EDINBURG, RGV – Mark Peterson made such a positive impact during his stint as Expert-in-Residence at Mission Economic Development Corporation’s Center for Education & Economic Development that some Rio Grande Valley entities retained his services.

At the conclusion of the gig, the retired leader of global business development, sales and innovation for Procter & Gamble was due to return to his home state of Ohio. He has done this but is making frequent visits back to the Valley to work for business clients that have retained his services.

Mark Peterson

Valley residents will have the chance to learn about Peterson’s work in the region on Tuesday. Along with Matt Ruszczak, executive director of Rio South Texas Economic Council, Peterson is a guest speaker at the Rio Grande Guardian’s next LIVE at Bob’s luncheon conversation. 

The show is titled “X’s and O’s of 21st Century Economic Development.” It takes place at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, at Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg. 

‘I am very pleased to be participating in the Rio Grande Guardian’s LIVE at Bob’s show on Tuesday September 11th. Sharing the podium with Matt to discuss economic development in the RGV and beyond is an honor,” Peterson said.

“I hope that the learnings from experiences with Procter & Gamble, State of Ohio Business Development Advisory Board and Mission EDC Expert in Residence will be informative and beneficial to the attendees.”

Matt Ruszczak

Ruszczak had this to say about the LIVE at Bob’s show:

“I am honored and excited to join Mr. Peterson for the Rio Grande Guardian Live at Bob’s event on Tuesday. I look forward to our discussion of economic development strategies, and I hope the guests at Bob’s will not only enjoy a great meal and a fun conversation about this important topic, but will also walk away with specific action items as to how they can contribute to the advancement of the economic prosperity of their communities.”

Ruszczak said topics covered in the one-hour LIVE at Bob’s conversation will include:

  • The long term vs. short term perspective in economic development
  • The multi-faceted approach to economic development: fostering start-ups, retention and expansion of existing businesses, new business recruitment, as well as shaping an ecosystem where they can all succeed
  • The importance of workforce development: building up skill sets as well as a critical mass of skilled individuals
  • The critical role (and opportunity) of angel investment & community support for start-up companies
  • The value of having a sales strategy for your business and for your community
  • The power of regional collaboration

Peterson spent 40 years at Cincinnati, Ohio-based Procter & Gamble (P&G) – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of household products and a Fortune 50 company – in a variety of roles including business to business negotiations where business-model innovation was required to align the economic interests of the parties: related to licensing trademarks, technologies and know-how, as well as minority equity investments and joint ventures.

A recognized top tier trainer, Peterson has served on some of the state of Ohio’s top economic advisory boards. He also spent the first 26 years at P&G in sales leading to advanced roles in developing customer growth strategies. Some of P&G’s top brands include Tide, Charmin, Pampers, Pringles, Duracell, Gillette and Crest.

Since the University of Notre Dame alum’s retirement in 2016, he has started two firms including the Peterson Consulting Group and The Founders Page. 

Peterson was the third professional to staff the Mission EDC’s Expert in Residence program. The role required him to provide direct mentorship to small businesses in the Mission area in collaboration with Mission EDC personnel. 

In a livestream with the Rio Grande Guardian back in March, Peterson said he was impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit he had found in the Valley. “The spirit of the people to take a risk and start new things is very exciting,” Peterson said. 

Mission EDC launched the Expert-in-Residence program to address the growing need of creative professionals. The goal was to connect Mission residents to experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).

Alex Meade, CEO of Mission EDC, said Peterson’s work provided local entrepreneurs with key tenets for practical and successful business strategies for growth.

“Procter & Gamble is one of the world’s leading companies known for innovating, its knowledge of consumer behavior and business acumen,” Meade said, at the time Peterson was starting his Expert-in-Residence post. Meade said Peterson’s “vast experience” and “willingness to share and mentor others” was a “huge asset for Mission EDC and the business community.”

According to the Mission EDC website, the launch of the Expert-in-Residence program came at a pivotal time in the city’s growth. “As Mission’s workforce continues to develop at a rapid pace, this new initiative will meet the demand for resources and training in areas not usually accessible to Mission residents. Supported by this new initiative, the city of Mission continues to engage its residents in the exchange of ideas and prepare them for the labor market of the 21st century,” the website states.

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Peterson will join his brother Dan for an intensive two-day program hosted by the South Texas Manufacturers Association at CEED that will teach participants “a seven-step process to drive long-term partnerships and increase success with customers.”

Tickets for the LIVE at Bob’s luncheon are $25. To reserve a seat call Bob’s Steak & Chop House Edinburg at (956) 380-2627.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows business consultant Mark Peterson.