Education: Ohio University, degree in business education
First job: Sales training for Peabody Coal Co.
Greatest business challenge:
My first year back [at Columbus Serum], our largest supplier which represented 20 percent of our business decided to go direct instead of through distributors. That was really tough.
I knew coming back into it that we were at the mercy of the manufacturers, and to lose 20 percent of your business within your first year, how were you going to make that up? We really didn’t have products that could make that up, so we had to go out and grow the other lines. That was a real challenge. But we were able to do that. When I was able to deal with losing 20 percent of my business and survive, I felt pretty good about it.
Most important business lesson:
You need to be consistent in making decisions for the company ... and how you run the company. And you need to make sure that you do a good evaluation before you make decisions for the company.
Peterson on his son, Craig, being next in line for the president’s spot:
Craig basically grew up in the business. He started working in the warehouse when he was in high school. He was making deliveries to veterinarians during college, and he’s now vice president of the company.
He’s done almost everything you can do at the company: warehouse, inside sales, truck driver, outside sales, purchasing. He’s been working here since about 1986. We have brought Craig up through the business, and he’s involved in a lot of the decision-making that goes on now. Bruce (Bob Peterson’s brother) and I selected him to come in [as the heir apparent] about two years ago.