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Peterson Transportation PTI Mason, Iowa LogoCall them the living embodiment of the American cowboy tradition. The truckers and other team members with Peterson Transportation, Inc. (PTI) near Manson know that trucking isn’t just about transporting goods from one place to another. It’s about resilience, adaptability and navigating the challenges and opportunities that are part of the journey.

“There’s a camaraderie that’s part of trucking, and you meet some great people,” said Aaron Peterson, who founded PTI in 1997 with one truck and flatbed trailer. “You also see a lot of America, from the big cities to the ports, when you’re in this business.”

Peterson has guided PTI to become one of the industry’s most highly respected flatbed trucking companies. With an emphasis on exceeding customer expectations, PTI has grown to include 70 employees and 15 contractors who own their own trucks.

“Lots of items you use every day come by truck,” Peterson noted. “If the trucking industry shut down for a week, this would throw everything into a tailspin.”

Peterson Transportation semi-truck driving on the road.

The seeds for PTI’s success were planted more than 30 years ago. “When I was about 16, I worked for a farmer and hauled hogs from Manson to Storm Lake using a three-quarter-ton pickup truck and a 40-foot gooseneck trailer,” said Peterson, who had relatives who were truckers. “I still see that guy, and he says, ‘That’s what got you into trucking.’”

After graduating from Manson Northwest Webster High School in 1991, Peterson worked at the local grain elevator and drove a truck for a couple companies out of Fort Dodge. By 1997, he was ready to launch his own trucking company. He started with $3,000 cash, a credit card, a little luck and a lot of salesmanship. There was no time for days off or vacations.

“It was a lot of hard work, but it was fun, too,” Peterson said. “It’s just something that gets in your blood.”

“Our niche is the tough stuff”

It wasn’t long before PTI grew from a couple trucks to five trucks. Back then, Peterson was still driving one of the rigs. That changed as the company grew, but some things remain the same. The PTI team remains focused on becoming the Midwest’s leading specialty flatbed carrier.

PTI offers many freight services covering 48 states to accommodate the needs of the company’s growing customer base. “Being flexible is the key,” said Peterson, who noted that PTI transports a lot of structural steel. “Our niche is the tough stuff and the unique stuff. We’ve hauled all kinds of over-sized items, including roof joists for gymnasiums. Some loads are more than100 feet long, and other loads are 16 feet wide.”

Peterson and the PTI team continue to set new goals to help the business grow. “When you’re comfortable, that’s the most dangerous spot to be in business,” he noted.

PTI has benefited from Calhoun County Electric Cooperative Association’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). The RLF provides low-interest loans to assist with local economic and community development projects within the cooperative’s service territory. “We’re always looking for ways to do things better,” Peterson said.

In 2019, the Iowa Area Development Group (IADG) honored PTI with a Venture Award. IADG presents these awards to individuals and organizations to recognize their significant contributions to Iowa’s economy through entrepreneurial leadership, innovation and job opportunities.

PTI’s spirit of continuous improvement is reflected in the values that drive the company. While a truck driver’s life is a unique blend of adventure and solitude, no one wants to feel like they’re just a number. Drivers and other team members appreciate the family atmosphere at PTI.

“Technology has its place in business, but we want to maintain the personal touch,” said Peterson, who added that PTI is always looking for qualified drivers. “When you pick up the phone and call us, you’ll talk with real people.”

Being based in Calhoun County is another plus, added Peterson, who appreciates the easy access to four-lane Highway 20. “Manson, Iowa, is where the heartbeat of this company started, and it’s still a great fit for us.”


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