Name: Gary Peterson.
Company: Gap Intelligence.
No. of employees: 27.
Year founded: 2003.
Education: Texas A&M University.
Birthplace: Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Current residence: Point Loma.
Family: Wife, Teresa.
Gary Peterson is the president of Gap Intelligence, a values-led corporation that works with information technology and consumer electronics manufacturers by providing up to the minute competitive intelligence information. The company strives to deliver the highest quality of research and service to its clients, expand opportunities and professional growth for its team members and recognizes the central role that business plays in the community.
The company and its employees say they strive to contribute to “something bigger than ourselves and trust that our hard work will turn into something great and that we’ll have fun along the way.”
Essential business philosophy: Culture comes first. If your company culture is strong, the little things take care of themselves.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Stay paranoid. Constantly think of how your business can be undercut by a competitor or deemed irrelevant by your clients.
Guiding principles: We are a people factory, and we cherish our people’s commitment to us. Give your team a wonderful place to spend their day and they will give back 100 fold.
Yardsticks of success: Happy team members and happy clients. We have lost two full-time employees and one client in nine years.
Goals yet to be achieved: Expansion to Asia and Latin America.
Best business decision: We bought a supplier in 2010 that enabled us to bring our data collection in house. While a painful endeavor filled with pitfalls, we now control our own destiny.
Worst business decision: The inability to simply cut losses and move on — from employees to business partnerships. Hoping that things will work out with employees or partners has been a very expensive lesson for us.
Toughest business decision: There have been times that we have had to turn down business because we knew it didn’t fit our capabilities and would not be profitable for us in the long run. Turning down business is very difficult, but has proven to be the right thing to do.
Biggest missed opportunity: I think “What if…”every time I read about China and Brazil.
Mentor: My Dad. A high school dropout who joined the Army at age 17, he outworked everyone else to become a pilot, businessman, and a great father.
One word that describes you: Passionate.
What you like best about your job: I work with great people who are doing great things. The amazing stuff that is within our reach gets me fired up every day.
What you like least about your job: I hate accounting.
Pet peeves: Anyone can broadcast a problem, “A” players broadcast ideas on how to fix it.
Most important lesson learned: Be calm.
Person most interested in meeting: President Obama.
Three greatest passions: My growing family, Philadelphia Flyers hockey and Gap Intelligence.
First choice for a new career: GM of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Favorite quote: “Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire” — Fred Shero, former coach of my Flyers.
Most influential book: “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins.
Favorite status symbol: My really, really beat up 1993 Toyota pickup truck. I love to turn heads in La Jolla with it.
Favorite restaurant: Mitch’s Seafood in Point Loma. Wars will be fought over their swordfish sandwich.
Favorite place for business meetings: Petco Park — there is an incredible conference room there.
Favorite vacation spot: Every inch of Italy.
Favorite way to spend time: An unabashed gardening nerd, I have thirteen tomato plants that I dote on daily.