Age 39 | Partner, McGladrey LLP

Dustin Petersen has known the meaning and value of hard work since he was big enough to wield a shovel and a pail on the family farm near Clear Lake. He credits that work ethic for his later professional accomplishments, particularly his promotion to partner at McGladrey LLP in 2007.

“I think hard work kind of makes your own luck sometimes,” said Petersen, who is nearing 18 years with the accounting firm. A certified public accountant, Petersen plays multiple roles at McGladrey, serving as a national practice leader for the alternative energy sector as well as a national tax leader for McGladrey’s consumer products group. He also serves on two national technical advisory groups for the firm.

“I’ve been a longtime career guy here at the firm and I’ve had a blast,” Petersen said. Another “farm kid” at the firm, Jeff Johannesen, took Petersen under his wing when he joined the firm and has been a mentor ever since. “Following (Johannesen) and watching him was a great lesson in how to go about doing things,” Petersen said.

Petersen started the firm’s national renewable energy practice in 2002, primarily working with ethanol and biodiesel producers and later adding producers of other forms of renewable energy, such as solar and landfill gas. The practice now has clients from coast to coast as well as in India and China.

An Ankeny resident, Petersen serves on the Ankeny Economic Development Corp. board. The current effort to develop a bioscience corridor between Ames and Des Moines through the Capital Corridor initiative, while still evolving, “is something I’m very excited about,” he said.

Petersen and his wife, Nicole, have three children, ages 17, 13 and 11, which has kept him involved in youth sports activities. “I’ve always enjoyed anything that relates to kids,” he said.

Five reasons he’s a 40:

• Serves on the boards of the Ankeny Economic Development Corp. and the Blank Park Zoo Foundation.

• Member of the tax committee of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry.

• Member of the United Way Emerging Leaders program.

• Participates in the Muscular Dystrophy Association Executive Lock-Up fundraiser.

• Nominated as McGladrey national partner of the year in 2012.

Mentor: Jeff Johannesen, partner, McGladrey LLP

Fun fact: He was the first in his family to earn a four-year degree.