Steven W. Hawks, President of Indiana-based Rubber Products Distributors (RPD), is the 3rd generation to sell rubber in his family. It all began in the 1930s, when his grandfather, John Hawks, went to work as a sales person for his great uncle, Sam Stalter, President and General Manager of Western Rubber Company. In 1960, Steven’s father, Harvey Hawks, joined the family passion for rubber products and went to work for Western as well.
In 1962, Harvey Hawks was presented with an entrepreneurial opportunity he just couldn’t pass up and founded Hawks Sales Corporation based in Indianapolis, which specializes as a manufacturers’ sales representative for various plastics and rubber companies, including Western Rubber Company. The newly established firm filled a great need in the Central Indianapolis area and sold to a five state area surrounding as well. In 1967, Harvey’s brother Frank Hawks joined the firm. Further North in the state near Goshen, Indiana there were numerous rubber companies. So many in fact that it was coined “Little Akron” and 2nd only to Akron, Ohio, where companies like Goodyear and Firestone had headquarters at the time.
After some thought about starting a distributorship in Indianapolis, RPD was launched in 1987 as a distributor for Atlantic India Rubber. The Hawks family started RPD from ground zero with no outside funding. Over the years, the Hawks family has grown the business into a $15 million dollar thriving Indiana company where Steven, his brother Michael Hawks and his cousin Scott Hawks are now at the helm guiding the company’s bright future. Together the three pride themselves on providing just in time “off the shelf” rubber products to an ever growing OEM customer base. With a vast majority of high demand items in stock, quick delivery sets RPD apart within the industry.
“We sell standard rubber and plastic components that are at times pennies per part. Buyers want the convenience of being able to get what they need quickly and without hassle. For our team, it’s all about the service we provide. We listen, we find solutions and we get the product to them fast. We know that often our customers can’t put their products together without components from us. We do not want to be the hold up for them getting product out the door,” Steven said.
Being centrally located in the Midwest greatly assists the RPD team in being able to meet their customer’s needs quickly. “We love Indiana. We’re Hoosier through and through. 70% of our client base is within the 5 state area surrounding Indiana. Being centrally located really helps with logistics and just in time delivery for our customers,” Steven said.
What’s up next for RPD? In the next year or so the RPD team is looking to add new product lines, including metal fasteners and washers. With 20+ years of well-maintained relationships with trusted overseas partners, RPD can offer worldwide sourcing and competitive pricing for almost any standardized rubber, plastic or metal component that a customer may need. Need something custom? They can even help with that too. The Hawks are all about solutions. They always have been and always will be.