Dave Zilko founded his first specialty food company more than 25 years ago. While today Dave remains an equity partner in several food-oriented enterprises, he recently exited active involvement in the industry when he engineered the sale of Garden Fresh Gourmet, makers of the number one brand of fresh salsa in North America, to the Campbell’s Soup Company for nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. Dave was a partner at Garden Fresh for 13 years, serving as Vice Chairman with primary responsibility for strategy and sales.
In early 2016 Dave published a book, via Wiley & Sons, detailing his experience as an entrepreneur in general and his experiences with Garden Fresh in particular. Entitled Irrational Persistence: Seven Secrets That Turned A Bankrupt Startup Into A $231,000,000 Business. The book became an instant national best seller.
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 is 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.