Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award Recipients

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Mark Peterson

This year’s recipient of the Kathy Swanson Outstanding Service Award is Mark Peterson.

Mark Peterson has dedicated his career to improving traffic safety in Minnesota through enforcement and education. He held numerous roles during a 25-year career with the Minnesota State Patrol (MSP), including trooper, field supervisor, assistant director of training/academy director, and lead public information officer. During that time, Mark took more than 800 impaired drivers off Minnesota roads and helped develop the DRE program to combat drug-impaired driving and the initial H.E.A.T. program to address excessive speeding.

Over his last 10 years with MSP, Mark served as the director of education and federal projects, developing and implementing educational initiatives for safety education troopers, schools, driver education classes, and media outlets. He was instrumental in securing millions of dollars in federal traffic safety grants to support local law enforcement agencies. Since 2014, Mark has worked as a public affairs specialist for AAA, representing the auto club on numerous coalitions and work groups while implementing awareness and education programs aimed at teens, seniors, and other vulnerable roadway users. Additionally, he has organized numerous trainings, workshops, and forums to address the issue of drug-impaired driving. Mark was also active in the Minnesota chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving for many years, serving as both president and vice president.

Finally, to further law enforcement efforts worldwide, Mark spent two years in Afghanistan working with the military to train Afghans to be police officers.


  • Judge James Dehn


  • Sue Porter, Minnesota Department of Transportation


  • Nancy Johnson, Minnesotans for Safe Driving 


  • Max Donath, Director, Roadway Safety Institute, and Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota


  • Nelrae Succio, Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • Jean Ryan, Minnesota Department of Public Safety


  • Major Mike Asleson, Minnesota State Patrol


  • Bob O'Brien, Department of Public Safety
  • Brad Kollman, Department of Public Safety


  • Sharon Gehrman-Driscoll, Minnesotans for Safe Driving


  • Anne Beers, Minnesota State Patrol (retired)
  • Carol Bufton, Minnesota Safety Council


  • Bernie Arseneau, MnDOT