20 Under 40 recipient Brian Peck talks leadership in the North Country.


Being a leader means serving those who serve.

This is the motto north country native Brian Peck lives by, and he’s molded his entire career around this idea.

Mr. Peck, who has served as chief of staff for state Assemblyman Kenneth D. Blankenbush for the past five years, said the best enjoyment he gets out of life is helping others.

Like many north country natives, Mr. Peck grew up on a farm. It was here that he acquired his hardworking mentality. As far back as second grade, Mr. Peck would spend 12 to 14 hours a day working on his family’s farm.

Mr. Peck initially envisioned a future teaching elementary students, but that all changed on 9/11. From that point on, he worked his way into the political realm. Mr. Peck said he never would’ve guessed he’d eventually go into politics, but it was his desire to help others that took him there.

With his present job, Mr. Peck said it’s exciting how different every new day is from the last. He likens it to chess; new chal-lenges and issues are constantly popping upon the playing field.

“It’s that type of thought process of where we need to go that really energizes me,” he said. “If I had to sit in my office and do the same thing every single day, for me, it would be depressing. Other people might get excited about that, but it’s just not the way I’m wired.”

Something Mr. Peck has learned about himself through the years is his ability to see problems before they occur, which

can be frustrating for him to explain to others. His mind is always a few steps ahead.

“I’m a thinker,” he said, as evidenced by a statue of The Thinker placed at the edge of his desk at work.

But dealing with that frustration is all part of the game. The trick is not only seeing the solutions ahead of time, but mediating them as well. He prides himself on being a skilled negotiator, something he gained while managing a printing business from 2002 to August, 2015. He’s maintained this skill in his current job, which consists of problem solving and being a voice of reason between constituents and all forms of government.

Though politics is his current muse, Mr. Peck has never let go of his initial desire to teach. He plans to pursue teaching opportunities at Jefferson Community College, and wants to renew is EMT certification to teach in the New York Army National Guard.

Mr. Peck is always teaching himself too; he harbors an unquenchable thirst for discovering more about the way things work. It’s not just about learning for learning’s sake, he said. It’s also about being able to communicate with people effectively, which plays an important role in being a mediator.

“Once you can relate, the defenses come down,” he said.

Because he’s always on the job, Mr. Peck said he doesn’t have much time to hike and hunt, two things he loves to do. He joked that his in-laws have a home in the Adirondacks where there is no cell phone reception, and it’s the one true place he can actually take a vacation. But this is a rare occurrence for Mr. Peck. While working for Sen. Ritchie, he returned over 200 hours of unused vacation time to the state.

“It’s a lifestyle,” he said with a laugh. “I think you have to make those choices to be successful.”

Should Mr. Peck take a vacation, however, he’ll be sure to keep it productive. He recalled a particular vacation in Boliva where he helped build a wall for a school. It all boils down to his motto.

“Even when I do take time off, I like to serve in other capacities,” he said.

Along with his motto, Mr. Peck said it’s also the knowledge gained from failure that drives him. It’s not being afraid to “fail forward,” as he learned from motivational speaker John C. Maxwell.

“When a lot of people said ‘I can’t do it. No, no, no,’ I said yes, because I wasn’t afraid to fail,” Mr. Peck said.

— Brian Molongoski

Brian Peck WEB

Brian Peck WEB

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