Moses Lake Business Advisor Earns State Recognition

Posted on May 27, 2016

2016 Star Award presented to Allan PetersonAllan Peterson, a certified business advisor with the Washington Small Business Development Network (SBDC), was named the network’s 2016 Star Performer for his work with small business owners in eastern Washington.

The award was announced at the U.S. Small Business Administration annual gala May 4 at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle. Peterson and the Star Performers from each of the other SBDC networks around the country will be honored at the America’s SBDC conference in Orlando, Fla., in September.

Praised by clients and co-workers

“I would recommend Allan exclusively to anyone who wants to start a business,” said Darla Meise, an SBDC client since 2007.

She and her husband, Fred Meise, started meeting with Peterson when they needed help getting a loan to purchase their first business, Moses Lake Air Service. Now they have three businesses with annual revenue over $1 million.

“We never would have got there without Allan,” she said. “He’s completely professional in everything he does.”

Lateef Olaniyan, owner of Southgate Pharmacy in Moses Lake, agreed: “They don’t come any better than him. He doesn’t start what he won’t finish.” Olaniyan said Peterson routinely goes the extra mile to make sure his clients have the information or resources they need to move ahead.

Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington SBDC, said these client testimonials echo what Peterson’s colleagues within the network say about him.

“Probably the key word here is commitment,” Fladland said. “He’s committed to his clients and to the small business community, as well as to the SBDC network and our mission.”

Advisors draw on depth of colleagues statewide

Fladland said Peterson’s talents shine bright in a constellation of fellow SBDC business advisors who assisted more than 2,655 clients in 2015. Those clients reported that SBDC advising helped them secure more than $42.5 million in financing and save or create more than 1,000 jobs.

The Washington SBDC network includes more than two dozen SBDC advisors and two international trade specialists in communities across the state who work with small business owners who want to start, grow or transition businesses. The Washington SBDC ( is supported by Washington State University and the U.S. Small Business Administration and receives additional support from local institutions of higher education and economic development.

Peterson’s work in Moses Lake is supported by the Grant County Economic Development Council (EDC), but he is also available to meet with clients from Adams and Lincoln counties. In addition, Washington SBDC business advisors collaborate frequently on behalf of their clients, ensuring that every SBDC client has access to the entire network’s depth and breadth of expertise, no matter where they live.

Helping develop new markets

Vern Jenkins and Allan Peterson in South KoreaJonathan Smith, former head of the Grant County EDC and president of the Yakima County Development Association, said Peterson is always looking for ways to support and bolster the small business community in rural eastern Washington. In 2008, he said, Peterson was the driving force behind a conference for business owners in Grant County that included representatives of Google and Intuit.

More recently, Peterson spearheaded an effort to develop trade relationships between business owners in eastern Washington and South Korea. In late April, he and SBDC colleague Vern Jenkins, an international trade specialist, were part of a trade mission to Gunpo, South Korea, sponsored by the SBDC and the Grant County EDC.

“The great thing about exporting, especially in rural areas, is that businesses are finding new markets or new customers outside the U.S., but the jobs are staying here,” Peterson said.

Growing with his community

A graduate of the University of North Dakota, Peterson started working at a national chain drugstore just out of college and became manager of the Pay ‘n Save in Moses Lake in 1988. He left the corporate world after 26 years in management positions at Pay ‘n Save, Payless and Rite Aid where his responsibilities included strategic planning, marketing in rural and urban areas and personnel policies.

He joined the SBDC in 2004 and began advising small business owners who already knew him as a familiar face at Chamber of Commerce functions. The transition took some getting used to, Peterson said, but has been worth it.

“I didn’t realize how much fun it would be because we work with so many different people with different ideas,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve found that there are a ton of brilliant people walking around our community.”

He said he learned early on not to make his own prediction about whether a client was going to succeed or not: “I don’t prejudge,” he said. “I take the journey with them.”

Peterson lives in Moses Lake with his wife, Cindy, and has two adult children, Troy and Mackenzie, as well as a son-in-law, Jon, and a grandson, Teddy.