Becoming the all-time sales leader for one of the top robotics companies in the world was not something that happened overnight for Steve Peterson ’88. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln graduate, who also earned his MBA from the UNL College of Business Administration, spent 24 years working his way to the top at Yaskawa, America, Motoman Robotics, and his hard work paid off this summer when he earned the company’s prestigious Ichiban Award.
The award recognizes Peterson as the company’s most consistent performer. He achieved corps d’elite status in 92 percent of his 24 years with Motoman, compared to a company average of 19 percent. Corps d’elite status honors the company’s top sales performers each year. In his time with the company, Peterson has made more than $131 million in sales.
“What I like most about my job is helping my customers become more successful through the use of robot automation,” Peterson said. “I get to work with a variety of customers, from small companies to Fortune 500 companies. I get to witness and assist in the manufacturing of everything from tiny parts like casino chips to very large parts like Boeing 787 airplane components.”
Peterson, who earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from UNL and still lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, serves the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri, providing robot automation solutions to a variety of manufacturers including agricultural equipment, automotive parts and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) robots for education. He said his MBA gave him the keys to unlock a successful career.
“My MBA has helped me to consult professionally with my clients about business matters in addition to engineering details,” Peterson said. “I anticipated an MBA would help me in my professional sales career, and this has proven true.”
While working toward his MBA, Peterson worked for Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Ellison Robotics. The Motoman Robotics Division of Yaskawa America was founded in 1989, shortly after Peterson earned his MBA and joined the company. Yaskawa Electric, the parent company for Motoman Robotics, has offices in 28 countries and employs more than 14,000 people.
“I had a great experience obtaining my bachelor’s degree from UNL,” Peterson said. “Based on this, and the reputation of the UNL MBA program, the decision to pursue my MBA at UNL was an easy one.”