Eric R. Gustafson is Chairman and CEO of Coast Packing Company (Coast), number one supplier of animal fat shortenings in the Western United States. He is the fourth generation of his family to own and operate Coast, has been a member of Coast’s Board of Directors since 2009, and was named CEO in 2010. Gustafson is responsible for guiding the company’s strategic initiatives and vision, and leads business development, client relationships, and procurement. Over the last 12 years, he has directed all key areas of the business and built the current leadership team to execute Coast’s strategic plans. He is very proud that he has helped Coast achieve its 100th year in business in February of 2022. Prior to being named CEO, Gustafson served as Vice President of Operations and has held various sales and marketing positions since December 2002.
In addition to his responsibilities as CEO of Coast, Gustafson serves on the Board of Directors and Executive Board of the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). He also is an Officer of NAMI and currently serves as Treasurer. Previously he has served as Chairman and Co-Chairman of NAMI’s Labor and Employment Committee and co-founded the Family Business Task Force. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors and Nominating Committee for the Institute of Shortenings and Edible Oils (ISEO).
Gustafson and his family believe in supporting local communities. He served on the Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors from 2010-2018 and was Chairman of the Board from 2012-2014. In that capacity, he played a critical role lobbying the state legislature on behalf of the Chamber and the “Save Vernon Jobs” coalition. Through his and the coalitions efforts, AB 46 — a bill to disincorporate the City of Vernon – was defeated. From 2012-2014, Gustafson was appointed to the Vernon Housing Commission and was named its first Chairman. He was also appointed to the Vernon Business Industry Commission from 2015-2017 and served as Chairman for 1 year.
Gustafson and his wife are strong advocates of education through the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (MBEF), NAMI Scholarship Foundation, and USC Trojan Athletics Scholarship Fund. In addition, the Gustafson Family and Coast are active in philanthropy, supporting charities such as Feeding America, Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Make a Wish Foundation, The Midnight Mission, and USC Keck School of Medicine.
In 2002, Gustafson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Sciences with a minor in Business from the University of Southern California. He is a member of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) and Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA). When he is not devoting his time to Coast, Gustafson is a competitive drag racer and holds multiple class championships and records. However, his greatest love and passion is spending time with his wife and three children and enjoying USC Football, traveling the world, golfing, and skiing.