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Dave Zilko Speaker

Dave Zilko

    • Former Garden Fresh Gourmet executive, responsible for increasing company revenue 275% in 10 years
    • Author of Irrational Persistence
    • CEO, FUEL Leadership, LLC
    • Operating Partner at Huron Capital
Full Bio
Fee Range

$15,000 - $20,000

Travels From

Michigan

Dave Zilko, Entrepreneur Speaker

Dave Zilko, Entrepreneur Speaker

What’s it like to take a bankrupt startup and eventually sell it to a Fortune 500 Company for almost a quarter-billion dollars? And more importantly, what lessons can be imparted from such an experience that will help you live the life you’ve imagined for yourself?

As an entrepreneurship keynote speaker Dave Zilko guides his audiences through an only-in-America story that details how he and his partner, starting with literally “less than nothing,” launched a fresh salsa company from the back of a tiny restaurant just outside—of all places—Detroit. Despite incredible odds they eventually built the premier deli supply company in the United States that the Campbell’s Soup Company recently purchased for $231 million. 

Presented in an authentic and often humorous manner, Dave Zilko inspires and informs.  It’s a genuine “rags-to-riches” adventure that also conveys lessons regarding the role of entrepreneurs in an organization, how values affect a business, a counter-intuitive sales and marketing approach, and corporate strategy insights that are invaluable to both any upstart organization or established corporate entity.

Today Dave has invested in and has assumed the role of CEO at FUEL Leadership, a digital media property that also organizes exclusive business events.

Dave Zilko is also an Operating Partner at Huron Capital, a Detroit-based private equity firm with over $1 billion under management. Dave also serves on the boards of the $60 million Grow Michigan venture fund, of Jimmy Buffett's charitable foundation "Singing for Change," and on the executive board of the largest food rescue organization in the country Forgotten Harvest. Dave graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in finance and earned a Master of Business Administration in marketing from The George Washington University.

To Book Dave Zilko, contact Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

Irrational Persistence

What’s is like to take a bankrupt startup and eventually sell it to a Fortune 500 Company for almost a quarter billion dollars?

And more importantly, what lessons can be conveyed from such an experience that will help you live the life you’ve imagined for yourself?

In Irrational Persistence Dave Zilko guides his audience through an actual “Only in America” story that details how he and his partner, starting with literally “less than nothing,” launched a fresh salsa company from the back of a tiny restaurant just outside, of all places, Detroit. Despite incredible odds they eventually built the premier deli supply company in the United States that the Campbell’s Soup Company recently purchased for $231 million.

Presented in an authentic and often humorous manner, “Irrational Persistence” both inspires and informs. It delivers practical tools that can be used immediately to foster entrepreneurial thinking, create value and deliver bottom-line results. You’ll learn: 

  • The importance of, and courage required, to act entrepreneurially
  • How to search, and find, the Holy Grail of Capitalism
  • The value of never compromising your standards
  • A counterintuitive approach to sales, one in which you never sell anything
  • A unique, holistic approach to strategically building your company

Speaking Topics:

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