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The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

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Creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos visits WCCHS

Richard Montañez, the creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, delivered a speech to the WeGo community
Richard+Monta%C3%B1ez+began+his+career+with+Frito-Lay+in+the+1970s%2C+where+he+was+able+to+become+an+executive+some+20+years+later.
Photo by Dhanveer Gill
Richard Montañez began his career with Frito-Lay in the 1970s, where he was able to become an executive some 20 years later.

Richard Montañez, a retired C-level executive who worked for Frito Lay, visited West Chicago Community High School on the evening of Sept. 13, 2023, to give a keynote speech on how he created the world-famous Flamin’ Hot Cheetos snack.

Montañez spoke to the community in Bishop Gym for roughly an hour and detailed his tumultuous youth life and inspiration to create the ever-relevant snack with Frito-Lay, the company for which he began employment for as a janitor. He offered advice and shared his philosophies on life and his work ethic which allowed him to become successful.

“Flamin’ Hot” is a book that details the life of Richard Montañez and the invention of his signature product Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Montañez signed copies of his book before and after the speech he delivered on Sept. 12. (Photo by Miley Pegg)

Montañez is the author of several books, such as “A Boy, a Burrito, and a Cookie” and “Flamin’ Hot: The Incredible True Story of One Man’s Rise from Janitor to Top Executive.” Copies of these books along with various other WeGo merchandise were raffled off to event attendees.

“That book changed lives… they were offended because I got a book published and they didn’t, that’s all it is. You have to get me on here and not take it personally,” Montañez said.

The retired executive also is the subject of the 2023 film “Flamin’ Hot,” a documentary-style adaptation of Montañez’s early life and work with Frito Lay as an executive marketer.

The event concluded at around 8 p.m. with Montañez delivering his final remarks and motivating the audience to continue their education and remain true to their skills and family.

“It was really encouraging to see all the support Montañez got from his family for his ideas. It shows that no thought is too small and you can really make something out of nothing,” senior Brooke Schliephake said.

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About the Contributors
Dhanveer Gill
Dhanveer Gill, Managing Editor
Dhanveer Gill is a senior at WCCHS and this is his second year on the Wildcat Chronicle. Dhanveer is a dedicated Math Team member, NHS member, and senior engineer of WeGo's Robotics Team. Outside of school, he loves to be in the gym, go on long (and he means very long) bicycle rides, listen to music, and write. In the future, Dhanveer wants to pursue computer engineering and minor in journalism.
Miley Pegg
Miley Pegg, Senior Reporter
Sophomore Miley Pegg plays guitar and is on the cheer team, but her inspiration for taking Journalism stems from the show “Gilmore Girls”, one of her favorite shows. When she is not busy with school and extracurriculars, she enjoys spending time with her two cats, Squishy and Figgy, both of whom are named after Disney characters, but neither of whom get along. Although a far cry from Stars Hollow, if Miley could live anywhere in the world, she would live in Colorado. 
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