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May 10, 2012 Volume 33, No. 31

Eldon “Pete” Peterson

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Power Plant Maintenance Specvialist III Welder, Campus Facilities-Energy Management

Chancellor’s Outstanding Staff Award

At age 68, Eldon “Pete” Peterson has steady hands and keen eyesight, which are important in his trade.

Peterson is responsible for welding and steel fabrication at MU’s power plant. Most of his work involves pipefitting various systems, including water, oil, gas, and steam. 

Much of the welding jobs are in areas difficult to access. Peterson, who is left-handed, occasionally welds right-handed in certain situations. He’s completed welds on the backside of pipes using a mirror. On one occasion, when he couldn’t reach the work, he used his foot to hold the welding stinger, which holds the electrode. 

“I cannot think of a single weld by Pete that we’ve had to go back and repair,” his nominator said. “Because of his vast experience, he offers insight and suggestions to improve piping systems and plant maintenance. He often performs welds on equipment that are far superior to welds done by the equipment manufacturer. In fact, he’s repaired many welds in the plant originally done by outside contractors. It’s like magic what he can do with a cutting torch and welder.” 

Magic is also what Peterson does on the side. He’s an accomplished magician who has performed shows in Las Vegas.  

“If you’re not impressed with his welding, wait until he makes a silver dollar disappear,” his nominator said. Peterson is eager to share the trick of the trade with younger welders. As he nears retirement, he wants to make sure he leaves the department with skillful welders to pick up where he left off.