Beyond the Boardroom

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Les Peterson, president & CEO, Peterson Mechanical

Columnist: Michael Barnes
May, 2019 Issue

Michael Barnes
All articles by columnist

Few businesses in Sonoma County can boast a family legacy quite like Peterson Mechanical. The leading mechanical contractor started as a plumbing and heating company in 1915 by founder Ed Peterson. The company now has more than 130 employees, one of which is current President and CEO Les Peterson. Les joined the company in 1973; making him the third-generation of Petersons to do so; his son, Scott, joined the company in the 2000s. Les is an avid outdoorsman who became the president of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) in 2007. When he’s not basking in the serenity of Mother Nature, he’s partaking in the pastime of pickle-ball.

Are you a North Bay native? Where did you grow up?

Yes. I was born and raised in Sonoma.

What got you interested in your career? Has it been a lifelong interest?

I was raised around the family business.

How long have you been in business? Are you sole proprietor?                                               

I began working in the business at age 12. Peterson Mechanical is a Corporation and I am the President and CEO.

What did you do professionally before you started your own business?

Picked fruit for one summer.

Do you have a big family?

I have two children with one in the business (Scott). My wife is the Secretary of the corporation and has worked in the business since 1974.

Did you attend college? If so, where and what was your major?

I attended University of Nevada Reno as a Business Management Major.

What do you love to do outside of work?

Fishing, skiing, hiking, bird hunting, golf, and pickle-ball.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Attracting and retaining many long-term, multi-generational employees.

What do you consider your best quality?


If you could visit deep space or deep ocean, which would it be and why?

Deep Space: “A weightless adventure on a faraway Rock.”

What's your favorite spot to go out to eat in the North Bay?

Della Santina’s in Sonoma.

What's the best bit of business advice you've received?

Invest in your community.

What's your dream vacation

St. Moritz, Switzerland in the winter.



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