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avatar for John Peterson

John Peterson

Penn State
Director-Corporate Engagement
University Park
John Peterson, Director of Corporate Engagement connects industry partners to strategic opportunities at Penn State for research and development, philanthropy, and talent recruitment. The center serves as a hub for industry/University relationships, supporting companies as they navigate the vast resources of Penn State.  The Corporate Engagement Center is a joint initiative of the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and the Office of University Development, working in partnership with Career Services.

Prior to his director role with Corporate Engagement, John worked for the Penn State Small Business Development Center a business consultant and interim director has consulted for more than 500 businesses across multiple sectors and engaged over 1000 businesses across the Commonwealth from groundbreaking tech platforms to disruptive consumer products and while navigating many businesses through COVID-19 relief funding. John also has guided numerous startups and existing businesses in securing various types of funding through venture capital, private equity, commercial lending and other forms of capital acquisition. He is dedicated to students and faculty at Penn State and works as a guest lecturer on entrepreneurship and how Penn State can help businesses grow through various departments to fulfill its land grant mission.

John has more than 15 years of business management experience in various industries, including private ownership, private equity, venture capital, and publicly-held businesses. Working with high-growth companies—ranging in size from early-stage development to globally-recognized organizations—has given John the opportunity to work with not only hundreds of small businesses, but also with some of the world’s largest names in consumer and industrial products. John has experience working within the manufacturing, technology, Lean, Six Sigma, safety, quality systems, environmental law, sales, supply chain, consumer products, life science, operational excellence, inventory control, engineering, product development, leadership development, purchasing, industrial products, and food and beverage industries.

He is also the past Vice President of Appalachian Food Works, Program Advisor for Happy Valley LaunchBox,, Penn State Smeal Alumni Club-Happy Valley member, Hammond Society member of Smeal College of Business, past board member for Penn State-Smeal College of Business Alumni Society, President of the Penn State DuBois Alumni Society, Penn State Alumni Association Council- Business and Finance Committee Member, and DuBois Education Foundation ex-officio board member.

Finally, John owns his consulting firm as Founder and President of Sunset Lake Ventures LLC; the firm assists businesses to help startups raise funds from angel and venture capital firms.