Val Peterson: Legislator, UVU Vice President, and Brigadier General

Val Peterson

Val Peterson and I have been friends for years. He is an exceptional person and stands out because of his ability to wear so many hats. He has excelled and succeeded in every area he goes into from serving as a legislator to leading at UVU to spending time as a Brigadier General in the National Guard. I was excited for the chance to sit down with Val and talk about how he has accomplished all of these things and to discover his secret to success.

Born and Raised

In order to understand a person, it is always good to get their backstory. I asked Val to tell us about growing up:

“I was born and raised in Emmett, Idaho and my parents moved to Moscow, Idaho.  My father was the Dean of Engineering of the University of Idaho.  I went to Moscow High School and then I went on an LDS mission to Columbia.”


“When I came back from Columbia, my mom had sent in all of the paperwork to BYU to get me enrolled at BYU.  I showed up from my mission and she said, ‘You’re all set to go to BYU on Friday on the block.’  And I said, ‘Well I was never going to go to BYU.’ And my mom said ‘Nope, you’re all ready to go you need to go do it.’ So I came to Provo, Utah on the block and I’ve been here ever since.”

“Thirty-five years later I’m still in Provo /Orem area.  I met my wife here.  Anyway, we continue to just enjoy the Provo /Orem area and try to contribute to making our society a little better.”

I can definitely relate to Val’s story because when I got to Provo, my only goal was to leave Provo.  It took me 37 years to do it. What led to it was having Becky, my wife, die and then getting married to Michelle.  So that’s the only way I got out of Provo.  So that is kind of a similar story actually.   We both have been around the block a little bit.  But once you get there, lo and behold you discover it’s a great place to raise a family and the people are wonderful and the environments good and it kind of becomes a part of who you are.

Setting Down Roots in Utah

Val left for a while for military training but ended up deciding to call Utah home:

“This has been a great area.  We left for a little while, I went through Army ROTC at BYU so I had some military commitments.  We moved to Sierra Vista, Arizona. Ann and I were there for six months and when we finished our military commitment, we wanted to come back.”

“We’ve enjoyed living here and we think it is one of the most beautiful places in the world as we’ve traveled around.  Just love the outdoors, the recreation, and we’re skiers and so it’s just been a place where we’ve really enjoyed raising our family and we really enjoy the people. We have great friendships like you, Stan, We love being a part of the community and just enjoying the environment that we find ourselves in.”

“My family actually came across the plains and settled Draper, Heber, and Park City. When my family tease me because I’m the only one who lives in Utah now, I always tell them, ‘Well you were the people that left, I’m the one that’s still here after our relatives had come to Utah in the 1800’s.’”

Val Peterson’s Start at UVU

Val has been a part of UVU for over 30 years. I asked him to tell me about how he got started at UVU:

“At BYU I studied public relations and I worked as a teaching assistant for Bruce Olson. I actually ended up working for Bruce Olsen’s consulting firm that he owned with Wade Beckerman-Bruce, and Brad Hainsworth. One day I came into the office and Bruce Olson said ‘Hey! You need to get a suit on and go down to Utah Technical College. They’ve got a couple of job openings and I think you should apply for one of those.’ I said ‘Utah Technical College? You mean that little school that’s down the road?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘I don’t own a suit.’  He said, ‘You better go buy one then.’’

“So, I went and I bought a suit. I interviewed with a gentleman by the name of Gil Cook and had a great interview with him.  He told me that if I hadn’t heard from him in a week to call him back.  And so, a week went by, I hadn’t heard from him so I called him back. He said, ‘You start tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock’ and that was 33 years ago. I’ve been able to be a part of Utah Technical College, Utah Valley Community College, Utah Valley State College, and Utah Valley University, and it’s just been, in my opinion, one of the most exciting places in higher education.”


Val actually was involved in the ROTC while working full time at UVU:

“I was in the Army ROTC at the same time and actually went to work at the school and I had my military commitment and they gave me a leave of absence. I went to finish my officer basic course and came back. I actually just went back to work and also at the same time simultaneously had a 32-year career in the Utah National Guard. I worked with the 300th Military Intelligence Brigade for 28 years.”

“I was very fortunate to get promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. I got to spend 4 years just working with all our soldiers across the Utah National Guard learning about their missions and overseeing their training.  And that was just a great experience to just see what wonderful people we have in our armed forces.  Some of the best people I’ve ever met have been in the Utah National Guard or the Armed Forces in different places around the world.  It’s just good and reassuring to know the types of people you have that are defending this nation.”

UVU and Progress

 Val is one of the top administrators at UVU and have been for a long time.  I have often said that no one is more responsible for the growth at UVU than Val Peterson.  I asked him to tell me a little bit about his experiences at UVU.

First Job at UVU

“I started out at Utah Technical College and my title was actually information technician.  Essentially, I was writing press releases. The circumstances were unique because their communications department and their public information department all left the college at the same time.  A guy by the name of Jeff Anderson and I were both hired at the same time to come and work the public information side for the college.  And Gil Cook had just been assigned by President Higbee to be responsible for that area.  He hired a couple of young people to come in and actually start to shore that up. We found ourselves responsible for everything from a name change from Utah Technical College to Utah Valley Community College to an open house for a brand-new administration building.”

Growth and Change

“Utah Technical College at that time had about 6,000 students.  Today we have 41,000 students and so it’s been this tremendous roller coaster of growth and really meeting the community’s needs. It’s really mirrored what’s happened in Utah County. If you look at 30 years ago, we had about 200,000 residents in Utah County and today we have 620,000 residents.  And Utah County is just going to continue to grow and expand as it meets the needs of Utah.”

“I think our growth projection is to be at 1.65 million people by the year 2065. So that growth will continue and the needs for people to have training and to have skills so that they can go into the workforce will continue, so Utah Valley University needs to meet that need.”

“Luckily I got to be a part of that story as well.  I received a number of promotions within the public information area. I was the college spokesperson for 17 years working on everything from the first scholarship balls to the car show. I got to do a lot of fun things and be involved with students and student success. It was exciting to be a part of the university growing and expanding.”

“Then Kerry Roseburg promoted me to Vice President just before he left and so I was over college relations for a couple years.  And then when Bill Sederburg came into the institution, he did some reorganization and made me the Administrative Vice President.  I have been the Administrative Vice President ever since that happened. I’m responsible for the physical facilities, for business services, athletics, and university relations.  And that portfolio has changed a little bit, but by and large it has been pretty exciting.”

“I mean obviously just with physical facilities over the last ten years we’ve built about ten buildings.  And we continue to meet the needs of the students we have in this community.  You know it’s pretty exciting when you think about being involved in all those name changes.”

Working with the Legislature for UVU

“I was the legislative liaison for a number of years and got to work on those name changes directly with the legislature and with our legislative delegations, people like John Valentine, Kurt Bramble, and Jeff Alexander as we really created the base and the foundation for what we know as Utah Valley University today. It is very unlikely that the University will have another name change as we continue to move forward, but we continue to expand in many other ways.”

UVU Today

“Today we have 84 Bachelor’s degree programs, 8 master’s degrees, numerous certificates, and associate degrees and last year we had 6,800 graduates.  To me, one of the most exciting places in higher education is Utah Valley University as we continue to meet the needs of the community.”

“It is exciting to watch Silicon Slopes continue to grow and expand. We are getting ready to have the prison at the point of the mountain transition up to Salt Lake. It will open up that space there and there will be even more companies that continue to come into Utah.  All those companies need people with skills and skills that they can translate into the workplace, and that’s really our role.  Our role is making sure we are graduating people that can meet the four and five start jobs that the state needs.  Everything from mechatronics to computer science to business.”

“One of the little-known facts is that Utah Valley University provides 20% of all the business degrees in the state of Utah. And you think about that and this is an institution that 15 years ago just barely started in business.  It really is just an amazing place as you look at the growth and expansion. But it’s all about meeting the needs of the people within Utah County and the state of Utah and that’s what gets really exciting about it.”

“One of the things that I’ve been reflecting on this week is just the impact it’s had on my own family.   I’ve watched what has happened with my daughters by being able to attend UVU in their own career paths and student success.  Both my daughters went on to Masters degrees and their bachelor’s degrees from UVU really helped them, prepared them for that. They’ve gone in the workplace and have done some great things. It’s just an amazing thing and then when you reflect on that, how that rolls out to people across Utah county, I mean UVU in many ways affects almost everybody throughout the county.”

I have seen my own family impacted by UVU.  My kids have been blessed immensely with UVU.  It has been a wonderful place to get an education.  They both had a great experience and the opportunities that are presenting themselves are diverse There is a lot of opportunity out there as a graduate of UVU. 

Future of UVU

Images of Utah Valley University on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. (Gabriel Mayberry, UVU Marketing)

As we are going through this pandemic, you can see higher education go through changes as we deliver education through online and in person. it is a very interesting question, it’s one that I think you are starting to see a lot of people start to contemplate. What does that mean? How does it work?”

“Right now, we have about 70% of our education online right now.  We didn’t grow this year but stayed relatively flat in the 41,000 student range, which says that our students are still trying to finish their degrees, still trying to move forward with their lives as they look at their own career goals.”

“And so, I think once the pandemic ends, obviously we’ll go back to more face to face. One of the things we are seeing in our surveys is that students really want even more flexibility and that flexibility is going to come through online education, I believe. My own prediction right now is that 40% of our students will get their classes through online as they are looking for that greater flexibility.”

“One of the big numbers that really jump out at you as we talk about our students at UVU is that 80% are working.  They’re already in the workforce, and 25% of those are working over 31 hours a week, so they are basically full time wherever they are. For us to be responsive to what they need, we’ve got to provide them more flexibility. They need flexibility to finish those degrees so that they can continue to move on with their careers and do the things that they want to do.”

“I really think that after the pandemic ends, you’re still going to see us in the range of 40% of our classes online with 60% face to face. As people’s lives get more complicated, they need greater flexibility so that they can accomplish their educational needs.  And we’re going to be responsive to that, that is one of the hallmarks of UVU is our response and how we provide education and making sure the students are getting a quality education in the process.”

“It’s not uncommon now for an institution to have 30-60,000 people that are taking online classes while they also have brick and mortar classes.  One of the things that always restricted the university in some ways was the physical footprint, the bricks and mortar that you had. I just don’t think that is going to be a restriction anymore. I think that you’re going to be able to continue to offer education at greater lengths and you’re going to provide a reach that’s much greater. I think that UVU will continue to provide the needs of Utah county up through 2065 and if that’s 100,000 students, then yeah, I think we can do that to scale.”

“You look at the institution already, we went from 6,000 students to 40,000 students. With that growth, we still continue to meet that need and we still do it in a way that they still have small class sizes where there are 23 students to a class.  Even though the footprint’s large you still get that personal experience that you are looking for as a student.  And you have the interaction with your faculty to meet them and know them and get that mentoring that you’re looking for as you are working your way through college.”

Representative Val Peterson

I next asked Val to tell me about his experience in the legislature as a member of the Utah House of Representatives:

Importance of Representing Your Constituents

“First of all, when you run to get in the legislature, you get an opportunity to meet your constituents. You meet your delegates to really get to know what their concerns and issues are.  You make your case as to why you should get elected to go forth and represent your friends and neighbors.”

“I think that one of the things that is really important about the legislature, especially if you’re in the House where you’re running every two years is that you know your constituents and you know the thoughts and feelings of your district.  I have long said that if you’re not representing your district if you’re not reflecting the views and values of your district you won’t be elected anymore.  And I’ve seen that in the Legislature. When people go up there and have their own agenda and they are not listening to their districts, they don’t stay very long.  And so, when I think that, that’s really a gratifying thing when you get to talk to your delegates and they tell you, thank you for going up and representing them.”

“Obviously, we are a republic and so you’re representing approximately right now in the House about 40,000 people.  As you’re making policy, the thing about the Utah legislature that I have found is that everybody’s there for the right reason, which is to make sure the state of Utah is ran well and that’s really the role of the Legislature.”

Crafting a Budget

“Our number one responsibility is to craft and budget. In that budget, we make sure we’re addressing the needs of the state of Utah.  As we gather and talk, we build budget priorities. You go through hearings, you learn about the state budget, you learn about where the money is going, you learn about what we’re paying for and how we’re doing it. You are trying to make sure you’re using those dollars to the best things possible.”

Education Top Priority

“As you survey, the number one thing in the State of Utah has and always probably will be making sure we are providing a good education for our young people. We need to make sure that we’re educating and giving them the best experience they can get so that they’re prepared to go forth and be good citizens and contribute back to society.”

“In fact, yesterday I just was at an event and that’s one of the things they talked about over and over was making sure that we give the foundations so that people can go forth, earn a living, and be good citizens in our state.  That’s really when you get down to the end of the day, that’s really the crux of the matter of what you’re trying to do in the Legislature is provide that and 66% of our funding is going to education. Education is a huge investment for the Legislature and something that we really value and have valued throughout the history of the state of Utah.”

“I mean it goes clear back to the constitution, it goes back to our income tax, all go to education, to the education fund, and so it continues to survey that way.  Our people want to make sure we are providing the best opportunities that we can.”

Legislative Process

“I think one of the things that the legislatures need to do is to make sure that we are getting pragmatic, that we are making good decisions, that we’re listening to our constituency, and that we’re passing policy that makes sense for the state of Utah.”

“Sometimes that comes in heavy debates and as I work with my colleagues in the legislature, there’s obviously different opinions about how to get there. That’s one of the great things about the legislative process, someone puts a proposal out there on the table, you start to massage it and you start to work through it. Then you start to turn it into a bill and that creates a discussion. Then it goes to committee and you amend that bill and change it and you get it to a point where you think it’s pretty good. Then you pass it out of your body and you send it to the other body.  It goes back through the same process, so it’s this massaging process to get to the point where you actually have good public policy. After it passes the legislature it has to go to the executive branch.”

“Last year, a bill got vetoed and the Governor said he vetoed it because of some specific language that was in it. So, we massaged it again and we brought it back in a special session and finally passed that legislation because the Governor felt like he could sign.”

“To me, the legislative process is really an amazing process.  Our founders, as you look at all the checks and balances in the system and everything that it does, it’s really about getting to a place where you have good legislation that helps direct the states and it’s been a great thing to be a part of that.”

“Stan, you always told me that it would be fascinating to be on the inside, and obviously you have a lot of insight from your years that you were married to Becky, and I agree with that.  It’s an amazing process as you watch it go through all those steps and iterations and those people each put their fingerprints on different pieces of legislation or policy.  I think at the end of the day you really do end up with something that works for the whole state.”

“ And if it doesn’t work, guess what folks, we have the referendum process and the people can go out and get signatures and put it to a vote.  Every part of the process there’s checks and balances, and it’s about people being able to be a part of the process.  As a representative, I’m one small piece in that big cog.  It’s a place where my constituents can come to and express their opinion and be heard by the government.”

I was a page in the Idaho legislature when I was in high school and being able to be involved in the legislature was something I always wanted to do. And it’s been a great experience in my life as I’ve gotten to meet some great people and be involved in that legislative process and be able to make sure we have good policy in the state of Utah. That’s what we all want is our representatives to go forth and represent us and make sure we are developing good policy.”


Majority Assistant Whip

I asked Val to explain to me what the Majority Assistant Whip does in the legislature.

“The whip in the early days had the responsibility of going out and getting votes within the body.  All these years later, it really hasn’t changed that much.  I mean it’s kind of a two-way street, we elect four members of elected leadership:

  • Speaker of the House: Leads the House and is responsible for the whole body
  • Majority Leader: Responsible for the majority caucus. Runs and manages the caucus
  • Whip and the Assistant Whip: Once consensus is reached on policy or a piece of legislation or budget, they make sure you have enough votes to pass it.“

“The position works two ways. It is also about being the person that members can go to express their frustrations or things they would like to see changed. It’s really about creating good communication between the leadership team and the body itself.  I have legislators that I meet with on a regular basis where we talk about policy and I get to hear their feedback.”

“Obviously, we meet in the caucus quite a bit of time as well. The Republican Caucus has 53 different members so if everybody was to speak on an issue it might take us a couple of days. Sometimes we have lots to say as representatives that come from our constituents.  So, this is a way that we can break that down. People can have the opportunity to have their voices heard within the body and we can shape policy just making sure that we have good communication back and forth between the members and the speaker.”

Being a Leader in the House

Well, obviously it differs between the two bodies.  Leadership in the Senate is different than leadership in the House.  You find yourself in the House, and you will probably have 14 new members of the house that haven’t served before. So one of the first things is they get a good orientation making sure they understand how the body works.  Then we assign mentors to all those new members so they can be able to accomplish the goals they’ve set or that they’ve told their constituents they’re going to work on.  But then on top of that, we have another 19 members that have only been there one session. So, 33 members of the 735-member house have one session or less of experience in the legislature, so that mentoring continues. We continue to work with those members making sure they understand how the process works.”

“Leadership is what the Speaker actually has a responsibility for. The other three do committee assignments, seating assignments out on the floor, and even down to parking, where our parking places are. Those things are all assigned, that all comes from Legislature leadership.”

“In the House, you also have the role of helping. You listen and set the agenda of what’s going to come through the House. You see what the legislation is going to be like and what major issues you’re going to address. You educate the body about what those issues are, about what the options are, and build a consensus so that you can pass those.”

“Obviously, you have joint leadership which gets together from the House and Senate which likes to sit down and talk about the main priorities for the upcoming legislative session.  Then going out to your body and making sure they all understand how they are going to get there.  Within every legislature, you have different groups that represent different constituencies and so bringing them all to a consensus so that you can have 38-15-1 is sometimes a challenge.”

“You are trying to work through all those issues and have an agenda that you are actually accomplishing. You have things that have got to happen in order to keep the state running the way it’s running becomes really the responsibility of elected leadership.  I mean the state of Utah just doesn’t run smoothly automatically. As you look at the awards that we’ve gotten for best-managed state and our AAA bond rating, there are only 9 states left in the US that have a AAA bond rating that translates into lower rates in our bonding.  We are getting the best rate possible.  This last set of bonds we did was just 1.74%.  I mean those types of things translate into saving dollars for your constituents and making sure the state is running effectively and efficiently.”

Bishop for Student Ward

Val is also serving as a bishop in a student ward. I asked him to tell me about his service:

“It’s a great opportunity to work with 100 college-aged students to make sure their religious needs are met and helping them as they try to figure out what their goals in life are.  In the case of our congregation, there’s a lot of young people who are looking for spouses and so we have a lot of weddings.  I just did a stint as a counselor and we had 100 weddings in 3 years.”

“You’ve got a lot of people who are trying to make some really big decisions in their life and are looking for counseling, are looking for an opportunity to worship, and so you’re helping address those needs.  It’s about organization making sure the ward is staffed and you have people that are teaching and speaking and providing service.”

“So, it’s a great exciting time especially in these young people’s lives and it’s an exciting time to be a part of it. You have to make sure you have a group of people that can come together and make it run as efficiently and effectively as possible while addressing their spiritual needs.  It’s been very rewarding and it’s a great opportunity to work with them all.”

“It’s been great to get to know many of them as they start to chart their pathway in life and what they are going to do. It’s a great blessing for me and my family as we get to work with them.  My wife serves as Relief Society advisor so she gets to be a part of it all. This has been great because a lot of the times we haven’t been able to do a lot of things together, so this is something we are working through together addressing some people’s needs in our valley.”

Secret to Success: Wife Ann’s Support:

 Those aren’t the only things you do.  You’ve got a whole bunch of interests and hobbies and you’re involved in all sorts of things in the community.  You couldn’t do those things without a great wife.

Absolutely! The things that you’re talking about today Stan just wouldn’t be possible if I wasn’t married to Ann.  Ann and I met at our ward opening social 35 years ago.  Ann is really the glue that keeps everything together. She’s the one that makes it possible so I could participate in the military, to do the things that I’ve done at Utah Valley, and so that I could be in the Legislature.”

“She takes care of our kids. Obviously, our kids are a little older now but just making sure that they do everything they need to get through school, that they have got everything they need. Ann has just been tremendous as far as providing the time so that I could accomplish the other things that I’ve gone out and done.  I couldn’t take off and go to Korea for two weeks if it wasn’t for Ann who was holding down the home front making sure that my three children, Trisha, Tiffany, and Cameron are all being addressed and they are moving forward in school and athletics and all those things.”

“Ann is the one that’s really made it all possible.  She’s very talented, smarter than I am, and the things that she does in our household is amazing. She’s a better handyman than I am, she’s got the finances down to a T.  She’s really the glue that’s made it all work.”

“I joined the guard before I met Ann. I remember right after I joined and I met Ann she started talking to me. Her father had been in the military and she said, “You’re going to ROTC aren’t you?”  And I can’t really say that I had really thought about it a whole lot, I mean a little bit. Ann said if I was going to be in the military for a career, I needed to go through ROTC. So the reason I joined ROTC was because of Ann. That choice completely changed my career path in the military because I had been through ROTC.  So, Ann likes to tell me all the time, ‘The reason you became a General was because I got you into ROTC.’  That’s absolutely true.”

“You know if we really trace everything back it’s probably because of Ann that I’ve done many of the things that I’ve done. I just thank her. She’s just tremendous and she’s a great sounding board. When I come home from a legislature, she says to me, “You’re doing what?!  Are you guys crazy?”  There are some great things about being in the citizen legislature and that’s that you have to go to church and when go to church you get a lot of feedback. And in my case, I get a lot of feedback just when I come home about some of the policy discussions we’re having. As she’s following the legislature and what’s going on, she is making sure that I stay in tune with my constituency. A lot of time people won’t see me but will see Ann and she’ll tell me when I come home. ‘You know I’m not the elected representative, but I’m going to pass along this message from one of your constituents.” She lets me know what people are thinking or what they are talking about.  Like I said, it just wouldn’t be possible to do the things that I do if it wasn’t for Ann in my life.”

Iron Lady

 Ann is a strong-willed woman.  Becky was a strong-willed woman in my own life, so I can relate to the way Ann does things.  They used to call Becky the “Iron Lady,” but truly I look at Ann and I say “There’s an Iron Lady there.”

“She definitely never holds back letting me know what her opinion is and what she thinks about some of the things I’m involved in and what the policy is that were working on.  She gives me lots of feedback. She told me once, ‘You know it’s my job to make sure you stay humble and that you stay close to the things that you’re about.’”

“Ann doesn’t hesitate to let me know when she thinks I’m getting off track.  That’s really key in many of these roles because she’s had to play a supporting role. You know when you’re in the military, you have a lot of other people whose wives want to know how do I support my husband.  A couple of years ago, Ann and I were asked to give a speech to a group of wives on how they support their husbands in the military.  That’s really important.  Ann got up and talked about how if you get deployed you can take advantage of the processes the military has to make sure your family can stay intact and together as they go through that deployment process.”

“Like I said before Ann is a much better handy person than I am.  One of the things that I’ve always been amazed at is Ann can tear something down and then put it back together. I’m great about tearing something down but sometimes I’m not great about putting it back together. Ann just has this knack where she can look at something and say, ‘Oh this goes here and this goes there.’ It’s a real talent, actually reminds me a lot of my dad. He is an engineer and seeing her reminds me of watching him tear things down and putting them back together.  But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything that she couldn’t repair herself if she had to tear it apart and put it back together and make it work.”


“That’s kind of the way it works in our marriage as well. She can tear it down and put it back together and make it all work. And in that process, I’ve been able to serve in public service which has been very important to me.”

Opportunity to Do Public Service

“ I enjoy being able to do public service and be a part of the public process.  Working at UVU has been about public service, being in the military has been about public service, and honestly, my time in the legislature really has been about serving my district and doing that.  So, when you look at all these things I’ve been involved with it’s really about giving back something that I’ve thought has been really important in my life is to be able to give back to our community and my own family.”

“I can never underestimate what Ann has done to allow me to do all this.  In many cases, you can point directly to Ann as to why those things even happened. The military is the most directly because she is the one that said ‘Get down to ROTC and get signed up.  If that’s the direction we’re going in our lives that’s the way we need to do it.’ A lot of times she’s the one that finds that extra motivation to accomplish things. She really takes care of all the things so that I can be involved in so many things.  Everyone wants to know how you can juggle so much. Well, the reason I can juggle so much is because I have Ann there to help me.”

Secret Sauce:

 You do a lot of things, you multitask.  There’s a saying that if you want to get things done, you give it to a busy person.  When I look at you and your family, you do many, many things and you do it all well.  Tell me what your secret is to being involved in doing so many things and doing it all well.

Honestly the secret is making sure you have people who are better than you helping you get all those things done.  If you look at the different things that I’ve been able to be a part of, I was able to surround myself in the military with quality people, people that were better than I was, that lift that load. If you look at UVU, I’m surrounded by some great associate VP’s that I’ve worked with for a long time that can do all that in their area and can move it forward.”

“So, I really think the secret is just like in my own personal life having people like Ann. She is better than I am to be honest with you. She gets things done and she executes. She makes it happen. In the legislature, you look at the great group of people I get to serve with. I mean those are all outstanding people.  You look at the Francis Gibsons, the Brad Wilsons, the Mike Schultzs, the Brady Brammers, the Jon Hawkins, the Cory Maloys, and the Jefferson Mosses. These are all outstanding individuals and I would say that everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been very fortunate to work with some outstanding people, just like yourself, Stan. I mean you get things done.  You look at what you did with the Chamber over the last three months. It’s not just about one person, it’s about a group effort, a team effort. That’s really everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been able to surround myself with a group of people that get things done, that are outstanding, and can move the ball forward.”

“I just feel very fortunate that way. I look at every one of those things that you’re talking about.  If you go back to my ward and look at the bishopric that I’m surrounded with, I mean outstanding people. We just called two new Elders Quorum presidents and two new Relief Society presidents and they are outstanding individuals who are making it all work.  If you are looking at these things, it’s not because of one person making it happen, it’s because there’s a group of people coming together to make things happen. UVU isn’t any different. I’ve been very fortunate to work with some outstanding presidents: Kerry Romesburg, Bill Sederburg, Matthew Holland, and Astrid Tuminiz.  I mean those people have a lot of energy; you better be running if you’re going to keep up with them.  They pulled together a great team and are moving the institution forward.”

“At the end of the day it’s not one person, it’s about a group of people coming together to make things happen.  I’ve just been very fortunate to be in some different roles where I get to work with some amazing people. I think about the guard getting to work with Brian Tarbit and Jefferson Burton. I can’t think of two finer individuals as we sat down and charted the pathway for the organization.  So being able to work with outstanding leaders and being able to work with outstanding people who all share the same goals and desires and being able to move the organization forward, I’ve just been fortunate to be a part of it all.”

New Opportunities: Moving Forward With Faith

Whenever we would have a new opportunity in our family, we just came to trust that if we had a positive feeling we needed to move forward with faith.  Sometimes life is going fast and you think I can’t add one more brick on my shoulders. Then you just kind of get this thought that this is something you should do, so you walk through that door and you have faith it’s all going to work out. And lo and behold it does.  It seems like that’s happened to you over and over, Val.

I think when you think I can’t take one more thing, it’s like you said Stan you feel a prompting that I can do that.  The legislature was very much that way. I had lots of people including yourself who came and approached me and said, ‘You have got to run for the legislature.’  The Representative before me Lori Falk was going to step down and they said ‘You have to run. You have to run.’ I remember telling people I can’t run. I’m in the guard. I’ve got UVU. I’ve got all these things going on I just don’t have the time to do it.”

“And all of a sudden, exactly what you said happened.  Ann and I were having a conversation about it and we felt that prompting that you really need to do this. So, you make it happen, you make it work, and it happens, you find a way.  I think as you look throughout my life, it’s the same way, you have promptings and you know that it’s the right thing and UVU was that way. I knew I was supposed to be a part of it right after I got there.  There’s a lot of satisfaction in being able to point to it and say this is something that’s really changing our community. It’s really changing the lives of people and being able to be involved with it is a just blessing in and of itself.”

Lessons Learned

  1. Val Peterson grew up in Idaho where he was a page for the state legislature. That may have given us some indication of what he was going to be doing someday.
  2. He does many things. He is a state representative in the legislature. He is a vice president at Utah Valley University. He is a Bishop. He is a retired brigadier general in the Utah National Guard.
  3. He is able to do this because of an amazing wife. Ann Peterson is the glue that holds it all together. He traces all of what he has done back to Ann. She is a handyman as he mentioned. She is really the secret sauce that allows him to do the things he does.
  4. Val’s secret to doing all of this other than his wife is that he surrounds himself with good, quality people.
  5. When you are totally busy with no time and an opportunity presents itself, you exercise faith and you walk through that door of uncertainty and usually great things happen and the blessings come.