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Executive Q&A with Stephen B. Peter

The senior associate at Rees Associates Inc. talks about his career.
BY RICHARD MIZE Published: January 30, 2011

Stephen B. Peter helped make history — a book about Rees Associates' history, actually — working for the Oklahoma City-based architecture-planning-design firm.

In fact, acting as staff liaison to Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, as Blackburn researched, wrote and published “Rees Associates: History of an Architecture Firm,” was one of the biggest highlights of Peter's time with the firm. Of course, he was never far from health care planning, an expertise he brought when he joined Rees 23 years ago.

Peter, 67, retires from Rees at the end of this month, although he will assist on projects case by case. How will he spend his time? Reading and writing more history, he said in an interview.

Q: In addition to the history book, what other project have you worked on with Rees Associates that you found most interesting or satisfying personally?

A: Since 1994, I have played a role in the company's ongoing staff development program by coordinating a public speaking/communications training workshop for new employees. The program is called “Speechcraft” and was developed by Toastmasters International in the 1960s.

Q: What is it about health care planning that led you to make it your expertise?

A: My father was a physician and was, for many years, the director of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department. When I returned home from military service in 1969, he suggested that I consider pursuing a position with what was then the State Health Planning Agency, a fairly new program. I was hired as an entry-level health planning assistant and soon found myself immersed in this fascinating work. Years later, in 1984, I became director of its successor agency, the Oklahoma Health Planning Commission.

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Personally speaking

•  Position: Senior associate at Rees Associates Inc.

•  Birth date: August 29, 1943, Okmulgee.

•  Family: Wife Julie C. Peter (who also retires, this week, from the OU College of Medicine where she has been the staff assistant to the chairman, Department of Urology); two children, Chana Martin and Mike Peter; three grandchildren.

•  Education: Central State College (now University of Central Oklahoma), B.A., history, 1965.

•  Civic involvement: Active Toastmaster and former governor of the Oklahoma District of Toastmasters; Pawnee County Historical Society; North Texas History Center; Oklahoma Historical Society; one-time President Mayfair West Neighborhood Association and Mayfair Security Patrol; various nonprofit boards and professional association memberships over my lifetime.

•  Magazines/websites: American Heritage, American History, the Chronicles of Oklahoma.

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