Alumni Relations

Nelson Peters


F. Nelson Peters IV

BSPA '82 and MPA '89

Nelson Peters is serving his fourth term as First District Commissioner for Allen County, Ind.
Peters was previously named Outstanding First-Term Commissioner by the Indiana Association of County Commissioners. The award recognized his work on several projects, including the merging of Allen County and Fort Wayne Homeland Security functions, passage of an ethics policy for county employees and elected officials, reducing the number of county-owned vehicles, drafting a community-wide comprehensive land use and development plan, establishing an early retirement benefit program for county employees, and expanding the public's access to county government through Commissioners' Night Out town hall meetings.
Peters' experience in Allen County government covers more than 20 years. From 1991 until 2000  he served as an at-large member of the Allen County Council. During that time, he served as council vice president (1993) and he was recognized by Who's Who in Governmental Services in America (1991).
As a council member, he chaired the Criminal Justice Task Force, which developed a long-term strategic approach to make Allen County's criminal justice system more efficient and cost effective. He also championed the improvement of county government's openness and accessibility through increased use of television and the Internet, as well as assisting in the development of the county's current tax abatement program.
His community involvement has included memberships on the Salvation Army board of directors, board of the Chandler's Landing Association, the Faith Baptist Church board of managers, the Northeast Indiana Easter Seals board of directors, United Hispanic-Americans, and the board of Park Center, Inc. Peters is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and an associate faculty member at Concordia University and the IPFW School of Public and Environmental Affairs.
Peters lives with his wife, Tammy.

Q. How has your degree been beneficial to you and your career?    

A. My degree(s) provided the foundation to the fundamentals of public management; It created a relevant internship as well as networking opportunities which have sustained me in this position through the present.

Q. How did you become interested in your field?    

A. I have always been a political animal of sorts. As such, I saw management in the public sector as a way to positively impact the greatest number of people.

Q. What is the best career advice you were given?    

A. Keep plugging; Don't give up; Keep moving forward. There are many times in a career where impediments become roadblocks that seem insurmountable. There are, however, workarounds for just about anything. While the outcome might not might not positively affect 100% of the people 100% of the time people will appreciate and acknowledge your best efforts if they know that you are giving 100% on their behalf.

Q. Was there anyone during your time at IPFW who acted as a mentor to you? If so, tell us about the relationship.   

A. Dr. Bill Ludwin, John Stafford and Dr. Jim Owen were individuals who were connected with the SPEA program as I went through IPFW. They were individuals who clearly understood local government and how to connect students with events taking place at the local level. They were all individuals who positively impacted my decision making process as a student and continue to do so today.

Q. What course(s) have you found to be most valuable in your professional life?    

A. Many of the human relations courses allowed for an understanding of the inter personal relationships that were necessary in a bureaucracy like county government. Because government is a people intensive business it is important to know how best to leverage those relationships you provide the best product though the people being served.

Q. What would be your advice to someone who is considering IPFW (either as a new student or a returning)    

A. Get a general sense of what it is you want to do. Work with a counselor to determine the most appropriate academic path. Work to get the most difficult courses out of the way first and enjoy the ride.

Q. What advice would you give to current IPFW students?    

A. Stay in school even if you have to take just one class at a time. Eventually you will see the light at the end of the table and be able to look back with great satisfaction on the work you have accomplished.

Q. Do you have a favorite and/or funny story about your time at IPFW?    

A. As I contemplated law school in Bloomington, my girlfriend said that I should stay at IPFW and go to grad school. When I inquired as to why, she said, If you don't, I will marry someone else". Having dated her for the previous 7 years I decided that I had a little too much invested into that relationship and yielded to her assertion. We have been married ever sense.