DAYTON, OH – Richard F. Schiewetz, the surviving founding member of Primus Inc., which later became the present WinWholesale Inc., passed away April 18 in Dayton, Ohio. He was 97.
WinWholesale is one of the largest distributors of residential, commercial and industrial supplies and materials in the United States with revenues of $1.65 billion. Schiewetz was president of the privately owned company from its founding in 1956 as Primus Inc. until 1998 when he became chairman. He retired as chairman in 2002.During Schiewetz’s tenure as president and then chairman, the organization grew from one N. O. Nelson plumbing distributor in Pueblo, Colo., to several hundred local companies with annual sales of more than $1 billion when he retired.
“Dick truly was an American original. He had an unwavering belief in what we have come to call The Spirit of Opportunity,” said Rick Schwartz, WinWholesale president and CEO who succeeded Schiewetz as president in 1998. “He had the mind of an engineer, which he was, but he also was a very astute businessman who believed in providing the opportunity for people who would work hard to fulfill their dreams through wholesaling.”
Schiewetz was born in Dayton in 1913 and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1936. Before starting Primus with a small group of other investors, he worked for Servel Corporation (now Trane) and other manufacturing companies in management.