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Dave Zilko

Dave Zilko

“Being an entrepreneur is like walking into a dark room and figuring out where your source of light is.”

–         Dave Zilko

Dave Zilko (B.S., Finance, MSU) founded his first specialty food company more than 20 years ago.  Today, he is an equity partner in multiple successful food enterprises, most notably Garden Fresh Gourmet, makers of the #1 brand of fresh salsa in North America.

Mr. Zilko came to speak to 45 students as part of the Finance Speaker Series on Thursday, November 16, 2012 .  His discussion centered on his various challenges and successes as an entrepreneur, strategies he has used in his industry and words of advice and mentorship for our students.  Mr. Zilko took our students through the entire lifecycle of his products, from raw materials to the dinner table, giving us the reasoning as to why cheaper does not necessarily equal higher quality.  He also discussed emerging markets in the food industry, and what drives his continued immersion in new entrepreneurship ventures.  Lastly, Mr. Zilko discussed the need for community service at every level, and how he gives back to his community, both as a citizen and as a corporate steward.

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