Any of us that have been blessed with the opportunity to work at Hart Press (Banta – Long Prairie / RRD) over the last 30+ years lost a great friend and work associate this past week. Lowell Peterson, long time 3rd Shift Pressroom Supervisor at the plant, passed away and is now with his Lord and Savior in Heaven.

I would like to share with you a few things that I know people will be talking about when they remember Lowell Peterson, who exhibited servant leadership behaviors throughout his career. Lowell was an outstanding servant in his leadership role before the term servant leader was ever popularly discussed.

As mentioned, Lowell was the night shift (11:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.) supervisor in the pressroom for most of his career. He obviously had the necessary seniority to bump anyone to come to day shift, however he opted to allow others that opportunity of normal sleep schedules and time with their family. This in and of itself was an act of service.

Lowell thoroughly understood that he was there to serve the people within his area of responsibility, as well as everyone at the plant on the night shift. He was always out on the plant floor building relationships with his people. He let them know how important each of them was to the accomplishment of the organization’s purpose. Not only the fact that they were working this tough night shift, but also the skills that they brought to the table were very valued by Lowell.

He then allowed his people to do their job. His expectations and boundaries were clear, but he allowed and expected his people to bring their ideas to the table and do what they did well. No one ever had to worry about performance on Lowell’s shift, as you knew that his people were bringing it every day.

He then viewed his primary role to provide positive recognition to all those people that were doing a consistently great job. He would recognize them on the spot, because he was in the trenches with them, and he knew first hand the value they were providing.

I know I never heard a negative word from Lowell as he was always positive and constantly looked for the good in people and the positive in all situations.

Lowell also served his family, community, and his church. If anyone ever had a need, Lowell was the first to be there to help! He was always thinking about others before himself.

I know whenever I think about great examples of servant leaders, Lowell Peterson will always come to my mind. I figure God must have needed someone to look after the night shift up in heaven and He picked the best person he could find. My prayers go out to Lowell’s friends and family. I thank them for sharing Lowell with us, as he has had an extremely positive impact on all lives that had the opportunity to work with him. He was definitely a great model of servant leadership!

Mark Deterding