Taking care of business
Eric Zwigart '98
From two guys sharing a home office to more than 100 employees. From $1 million in sales to $120 million.
It’s been a successful 10 years for Eric Zwigart ’98, CEO of RPP Products Inc., based in San Bernardino, Calif.
The company manufactures and distributes automotive products to supermarket chains, convenience stores and automotive retailers.
RPP Products has distribution centers in Phoenix, Ariz., and Little Rock, Ark. A two year- old location in Zelienople, Pa., services the northeastern United States.
Zwigart recently earned 2018 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards in two categories: General Entrepreneur and the overall Best of the Best. The awards are given by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at California State University San Bernardino.
“It was a shock,” he says. “I was totally unprepared for the honors, but I humbly accept them.”
Zwigart graduated from Cal U with a degree in business administration. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve before moving to the state of California to work for Chalet Products, his father’s company.
He stayed seven years, tripling profits, before the company was sold and he founded RPP Products.
Zwigart says his time at Cal U laid the groundwork for his success.
“A degree gets you the opportunity. You have to be ready to take advantage of it.”
He joined the Acacia fraternity after his first semester and also played rugby.
“I highly recommend the Greek system, the academics and the sports programs at Cal U,” Zwigart says.
He established the Eric V. Zwigart Omicron Class Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded through the Acacia Fraternity Foundation and designated for Cal U students.
“Getting involved at college gives you the people skills that you wouldn’t quite get going it alone. It makes you well rounded,” the entrepreneur says.
“The atmosphere at Cal U, at that little bend in the Mon, is a gem. I loved it!”