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The Wisconsin Technical College System’s (WTCS) District Board Association (DBA) has named Moraine Park Technical College alumnus, Stephen Peterson, of Fond du Lac, as the 2020 Distinguished Alumni award winner.

Each year, the DBA accepts Distinguished Alumni nominations from all of the Wisconsin Technical Colleges. From the nominations, they select their winner based on five criteria: the role that a technical college education played in the nominee’s career and personal life; the nominee’s accomplishments in his/her professional field; the nominee’s community involvement; his or her support for the technical college system; and, finally, the nominee’s commitment to continuing education and life-long learning.

Peterson, a 1969 graduate from Moraine Park’s Mechanical Technology program, spent his entire career working for companies headquartered in Fond du Lac. With his degree from Moraine Park as a foundation, Peterson was able to further develop his leadership and technical skills while serving in domestic and international manufacturing positions.

After graduation, Peterson completed an apprenticeship at Giddings & Lewis Machine Tool Co. in Fond du Lac. Throughout his 36-year career, he served many capacities, eventually becoming the President and CEO in 2000. He retired from Giddings & Lewis in 2005 and joined Mid-States Aluminum Corp. as President and CEO. He retired from Mid-States Aluminum in 2016.

“My time in college offered me the opportunity to mature before entering the workforce,” Peterson said. “In addition to the technical classes I was studying, I was able to develop my interpersonal skills as well as my problem-solving skills in a structured environment.”

Peterson is also well known for his continued community involvement. Currently, he serves as a board member for Agnesian HealthCare and Mid-States Aluminum Corp., and as the board chairman for Society Insurance. Some of his past service work includes Fond du Lac Area Foundation board member and chairman, Fond du Lac Association of Commerce board member and chairman, Fond du Lac STEM Academy and STEM Institute board member, and National Exchange Bank & Trust board member, as well as various industry organizations in leadership and support committee activities. Peterson was also the recipient of the 2009 C.L. Greiber Award of Merit for Outstanding Support of Career and Technical Education and named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation in 2018.

“I am proud to be among the thousands of students who have used MPTC as their first step in the lifelong learning process,” he said. “The education I received opened the door for me to enter into the local workforce and have an interesting and stimulating career at world-class manufacturing companies in my hometown.  I also recognize the responsibility to support this fine institution so that it can continue to provide much needed technical training to the next generation of workers in our community.”

Peterson’s drive, dedication, and contributions made him an obvious choice for the DBA’s 2020 Distinguished Alumni award. He will accept his award at a virtual award ceremony.

“Steve has been a champion of technical college education all of his career and knows first-hand how education changes lives,” Dana Bourland, Moraine Park’s director of college advancement, said. “He used what he learned at Moraine Park and through his mentors to become a true servant leader.  Steve believes strongly in investing in people and communities, and I am so pleased he was chosen to receive this award.”

For more information on Moraine Park’s Alumni Association, visit morainepark.edu/alumni.