David Allen Reed Donor Applies AT Skills, College Philosophy to Work
By Chris Gregor
Brad Peterson '90 views his five year campaign commitment at the David Allen Reed Society level as a way of giving back to the place that prepared him so well for life. "Springfield College helped me become well rounded by teaching me to think beyond the basics of academics, and to engage into other aspects of life and in the greater community beyond the College. I choose to donate to Springfield College in hopes that others will have access to the same things that, in my good fortune, I did."
Peterson is vice-president of sales and education for Motion Concepts, a manufacturer of specialized power wheelchairs for high-level quadriplegics, paraplegics, and people suffering from debilitating diseases. He has been in the industry for nine years and been with the Toronto-based Motion Concepts for five.
While attending Springfield College, Peterson was an athletic training major who played soccer and was a resident assistant. His father, Kenneth '63, as well as his sister, Gretchen Milanese '97, also attended the College. "Bob Berquist was a professor who I looked up to, and who was influential in getting me interested in physical therapy. He persuaded me to do more than just focus on athletes and to work with different types of people in the physical therapy field. After I graduated from Springfield College, Bob encouraged me to come work at Western Massachusetts Hospital, a state-run long-term care hospital in Westfield where he was a consulting physical therapist.
"I worked there for four years with people facing a range of physical challenges and learned valuable lessons about assistant technology, building things and problem-solving. That work was an ideal preparation for everything I do now with Motion Concepts. I am in sales and marketing but we also do a lot with product design, prescription of equipment and making sure the products are appropriate for peoples' needs. Once again, the problem-solving skills learned at Springfield College are very applicable. My field is not one you go to school for: People have asked how being an athletic trainer helps me in my job. It's because Springfield College also taught me to think and be a critical problem solver. These are the skills I use every day," he says.
The Humanics philosophy also played a big part in Peterson's decision to donate. "The Humanics approach definitely makes Springfield College special in that it expands your education and makes you more well rounded. We students tended to scoff at dance class, racquetball class and having to go to Freshman Camp, but those were more than just opportunities to become proficient at a sport or activity. They were character-building opportunities, chances to interact with peers, and venues for building relationships. I have friends who attended other colleges who may be academically accomplished, but I don't know if they are as well rounded as people from Springfield College. The Humanics philosophy prepares you so well for whatever it is you want to do in life. "
Peterson says that Springfield College is unique in the ways it influences students. "It's not just individuals who influence you at Springfield College, but the community as a whole, there is a special feeling you get being on a small campus with people who are there to support you.
"Springfield College is not a large Division I school that has all kinds of endowments and money. When you feel that your college prepared you well for your career and for life beyond college, as I do about Springfield College, I think you should act on it and give something back if you have the financial resources. I do donate to other organizations, but Springfield College is my number one choice for donations. I also saw what Springfield College did for my Dad and what the school meant to him and I want to see Springfield College's world-class facilities maintained and even exceed their high-level. I had a fantastic experience at Springfield College and want others to have the same. That's why I give back."
Peterson works out of a home office in the Boston area and spends the majority of his time traveling around the country on sales trips. While on the road he enjoys playing golf at the many places he visits on business. Additionally, Peterson enjoys downhill skiing, running, and mountain biking when he has the time.
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