SPOKANE, Wash. – Gerard Centioli, founder, president and CEO of ICON, will deliver the Second Annual Pigott Entrepreneurship Speaker Series lecture at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 13 in the Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium. His speech, “Iconic Reflections: People and Concepts That Represent the Best of the Restaurant Industry,” explores successful food-service industry icons that highlight effective strategies for any sector. The program is free; the public is welcome.
Centioli spent most of his life in the restaurant business. His family opened one of the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises, and Centioli will discuss the lessons he personally learned from Colonel Harland Sanders, KFC’s famous founder. After graduating from Gonzaga, Centioli remained in the industry, eventually becoming the top executive of ICON, LLC, a company that develops iconic food-service brands. ICON operates every Krispy Kreme store in the Northwest, and expanded the famous Miami restaurant Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak and Stone Crab to new markets including Chicago and Las Vegas.
In addition to drawing on his business experience, Centioli will reflect on the impact of his time as a Gonzaga University student. He currently serves on the University’s Board of Regents.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for people to learn first-hand from a successful entrepreneur. In today’s economic environment we all need to learn how to become entrepreneurial. Mr. Centioli will not only talk about proven strategies and smart innovators, but also how the Jesuit value system has impacted his life,” said Professor Todd Finkle.
Centioli was chosen to speak at Gonzaga by Finkle, the Pigott Professor of Entrepreneurship in Gonzaga’s School of Business Administration. Finkle, too, grew up in a family-owned business, and then started four firms of his own as well as a nonprofit enterprise. At Gonzaga, he has created a new Concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation that is open to all Gonzaga students, regardless of major. Last year’s inaugural Pigott Entrepreneurship Lecture by former VISA executive and venture capitalist William L. Powar was standing room only.
Finkle’s professorship was made possible by a permanent endowment established by the Mark Pigott family, whose legacy of supporting Gonzaga University spans nearly five decades. Pigott, chairman and CEO of PACCAR Inc., is a successful industrialist and philanthropist who recognizes the importance of a comprehensive educational program to develop the next generation of global leaders. PACCAR also provided the lead gift for the $8.5 million PACCAR Center for Applied Science, dedicated in 2008.
Prior to the lecture, a reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Jepson Center. Gonzaga University faculty, staff and students as well as the public are cordially encouraged to attend the free lecture.