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This Keynote Speaker Invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Some stories never go stale. If you’re not already familiarKCChamberLogo with the mop-to-riches tale of Richard Montañez, PepsiCo North America’s executive vice president, multicultural sales and community activation, let Kansas City Star business, economics and workplace writer Diana Stafford be your guide. Montañez was the featured speaker at a Tuesday morning diversity event hosted by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce:

A Mexican janitor in the Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, tinkers on his own time with a spicy recipe to coat the plant’s Cheetos. His family and friends like it.

He calls up the CEO. This is 1976. Amazingly, the CEO listens to him, thanks to a secretary who lets the call go through. The CEO invites a demonstration.

Montañez and his wife race to the public library to check out a book on marketing. He packages his red-tinged Cheetos in sample bags and buys a $3 tie, his first ever…

Interestingly enough, Stafford had another recent story suggesting that it’s a bad idea for employees to eat lunch at their desks. Unless perhaps they’re tinkering with the next great snack invention. Flamin’ Hot Donuts, anyone?

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