EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®

Distribution and Manufacturing

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Eric Lofquist

Founder, Co-owner, President/CEO
Magnus International Group

Independence, OH

Sustainable initiatives are only now being recognized and implemented throughout the world, but they have been part of Eric Lofquist’s makeup from his earliest years. Though his college education was in business administration, Lofquist’s employment experiences and innate drive led him in a different direction — to entrepreneurial success in founding Magnus International Group. The company transforms vegetable oils and all-natural, oil-and-water emulsions into sustainable global products such as natural animal feed ingredients, natural industrial and consumer waxes, and alternative solid and liquid fuels.

“Going back to my early days,” Lofquist recalls, “I was always reusing things. I remember re-melting candles and putting wicks in them in coffee cans — making my own candles out of old candles. I think I’ve always had that somewhere in my DNA.”

While in college in Pittsburgh, Lofquist worked in a steel mill. His first job out of college was selling steel. The division in which he worked would buy off-spec steel, have imperfections repaired and then sell it as prime material.

Further jobs provided invaluable experience in recycling. Lofquist was next employed at a chemical company where his work included removing waste for customers who bought the company’s products.

When he moved to a consulting engineering firm, Lofquist gained business experience and heightened his independent spirit. “In the corporate world, the idea you have to have a certain amount of gray hair and that it’s more about time than performance was a real turn-off to me,” he explains. “I’ve always been about performance, and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it.”

Leaving the corporate world, Lofquist started a business with a partner. He sold that business, went out on his own and has been self-employed ever since. “The idea is finding how to take something people throw away and make something more valuable out of it,” he says.