Eric Christian Peterson
July 11, 1950 ~ April 21, 2023
Born July 11, 1950, to Allen and Dorothy Peterson in Albuquerque, NM, Eric grew up in Omaha, NE, and Torrington, WY. After earning an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Master of Science degree in Public Communication from Boston University, Eric began his lengthy and accomplished professional career in Denver, CO, as the Director of Public Affairs for Lutheran Medical Center. In 1981, he moved to Northern Virginia to pursue his interest in political science on the national level as a long-time staff member for U.S. Senator John W. Warner (VA), serving in several key roles including legislative assistant, press secretary, and speech writer.
After leaving the Senator’s staff, Eric went on to hold federal executive positions across multiple administrations, including Deputy Under Secretary, U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration, at the U.S. Department of Commerce; Executive Director of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; and Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the Research and Special Programs Administration, Deputy Administrator of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, and Senior Advisor to the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In addition to his federal government endeavors, Eric made substantial impacts while holding positions in the private sector, including his achievements as Executive Director of the Landowners Economic Alliance for the Dulles Extension of Rail (LEADER), where he worked to establish a tax district and enable development of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Silver Line. He also played a major role in launching and growing D.C. Restaurant Week into what it is today while serving as the President of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.
Later, Eric’s career focused primarily on transportation, in particular high-speed rail. He never retired, preferring to maintain an active role shaping transportation policy as a consultant and member of several advisory boards, committees, and commissions at the Mineta Transportation Institute, American Public Transportation Association, and U.S. Transportation Research Board.
Eric was also extremely involved in his local community. As president of the PTSA at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, he founded and served as the chairman of the Jefferson Partnership Fund. He was also chair of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Advisory Board and chairman of the Tourism Committee for the Arlington County, VA, Economic Development Commission.
Eric was a dedicated and active member of his church, St. Mark Catholic Church in Vienna, VA, where over many years he served as a leader on the Parish Council and Finance Committee. He led fundraising for construction of the St. Mark Christian Formation Center and served actively in the liturgy as an usher and lector.
Eric is survived by his wife, Carolyn Fisher Peterson; his son, Matthew Peterson (Tanja Werner) of Charlottesville, VA; his daughter, Laura Peterson van den Bergh (Daniel) of Oakland, CA; and brothers Mark Peterson of Deer Island, OR, Steven Peterson of North Hollywood, CA, and Todd Peterson of Torrington, WY.
Services will be held May 19 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mark Catholic Church, 9970 Vale Road, in Vienna, VA. The family suggests, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to St. Mark Catholic Church or to the public radio station, WETA Classical.