The surveying profession has lost a dear friend.

Berntsen International Co-Founder Passes AwayPhilip R. Peterson, the Berntsen International chairman and co-founder who pioneered new marking products for the surveying business, passed away June 18 at the age of 90. During his more than four-decade career, Mr. Peterson helped transform how surveyors mark land boundaries. “The surveying industry has lost a visionary and champion, and we have lost an amazing man,” said Rhonda Rushing, Phil’s daughter and Berntsen company president. “We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.”

Mr. Peterson and friend Peter Berntsen co-founded Berntsen Cast Products, Inc. (now Berntsen International) in 1972, based on their “restaurant napkin design” of the W-1 monument — a cast aluminum breakaway marker that was lightweight, resistant to corrosion and detectable with a magnetic locator. The W-1 won the Governor’s New Product Award in 1975, and it became the core of a business that today sells survey monuments, caps, rods and posts throughout the world. 

Mr. Peterson never stopped being an entrepreneur or a tireless promoter of surveying. He was responsible for many product innovations throughout his career, and remained an active advocate to the end with his push to move Berntsen into a “smart” marking world. At the end of the day, Mr. Peterson was committed to his family, his employees and his customers — the surveyors in the field. “Salt of the earth people,” he called them. “We’re here to make sure that they can do the best job possible.” 

In remembrance of Phil Peterson, Berntsen International’s offices will be closed Tuesday, June 23, 2015.