“Poor, Hungry, and Determined” Were His PHD

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Have you ever had Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? This is the guy who invented them and his story is fascinating. His name is Richard Montanez and he was the janitor at a Frito-Lay plant in Southern California when he came up with the idea. It all started when he was eating a cup of corn. “I see the corn man adding butter, cheese and chile to the corn and thought what if I add chile to a Cheeto?” So Richard went home to his mom’s kitchen and did a test using some of her spices. His friends and co-workers thought it tasted good. Richard then got up enough nerve and actually called the president of the company and said he had an idea for a new product. “I had two weeks to prepare a presentation for the company executives.” Remember this was a guy who didn’t speak English very well. He didn’t have a high school diploma. He didn’t even own a tie. But what he did have was what he called his PHD. He was poor, hungry and determined. Richard went to the library and checked out a book on marketing. “I’m a little bit of an artist so I even designed the bags and put the Cheetos in it.” After seeing his presentation, the president of the company loved the idea and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were born. “Many times, greatness will come in ridiculous forms. A ridiculous idea might be a billion dollar idea.” But Richard says all of this might never have happened if not for what the president told employees in a video message. “He told us to act like an owner, I looked around and didn’t see a lot of reaction from my co-workers, but for me it was the opportunity to do something different. There’s no such thing as ‘just a janitor’…if you act like an owner.” Richard Montanez is now a top company executive. “My greatness is courage. I’m willing to take a chance.” And he’s very passionate about spreading the word that anyone can do what he did. “The antidote to fear is hunger. When you have hunger for a job position, knowledge or a new house, you go and get it and fear will never get a hold of you.” I like how he thinks. I just wish i didn’t like those darn Cheetos so much!

Source: KTVU Story courtesy Tania Luviano Latina Mom TV and Diane Stafford The Kansas City Star

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About russtowne

My wife and I have been married since 1979. We have 3 adult children and 4 young grandsons. I manage a wealth management firm I founded in 2003. My Beloved is a Special Education teacher for Kindergartners and First Graders. I'm a published author of 23 books in a variety of genres for grownups and children. In addition to my family, friends, investing, and writing, my passions include reading, watching classic movies, experiencing waves crashing on rocky shores, hiking in ancient redwood forests, and enjoying our small redwood grove and fern garden.
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21 Responses to “Poor, Hungry, and Determined” Were His PHD

  1. That’s pretty awesome, Russ. I really enjoyed reading this post! Gives me hope.

  2. Love this and had to share it on my facebook page!

  3. Mrs. P says:

    Awesome…shared it on Facebook!

  4. utesmile says:

    Amazing how courage and ideas can get you somewhere. Not always the studied minds have the best ideas. Stories like this give others hope too, that you do not need a Doctorate. Courage and believing in yourself and what you do is the key!

  5. That is so inspirational. Thanks for sharing his story.

  6. Russ ~ thanks for highlighting him! We can all dream big! ♥

  7. billgncs says:

    what a great story!

  8. willowdot21 says:

    Not all knowledge comes from books!

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