Working for a large company like General Mills appealed to Mike Klaas as his father and grandfather worked for more than 30 years for big companies.
“I really kind of fell in love with the people during the interview process, and it just seemed like the right fit,” Klaas said. “And 14 years later, I can still say the same things.”
The Cleveland native has worked in multiple roles since he started at General Mills in 2006 as a business management associate for Kroger. He worked nearly five years in Cincinnati, three years in Minneapolis, and the past six years in Rogers. He moved to Northwest Arkansas for a position here.
Klaas leads the Sam’s Club business team for General Mills and has achieved year-over-year sales growth. He’s been recognized as the top sales director for team engagement and developed seven innovative items to ship to Sam’s Club stores while focusing on core business, such as Cheerios, Yoplait and Totino’s.
“One of the items that we’re proud of is we took a Pillsbury soft baked cookie that’s generally sold more in convenience stores, but we adapted it for the club channel,” he said. “And it has done extremely well to the point where we are now shipping it to all clubs every day.”
Klaas was promoted to his current role in March and oversees eight people. Some of his previous positions while at General Mills include product sales manager for Yoplait, zone operations manager for Walmart and senior sales lead for Sam’s Club.
In April, he established a GoFundMe campaign called “Giving is Living” and has raised more than $17,000 for various causes. He’s board president for Arkansas Athletes Outreach and takes his therapy dog, Crow, to visit retirement home residents.