“It’s clear that the manners are bad,” he stalled. “I’m eating in front of you.”

Then he added, “May I give you a bag?”

Born in 1942 at the Miss Fries Maternity Hospital on Ace Street in Bakersfield, Benssen attended Roosevelt School, Castro Lane School, and Golden State Junior High. He graduated from Bakersfield High in 1960.

Benssen’s father was Jewish and his mother was Catholic.

When asked if he considers himself a Jew or a Gentile, Benssen is practical.

“If I’m among the Jews, I’m a Jew,” he said, betraying just a few smiles. “If I’m among the Gentiles, I’m the Gentiles.”

He originally wanted to complete his research at Stanford University after his first attendance at Bakersfield College, where his widespread interest began to focus on science. However, the tuition fee turned out to be too high.

Instead, he transferred to San Jose, where he earned a degree in microbiology.

When he was young, he worked for the Kern County Health Department. However, he was soon hired by a multinational pharmaceutical company and ironically sent him to Stanford, where the science of sleep was born.

“At Stanford, sleep was a whole new thing,” he recalled. Well-known researcher William C. Dement is developing the field of sleep research at Stanford University, and Benssen happened to be in the right place at the right time.

“I learned sleep at Stanford,” he said.

It was knowledge that remained hidden in his memory until he needed it.

In the late 1970s, when he was still working at Big Pharma, he saw the opportunity to become a gemologist and diamond broker.

“I didn’t know anything about diamonds,” he recalled.

It didn’t matter. He knew to learn. Around 1979, he opened a store, Diamond Mine, near the 24th Street Cafe in downtown Bakersfield.

Gambling went well. Or maybe it wasn’t gambling.

“I had a good product,” he said. “There were two goldsmiths working for me.”

For years he wore a loupe, a small magnifying glass used by jewelers. His reputation has grown.

“In the diamond business, you can trade millions of dollars by shaking hands or by phone,” he said.

Despite his success in so many areas, his favorite profession was beekeeper, Benssen said. But it didn’t seem to matter what he turned to, and he was keen to do it well.

“You choose a business. You choose a town,” he said. “And I can make money.

“You just have to serve,” he said, revealing what was the secret to his success.

Other secrets? It’s a lot of work.

“I will bust my ass,” he said.

Benssen denies the skills needed to run a sleep business. Still, he is not shy to compare his long history with others in this field.

“The only reason I’m better than anyone in town is because I care about my patients.

“It’s not rocket science. I spend a lot of time with patients.”

After two marriages and raising a mix of eight children and stepchildren, the encounter with Connie, Cajun, Louisiana, will change his life again. The couple married in New Orleans during Mardi Gras on February 7, 1989.

“These clothes we wore at the wedding were the ones we wore when we met,” she said, pointing to the wedding photo.

Life has been adjusted, to put it lightly, after decades of hard work and short vacations since Benssen became ill.

Resting all the time, he was bored. The way most people cure boredom is not Benssen’s cure for boredom.

“I’ve been studying calculus,” he said. “I don’t know why. I will never use it.”

It shows an insatiable interest and thirst for the knowledge that has been in his DNA since childhood. He is interested in almost everything, including happiness.

“He makes me laugh every day,” Connie said. “32 years later, that’s really what.”

Reporter Stephen Mayer can be reached at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @semayerTBC.

From bees to meds, diamonds to sleep, Bakersfield native loves doing business | News Source link From bees to meds, diamonds to sleep, Bakersfield native loves doing business | News

Related Articles

Back to top button