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Sami El-Saden


El-Saden was appointed CEO of Ignite USA in 2001 and brought vision to a start-up company that needed professional leadership and a new direction. Shortly after beginning this role, El-Saden won a design and manufacturing order from Starbucks, winning it against Starbucks’ existing supplier base. Despite limited staff and modest company resources at the time, El-Saden and a few key employees dug deep, and successfully grew Ignite’s revenue over the subsequent three years by 2,879%, or a compounded annual rate of 210%. In 2006, Ignite shifted its focus from private label manufacturing and invested significant capital to launch a new national brand in the drinkware category called Contigo®. Bolstering the transition towards the company-branded product line, Ignite developed a patented AUTOSEAL® lid technology which automatically seals between sips for 100 percent leak and spill-proof protection. These innovative AUTOSEAL travel mugs and water bottles have set a new standard in the beverageware industry and have won a number of prestigious media recognitions. Ignite debuted Contigo in 2006 at Target stores nationwide. Today, Contigo is a top brand at Target, Costco, QVC, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, and is now expanding around the globe. Under El-Saden’s direction, Ignite USA has reported revenue and profit growth in each year of its existence, even during the transition period when the company began engineering and marketing its own brand. Ignite’s revenue grew 71 percent and 103 percent in 2008 and 2009 respectively, with 2009 being the company’s most profitable year to date with industry-leading margins, despite the global downturn. “I am extremely honored to receive this recognition,” said El-Saden. “I attribute my successes to passion and dedication, as well as to Ignite’s unique business model and outstanding team. We have a motivated and talented staff that embraces our core values – excellence, courage, creativity, loyalty, respect, openness and honesty. I could not have achieved any of this without our talented and committed team.”
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