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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 2, 2009

Alumnus, Web marketing expert to discuss entrepreneurialism in UI visit

Chances are good that you've bought something from Don Peterson's company. You just don't know it.

Peterson is the vice president of strategic clients at Digital River, Inc., a company that operates internet stores for leading software and consumer electronics companies to sell their products while making it look like the companies are selling them from their own Web sites.

Among his clients are Microsoft, Philips, Samsung and Symantec. The 1,300-employee Eden Prairie, Minn.-based company helped sell nearly $3 billion worth of merchandise last year.

Digital River isn't Peterson's only success. He's founded multi-million dollar companies, served as the chief executive officer of private and public companies for nearly 14 years, and has a total of 25 years of experience.

But the 48-year-old attributes many of his skills to his early days at the University of Iowa. Peterson, who graduated from the Tippie College of Business in 1983, is the Strategic Innovation Academy Guest for the business school on Wednesday, Oct. 7. He will meet with officials from the business school, Pomerantz Career Center, the UI Foundation, and more. He will also participate in the Entrepreneurship-in-Residence session with students from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Bedell Entrepreneurial Learning Lab, 322 N. Clinton St.

Throughout his childhood, Peterson moved around the Midwest but eventually settled in Bettendorf, Iowa before attending the UI. Peterson, whose father was a John Deere executive, said he always knew he wanted to go to business school after being exposed to his father's work environment and business trips across the country.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management science, Peterson worked for firms around the Midwest, including Accenture and IBM.

The UI alumnus then worked for myriad information technology companies, including his own consulting firm, Shamrock Computer Resources, which he started in 1989 in Minneapolis. The company brought in over $50 million in revenue before Peterson and his partners sold it in late 1996.

He joined Digital River in 2004. Although Peterson's job can be stressful, he ultimately loves the experiences he is having.

"It's complicated, fun, hard, and I get to travel the world," he said. "It keeps my brain working."

But Peterson is adamant that he couldn't have accomplished all he has without his early business lessons at the university. Since graduating, he has visited Iowa City once or twice a year for football games, or to meet up old friends.  He's hoping to spend more time here in the future and become more involved with his alma mater.

"I think the critical thinking skills and approaches to strategy that I learned at the University of Iowa have been a huge factor in my career," Peterson said.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell), tom-snee@uiowa.eduWriter: Ashton Shurson