CCEE Hall of Fame


Leading innovation in heavy civil and geo-construction and instigating the heavy/highway emphasis in Construction Engineering

Inducted: 2013

Cork Peterson was born the third generation into an Iowa road construction family in 1943.  He graduated from Laurens High School in 1961 and started at Iowa State that fall.  He started in Civil Engineering but changed into what is now Construction Engineering upon learning of its creation.  He was the first graduate from the Heavy Highway option graduating in 1966.  Upon graduation he served 2 years as an officer in the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Prior to his last year at Iowa State University, he worked with his partner, Cordell Peterson, on their first project.  This was for the site grading at the Jefferson, Iowa high school.  After completing his tour with the USACE in 1968 he returned to Reinbeck, Iowa where he and Cordell built Peterson Contractors, Inc. (PCI) from its humble start with one used D7 bulldozer to a midrange heavy civil construction firm that performed all types of Heavy Civil construction except Asphalt and Concrete paving.  PCI has become a regional heavy highway firm and a national specialty contractor.

Cork enjoyed working with Iowa State University and other construction programs that train future leaders for our industry.  He served many years on the Industry Advisory Council for the Iowa State University Construction Engineering program.  His time there included several years as chairman of the council.  He has served the Iowa AGC of Iowa in many capacities including president in 1978.  He served as a National Life Director and as chairman of the highway and transportation division of the AGC of America.

Cork worked with the PCI team to improve the construction efficiencies of the Geopier ground improvement systems.  With the involvement of PCI, the Geopier systems have become the preferred alternate to deep and shallow alternative foundation systems.