Gary N. Petersen
Retired President and COO of Minnegasco
Dunwoody Board of Trustees
Gary Petersen has always approached his service to Dunwoody College of Technology with a “never say no” philosophy.
For the retired President and Chief Operating Officer of Minnegasco (now Centerpoint Energy) this has translated into 25 years of volunteer service as a member of the Dunwoody Board of Trustees, including two years as Chair and another two years as Treasurer. In addition, Petersen has served on numerous committees and even chaired the Good to Great Capital Campaign, which ran from 2001-2009.
Petersen’s long history with Dunwoody first began in 1990. As the new Chief Operating Officer for Minnegasco, Petersen was proud of the company’s long history of hiring Dunwoody grads.
“Dunwoody has always provided the best technicians,” Petersen said.
So when he was asked to join the Board of Trustees, Petersen was happy to say “yes.”
“When I joined, the Board had so much great experience and leadership,” Petersen said. “It took me a couple of years to figure out how I could contribute.”
Of the 160 individuals who have sat on the Dunwoody College of Technology Board of Trustees over the past 101 years, Petersen has had the pleasure to know and serve with 81 of them.
A Certified Public Accountant, Petersen graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. degree in Computer Science. His career first began in public accounting, which led to his work with public utilities and then to senior management. His background in finance meant Petersen was a natural fit for the Finance and Audit Committee at Dunwoody.
In addition, Petersen’s leadership experience in the areas of strategic thinking and planning led to his involvement in developing Dunwoody’s formal program evaluation system, which is still used by the Board to this day.
In 1998, Petersen retired from Minnegasco and became an independent consultant. Even after his departure from the utility company, Petersen has remained a valued and active member of the Board of Trustees.
Besides giving of his time and talents, Petersen and his wife Barbara have also donated generously to the College. “There is definitely a joy of giving” Petersen said, adding that his affinity to Dunwoody comes from knowing that there really is a Dunwoody Difference that can be seen in the students and graduates who leave here ready to work from Day 1.
In addition to his volunteer service to Dunwoody, Petersen also served as a Board Member for the YMCA for more than 20 years and held several volunteer roles with his church. In fact, through his involvement with all three organizations, Petersen has been directly involved in eight different capital campaigns.
And when he is not serving on Boards or giving back to his community, Petersen is an avid sports fan who enjoys spending time with his family.
When he looks to the future, Petersen is excited about the direction that Dunwoody is heading, with the addition of more 4-year Bachelor of Science degrees offered through its new School of Engineering.
“We’re on the cusp of taking off in the next 100 years,” Petersen said.
Read more spotlight stories in the 2015 Annual Report.