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Peterson Manufacturing Celebrates 75 Years

In 2020, Peterson Manufacturing celebrates its 75th year of supplying the vehicle safety-lighting market with an ever-growing line of quality, American-made products.

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Today, as one of the world’s leading safety-lighting manufacturers, Peterson can boast a proud history of keeping “Solutions on the Move” in a competitive industry, the company noted.

Founded in 1945 and owned by the Armacost family since 1956, Peterson has grown to a $250 million, multi-faceted corporation serving customers across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, China  and the Middle East – and earning the nickname of “Quiet Giant” in the Kansas City-area suburb of Grandview, Missouri.

President and CEO Don Armacost Jr., whose father acquired the business, credits the company’s success to its long history of square dealings with customers, suppliers and employees.

“That tradition has brought us a long ways,” he said. “We’re not about to change it.”

From its 44-acre Grandview corporate campus, Peterson now operates a 670,000-square-foot facility staffed and equipped for cutting-edge manufacturing. The vertically integrated operation includes engineering and design, photometric and environmental testing, tool-and-die production, harness and wire manufacturing, plastic injection molding, final assembly, warehousing, sales and customer service.

“Peterson’s history is replete with safety lighting innovations,” said Steve Meagher, vice president sales. “With our focus, engineering skills and manufacturing expertise, Peterson’s ability to bring real solutions to the marketplace is unsurpassed.”

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That focus includes aggressive support of the automotive aftermarket as well as the OE and heavy-duty sectors. “We’re geared to meet specific customer challenges with speed, automated precision and USA-made quality – all at very competitive prices,” Meagher said.

In building its familiar PM brand, Peterson has made USA quality and value the company-wide standard. From engineering products to exceed federal minimums by 25%, to delivering those products with an industry-best 98% fill-rate, Peterson has proved itself as “a count-on business partner,” according to the company.

This past November, Peterson celebrated its 75th anniversary with a gathering at its AAPEX booth.

When it comes to industry-leading innovation, Kristen Goodson, vice president of product management, listed just a few PM highlights.

“First in the industry with our vibration-proof Vibarsocket. First North American manufacturer to earn ISO 9001/QS-9000 certification. First with our multi-function Strobe & Turn LEDs for the refuse industry. First manufacturer to introduce insert-molding technology. First – and to-date only – to offer guaranteed moisture/corrosion-proof harness/lighting technology for trailers: our amazing Defender system. And most recently, PetersonPULSE whole-trailer telematics, bringing real-time monitoring and alerts to driver and fleet managers.”

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Peterson’s history of industry commitment includes leadership on councils and committees of such groups as the Auto Care Association, MEMA, TSEI, TTMA, TMC, ATA, NTEA and NATM. 

CEO Don Armacost Jr. said: “While we celebrate our 75th year, my dad’s vision for Peterson and our extraordinary associates will continue to guide our future: ‘Our goal has never been to be the biggest,’ dad said. ‘Just the best.’”

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