Kent Pilakowski


Kent Pilakowski - CEOAfter 13 years with General Mills, Kent had covered all aspects of the CPG industry. Winning awards throughout his career, his experience spans from category management to channels strategy to trade optimization to customer management to retail execution and more. A “category captain” in the natural/organic space, his final role at General Mills was directing the sales operations, trade marketing, and category management for the Small Planet Foods organic division.

In 2007, he created IGNITE to take advantage of what he saw as the most significant white space in the industry: strategic sales management. During his tenure with Small Plant Foods, he witnessed many brands who needed more than what was at that time offered in the food space for emerging brands. What was missing was a more holistic view of growth and the strategy that drives it – focused on sales, but including all aspects of brand and product development. IGNITE’s partnership model of shared goals amplifies the power of this broad strategic vision.

Through IGNITE, Kent has developed a team and a structure that right sizes corporate process to small business. That same team also provides strategic leadership and management on the manufacturer side, in order to take full advantage of the ever-important broker, retailer, and distributor relationships.

Kent built IGNITE through his passion for growing brands, pushing sales, and supporting exciting new products in the marketplace. In putting together the IGNITE team, Kent’s focus is always on excellence and cultural fit. At this point, the team itself has become a big part of Kent’s personal inspiration, which is complemented by the satisfaction of working with clients for their growth. Kent is driven by enabling and watching team members and partners having success at whatever they do well.

In days past, Kent had a personal life that included a few marathons, international travel, family time, and drinking a beer or two while watching the Nebraska Cornhuskers. These days, one company and three kids later, Kent’s focus when not working is almost exclusively with his wife and young family who are truly the center of his universe. (In all honesty, he’s pretty good at still adding beer and Huskers to the mix, too.)

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