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Dr. Peter Diamandis
New York Times Best-Selling Author, Innovator and Founder of XPRIZE

Peter Diamandis is the world’s foremost expert in incentivized innovation: the art of incentivizing smart and talented people within your company or those experts around the world to focus on solving your grand challenges. He has worked with Fortune 100 companies, government leaders, and captains of industry over the past 15 years. In 2010, Dr. Diamandis was the winner of The Economist’s “No Boundaries” award for “meta-innovation — driving innovation in the way people innovate.” He is also the winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Innovation, the Heinlein Award, the Lindbergh Award, the Wired RAVE Award, the Neil Armstrong Award, and the World Technology Award.

Dr. Diamandis is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, a non-profit focused on designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private spaceflight, the Foundation has awarded prizes in Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy & Environment, Ocean Health, and Education/Global
Development. 

Dr. Diamandis attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he received his undergraduate degree in molecular genetics and graduate degree in aerospace engineering. 

After MIT he attended Harvard Medical School, where he received his M.D. In 2005 he was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the International Space University. Dr. Diamandis has founded over 15 companies since his first year at MIT. Many of these are nonprofits dedicated to changing the world. His mission is to guide and inspire the transformation of humanity both on and off the Earth. His personal motto is “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself!” In 8th grade, while living in New York, Dr. Diamandis won first place in the Estes rocket design contest.

In 2012, Dr. Diamandis released Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, debuting at number one on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble best-seller lists. The book focuses on how exponential technologies, coupled with the DIY movement and the on-line connectivity of the “rising billion,” will enable an age of global abundance, providing water, energy, food, shelter, education, and healthcare in unprecedented availability for humanity.

 

Frank Abagnale
Acclaimed Subject of the Book, Movie, and Broadway Play Catch Me If You Can

Frank W. Abagnale is one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement, and secure documents. For over 36 years he has worked with, advised, and consulted with hundreds of financial institutions, corporations, and government agencies around the world.

Mr. Abagnale’s rare blend of knowledge and expertise began more than 40 years ago, when he was known as one of the world’s most famous con men. This was depicted most graphically in his best-selling book Catch Me If You Can, a film of which was also made, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. The Tony-Award winning musical Catch Me if You Can, directed by multiple award winner Jack O' Brien, opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre in April 2011.

Between the ages of 16 and 21, Mr. Abagnale successfully posed as an airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor, and a pediatrician, in addition to cashing $2.5 million in fraudulent checks in every state and 26 foreign countries. Apprehended by the French police when he was 21 years old, he served time in the French, Swedish, and U.S. prison systems. After five years he was released on the condition that he would help the federal government, without remuneration, by teaching and assisting federal law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Abagnale has now been associated with the FBI for over 36 years. More than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations, and law enforcement agencies use his fraud prevention programs. In 1998 he was selected as a distinguished member of the “Pinnacle 400” by CNN Financial News – a select group of 400 people chosen on the basis of great accomplishment and success in their fields.

In 2004 Mr. Abagnale was named as the spokesperson for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). He has also written numerous articles and books, including The Art of the Steal, The Real U Guide to Identity Theft, and Stealing Your Life.

“Abagnale's lecture may be the best one-man show you will ever see.” —Tom Hanks

 

 

 


David Barr

Chairman
PMTD Restaurants, LLC


Robert Branca, Jr.

President
Branded Management Group, Branded Realty Group


Robert D. Chase

President
Response Marketing


Greg Cutchall

President & CEO
Cutchall Management


Sean Falk

President
WolFTeaM LLC, Nachogang LLC


Rocco Fiorentino

President & CEO
Benetrends Financial


Gary Grace

CEO
GG Enterprises


David Grimaud

President
Grimaud Enterprises Inc.


Maureen Grimaud

Principal
Grimaud Enterprises Inc.


William G. Hall

CEO
Treats Investments


Aziz Hashim

President & CEO
NRD Holdings, LLC


John Hotchkiss

Partner
L&M Restaurant Group


Michael Knobelock

Owner
MSK Enterprises


Michael Kulp

President & CEO
KBP Foods


Tony Lutfi

President & CEO
Marlu Investment Group


John Metz

President
RREMC Restaurants, LLC


David Ostrowe

President
O&M Restaurant Group


Guillermo Perales

President & CEO
Sun Holdings Inc.


Gary Robins

President
G&C Robins Co.


Cheryl Robinson

Owner
Sapphire Ventures Inc.


Grant Simon

CEO
LSGF Management


Chas Smithgall

Chairman & CEO
SEI/Aaron's, Inc.


Jeffrey Tews

Multi-Unit Franchisee
BrightStar Care


Ted Torres

President & CEO
Caerus Hospitality


Ricky Warman

CEO
Pizzerias, LLC


Eric Werner

President & CEO
Texas Subs, DFW Tanning, Benchmark Burgers


Anil Yadav

President
JIB Management, Inc.

Name Position Company Brands
Balen, Alan Franchisee Checkers & Rally's Restuarants
Barr, David Chairman PMTD Restaurants, LLC Rita Restaurant Group, Mrs. Fields, TCBY, Del Frisco's, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Bistro Group
Baskin, Maury Shareholder Littler Mendelson
Bernstein, J.B. Legendary Sports Marketing Agent and Author of Million Dollar Arm
Blackburn, David CEO & COO Southern Rock Restaurants McAlister's Deli
Boomer, Allan Managing Partner Momentum Advisors
Branca, Jr., Robert President Branded Management Group, Branded Realty Group Dunkin' Donuts
Cairns, Mark Director, Franchise Development Toppers Pizza
Chase, Robert D. President Response Marketing Money Mailer, OrderUp
Cresanti, Robert EVP Government Relations & Public Policy IFA
D'Amore, Anthony Franchisee MOOYAH Burgers Dunkin' Donuts & Baskin-Robbins, MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes
Darrow, Zachary Chairman DarrowEverett LLP
Diaz, Eduardo President EYM Group, Inc. Denny’s, Burger King, Baskin-Robbins
Doty, David Multi-Unit Franchisee Black Bear Diner Black Bear Diner
Draper II, John CEO Viridian Group Burger King, Auntie Anne's, Haagen Dazs, Coffee Beanery, Wingstop
Fiorentino, Rocco President & CEO Benetrends Financial
Fisher, Lane Partner Fisher Zucker
Fletcher, Cheryl VP, Strategic Development and Finance Popeyes Louisana Kitchen
Francis, John Franchisee PostNet PostNet
Goldman, Yaron Owner Southern Deli Holdings MOD Pizza, McAllister's Deli
Goldstein, Seth Multi-Unit Franchisee Dunkin' Brands Dunkin' Brands, Nathan's Famous
Graham, Matt Chief Marketing Officer Jiffy Lube Jiffy Lube
Greene, Peter Franchisee Which Wich
Hall, William G. CEO Treats Investments Dairy Queen
Harrison, David Multi-Unit Franchisee Rental Concepts, LLC
Hitzelberger, Paul Multi-Unit Franchisee Utah Del Taco Del Taco
Johnson, Darrell CEO FRANdata
Joyal, Gary Founder Joyal Capital Management
Kartarik, Mark President Sport Clips, Inc.
Knobelock, Michael Owner MSK Enterprises Church's Chicken, Little Caesars
Kulp, Michael President & CEO KBP Foods KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's
Lafreeda, Dawn CEO and President Den-Tex Central Inc. Denny's
Lindsey, Pete VP Franchising Sport Clips
Little, April Vice President, Investments Spirit Realty Capital
Lutfi, Tony President & CEO Marlu Investment Group Arby's, Church's Chicken, Jack in the Box, TGI Fridays, Little Caesars, Captain D's, Sears Outlets & Appliance Stores, Sizzler
Martinez, David Franchisee Russo's Restaurants Lean Fitness Centers, Lean Nutrition, Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen
McConnell, Sean Chief Legal Officer & VP of HR Modern Business Associates
Metz, John President RREMC Restaurants, LLC Denny's, Dairy Queen, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Marriott
Mueller Jr., Glenn Chief Financial Officer RPM Pizza
Murray, Dave Senior Customer Experience Consultant The DiJulius Group
Panos, Pierre Founder & CEO QS America, LLC Papa Johns, Brookwood Grill, Brookwood Catering, Fresh to Order
Paris, David Partner Paris Ackerman & Schmierer LLP
Perales, Guillermo President & CEO Sun Holdings Inc. Burger King, CiCi's, Krispy Kreme, Popeyes, Golden Corral, Arby's, T-Mobile
Rather, Susan Franchisee BrightStar Care BrightStar Care
Robins, Gary President G&C Robins Co. Supercuts
Russell, John President Wireless Zone Wireless Zone
Salkowski, Robert Partner Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito
Sawyer, Debra Franchisee Sport Clips, Inc. Sport Clips
Schier, TJ President SMART Restaurant Group Which Wich
Sheley, Doug Franchisee Fresh to Order Fresh to Order
Shriver, Michelle Franchisee Tropical Smoothie Cafe Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Silva, Rick President & CEO Checkers & Rally's Restaurants, Inc.
Simon, Grant CEO LSGF Management Great Clips, T-Mobile, Smoothie King
Smith, Spencer President & CEO Smith Group Aaron's and Big O' Tires
Spongberg, Roland President & CEO WKS Restaurant Group Denny's, Krispy Kreme, El Pollo Loco and Corner Bakery
Stone, Michael Founder & Executive Director Professional Athletes Franchise Initiative
Sugarman, Lloyd Franchisee Johnny Rockets, The Sugar Factory, Johnny Rockets, Sugar Factory, Ike's Sandwiches, Pizza Investor
Thomas, Greg President LSGF Management Great Clips, Smoothie King
Torres, Ted President & CEO Caerus Hospitality Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham, Tryp by Wyndham, Wingate by Wyndham, International Wyndham Garden Inn, Ramada Encore International
Travis, Nigel CEO Dunkin' Brands Group
Wilson, Brooke Multi-Unit Franchisee Two Men And A Truck Two Men And A Truck

Session Speaker
Balen, Alan

Franchisee
Checkers & Rally's Restuarants

Alan Balen is President of IB Corporation which owns and operates 13 Checkers & Rally's Restaurants throughout Michigan for the past 22 years, and also operate 3 Checkers Restaurants in Florida. His responsibilities include or have included supervision of all restaurant operations including, Marketing, Financial P & L’s, oversight of 500 employees, and all day-to-day restaurant operations. Alan has over 35 years of management experience in restaurants and bars along with 15 years of service on the Checkers and Rally's Marketing Committee. He has been appointed to serve on the Checkers & Rally’s Franchise Advisory Committee for the last 12 years. Alan is a two time Franchisee of the Year for Checkers & Rally’s, has won the Community Service Award and was awarded the Legacy Award in 2010 for 20 years of dedication to the Checkers & Rally’s brand and the Franchise Community. In 2012, he was awarded Developer of the Year. Alan attended The Ohio State University where he played Football, from 1977 until 1981 and graduated with a BA in Communication, Mass Media and Public Relations.

Advisory Board & Speaker
Barr, David

Chairman
PMTD Restaurants, LLC

David Barr currently sits on the board of directors of a variety of entities involved in franchising. He is Chairman of Your Pie (franchisor of fast-casual pizza concept), and on the board of directors of BrightStar Care (franchisor of home healthcare services), Mrs. Fields Famous Brands LLC (dba Mrs. Fields and TCBY), Real Mex (dba El Torito’s, Acapulco’s, and Chevy’s), and Bistro Group (franchisee of TGI Fridays). He also serves on the board of directors of two public NASDAQ companies: Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group (dba Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouses, Del Frisco’s Grille, and Sullivan’s Steakhouses) and Charles & Colvard (exclusive distributor of moissanite jewels). In addition, utilizing his own private equity, David is Chairman of PMTD Restaurants, the owner and operator of 23 KFC and Taco Bell restaurants. David sits on the Board of the International Franchise Association and the Advisory Board of University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce.  

 

Franchisee: Rita Restaurant Group, Mrs. Fields, TCBY, Del Frisco's, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Bistro Group

Session Speaker
Baskin, Maury

Shareholder
Littler Mendelson

Maury Baskin focuses his Washington, DC–based practice on national labor policy, challenging excessive government regulation on behalf of small and large businesses, while advising employers in compliance issues. He has extensive experience in dealing with labor relations and union pressure tactics, employment discrimination, and wage and hour law. He has represented a variety of industry sectors, advising clients involved in construction, government contracting, higher education, telecommunications, hospitality, security, and nonprofits. Maury has served as lead appellate counsel at all levels of the federal and state courts and before the U.S. Supreme Court, and has led successful challenges against federal agencies including the National Labor Relations Board, the Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He has long represented the Associated Builders and Contractors national trade association and many of its construction industry members. On their behalf, he has been one of the leading advocates against government-mandated project labor agreements, prevailing wage expansion, and union corporate campaigns.

Session Speaker
Bernstein, J.B.

Legendary Sports Marketing Agent and Author of Million Dollar Arm

As a 25+ year veteran of the consumer goods and sports marketing industries, J.B. Bernstein knows what it takes to receive positive results. As the CMO of Seven Figures Management, a sports marketing and athlete representation firm, J.B. was the mastermind behind The Million Dollar Arm contest. This revolutionary reality TV show and talent search for baseball players in India yielded the first two Indian-born men to ever sign pro sports contracts in the United States, both signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. J.B.’s story is now the subject of a Disney motion picture that was released in May 2014. J.B. is the co-founder and president of the Access Group of Miami, and has represented some of the greatest athletes of all time, including Barry Bonds, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, and Curtis Martin. He was responsible for creating ground-breaking programs like Smith’s “Run with History,” which is now the standard deal in NFL milestone marketing. He also orchestrated Barry Bonds’ departure from MLBPA group licensing, making Bonds the first baseball player to successfully operate outside of their auspices. J.B. got his start in sports during the formation of The Upper Deck Company; as the director of development for the memorabilia division he developed over 250 products and is widely known as one of the godfathers of milestone marketing for his work on Wayne Gretzky’s 802nd goal program and Dan Marino’s all time TD record. J.B. received his bachelor's degree in political economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and then went on to achieve his MBA from The London School of Economics. Out of his personal interest, J.B. has separately achieved a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Southern California and is currently pursuing his 2nd Ph.D. in a related field. J.B. lives in Las Vegas with his wife and daughter. 

Session Speaker
Blackburn, David

CEO & COO
Southern Rock Restaurants

David R. Blackburn, CEO and Chief Operating Officer Southern Rock Restaurants, LLC, has 34 years experience in the restaurant business, with 15 years as RVP of Operations and VP of Business Development of O’Charley’s Restaurants Inc., where he oversaw the highest number of stores in the O’Charley’s chain with revenues over $205 million. His region led company sales and experienced profit improvements for 11 years. David also served as CEO for an upscale Italian/steakhouse regional chain and as Interim CEO for Santa Fe Cattle Company, where he led a restructuring that resulted in a $10-million turnaround. In 2011, David formed Southern Rock Restaurants, LLC in Franklin, Tenn., and now owns and operates 29 McAlister’s Deli restaurants. As an entrepreneur, David has executed five rounds of fundraising and understands the importance of matching the right debt structure with the right partner who shares the vision for the present and future.

Franchisee: McAlister's Deli

Session Speaker
Boomer, Allan

Managing Partner
Momentum Advisors

Allan Boomer is the Founder and Managing Partner of Momentum Advisors, an independent wealth management firm in New York City. The firm provides investment advice to a diverse client base of successful executives, business owners and athletes.   Prior to founding Momentum, Allan spent seven years at Goldman Sachs, where he was a Vice President in the firm's investment management division, and managed $450 million in client assets. Allan began his Wall Street career at Merrill Lynch in 1995, giving him nearly 20 years of financial and business experience. After researching franchising opportunities for more than three years through the Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative (PAFI), he expanded his firm’s capabilities to include advising clients on “active private equity” investments in the franchise industry. He aims to empower athletes to play an active role in the ownership of their own businesses, while also surrounding them with a team of solid operating and financial partners. Allan holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Morgan State University, and a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance, Accounting and Entrepreneurship from the NYU Stern School of Business. He was blessed to attend both universities on full academic scholarships/fellowships.  

Advisory Board & Speaker
Branca, Jr., Robert

President
Branded Management Group, Branded Realty Group

Robert Branca, Jr., is President, General Counsel, and Director of Development for entities including Branded Management Group and Branded Realty Group, doing business in Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, and Florida. He is the Chair of Dunkin’ Donuts Franchise Owners PAC and the Vice Chair of the Washington, D.C.-based Coalition of Franchisee Associations. He and his direct family partners own and operate nearly 80 Dunkin’ Donuts. His extended family, including in-laws, siblings, spouses, children, and cousins, own more than 800 Dunkin’ Donuts and dominate the brand in the Northeastern U.S. Rob and his partners are currently expanding their Dunkin’ Donuts and real estate businesses into the Midwest and also are developing new concepts and have established Worcester Building Systems, a custom manufacturer of stainless steel exhaust hoods, ductwork, and purpose built restaurant equipment. Their real estate development businesses were recently recognized for their significant historic renovation projects and community contributions in Massachusetts. Rob graduated with honors from Boston College and holds a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. Before franchising, he practiced law and specialized in commercial transactions, real estate development, and complex financing arrangements, which introduced him to franchising.

Franchisee: Dunkin' Donuts

Panelist
Cairns, Mark

Director, Franchise Development
Toppers Pizza

Mark Cairns, Director of Franchise Development, is a key individual behind Toppers Pizza brand development and success. He understands the brand’s irreverent personality and has embraced a unique approach to growth. Since joining the Toppers team in January 2012, he has helped grow the brand from its roots in Wisconsin to expand successfully in 11 states throughout the Midwest and nationwide. He joined Toppers with a wealth of franchise experience, and is no stranger to the pizza industry. He was a franchisee with Papa’s Pizza To-Go in Georgia from 1996 to 2001. And long before that, in the early 1990s, he delivered products to the first-ever Toppers Pizza as a supplier. Before joining the eclectic pizza brand, he worked in franchise development for Cousins Subs, and before that spent 7 years as Franchise Development Director at 400-plus-unit Huddle House. His plans for the future are bold: Toppers aims to reach 500 stores by 2020, while maintaining the young-at-heart voice that has made the brand a fan favorite since it was founded. And with a veteran and expert team in place, he’s confident in fulfilling those goals.

Advisory Board & Speaker
Chase, Robert D.

President
Response Marketing

Robert D. Chase, Franchisee of Money Mailer and OrderUp. Robert has built his business to 30 Money Mailer franchises in the Phoenix and Denver metropolitan areas. He operates the largest group of franchises in the Money Mailer system.  Every month his mailers reach 1,530,000 homes. Recognized for his success in turning the Money Mailer franchise into a multi-million dollar business, Chase recently purchased the rights to 15 OrderUp franchise units that span the Phoenix metropolitan market. The partnership with OrderUp marks Chase’s next big move in franchising and underscores his belief in OrderUp’s digital franchise approach. Chase came across OrderUp through his involvement with the Multi-Unit Franchising Group and was immediately impressed with its unique business model. “The digital franchise approach is a fantastic concept, and I’m very proud to bring OrderUp to the Phoenix market,” says Chase.  “OrderUp is carving a new niche in the online food ordering space and we believe we will make it the industry leader in the Phoenix market," Armed with an unyielding work ethic, he and his talented team have not only survived the economic downturn, they have thrived.

 

Franchisee: Money Mailer, OrderUp

Session Speaker
Cresanti, Robert

EVP Government Relations & Public Policy
IFA

Robert Cresanti serves as the Executive Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy at the IFA. Robert joined the IFA from SAP America, Inc., where he served as vice president of Corporate Affairs & Government Relations since 2009. In his public service, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2006 as Under Secretary for Technology for the Department of Commerce, the highest ranking U.S. official charged specifically with representing and advocating for the United States high tech industry globally. He chaired multiple bilateral technology trade missions for the U.S. government in the European Union, Asia and Russia and served as co-chair for the White House PCAST, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. In his nearly decade-long service on Capitol Hill, ranging from Committee Chief of Staff in the Senate, to Legislative Counsel in the House, he handled legislation before the Banking, Judiciary, Commerce, Government Affairs and Finance Committees. Robert received a law degree from Baylor University School of Law, a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Austin College. He also received a certificate of EC Law from the University of Glasgow Law School and completed master’s courses in International Relations from Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Session Speaker
D'Amore, Anthony

Franchisee
MOOYAH Burgers

Anthony D'Amore, President of NATC Donuts Inc, DAMORE BURGERS LLC, and NICELO MANAGEMENT, is an owner and operator of 20 franchise locations in Union and Middlesex County, New Jersey.  He is a second generation operator in the Dunkin’ Brands system for over 48 years, growing up in the business and watching it grow from a small regional chain to a power house player in the QSR industry. He has been involved with the MOOYAH system for three years.  Anthony operates 20 Dunkin' Donut Locations, four Baskin Robbins locations, one Central Kitchen and one MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. His team is currently building 2 new Dunkin' Donut locations and working with franchisees on 8 MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes locations in New Jersey & New York over the next 12-18 months. Nicelo Management holds a real estate portfolio of more than 7 locations controlled and managed by his management team. Anthony graduated with honors and a concentration in Finance from Boston University School of Management. He is an advisor on a local bank board, the Facilities Chair on an independent school board, a member of the Marketing Council for MOOYAH, Burgers, Fries & Shakes and has held various leadership positions within Dunkin’ Donut advisory councils. He is continuously focused on expansion and growth for the future of his organization.

Franchisee: Dunkin' Donuts & Baskin-Robbins, MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes

Session Speaker
Darrow, Zachary

Chairman
DarrowEverett LLP

Zachary Darrow is Chairman and Co- Founder of DarrowEverett LLP, a full service law firm headquartered in Rhode Island. A former real estate executive with several organizations, including a Fortune 100 retailer, he has served as President of Real Estate for a subsidiary exclusively focused on franchisee site selection, development and financing. He has worked extensively with franchisees selling and acquiring networks throughout country and has expertise in all aspects of commercial real estate law, including commercial leasing, acquisitions/sales, development, land use/permitting, lending/equity transactions, sale leaseback transactions, and 1031 exchanges. He represents both regional and national retailers with their legal and business development needs including site acquisition and ground leasing programs. Zachary created the legal structure and documentation for one of Rhode Island’s largest high-end waterfront condominium and resort developments and his clients also include developers, landlords, commercial tenants, lenders, equity participants and various non-real estate based entities.

Session Speaker
Diaz, Eduardo

President
EYM Group, Inc.

Eduardo Diaz is the Founder of EYM Group. He has been operating restaurants in the U.S. since 2008. Eduardo is an executive leader with 25 years of successful international experience, building brands in the US, Mexico and Central America markets. He began his career with McDonald´s where his last position was the North Latin-American President, then he founded EYM Foods to become a Franchisee in Dallas. In 2011, decided to sell the McDonald´s restaurants to transform EYM Group in to a multi-unit/multi-brand restaurant operator. As of 2012, he has been fulfilling his vision to strategically grow with brands that offer quality products, have a re-image program, and are family oriented. Today EYM owns and operates 106 restaurants in the US: 24 Denny’s in Texas & Florida and 82 Burger Kings in Kansas, Missouri, Michigan & Iowa. EYM restaurants employ more than 3,000 team members. Eduardo is also a partner in the master franchise of Baskin-Robbins Mexico, with 28 units and retail business.

 

 

Franchisee: Denny’s, Burger King, Baskin-Robbins

Session Speaker
Doty, David

Multi-Unit Franchisee
Black Bear Diner

Brought on to reorganize a failed chain of Jerry’s Restaurants, David Doty created SunWest Restaurant Concepts in 1993. He identified a new concept thriving in one of his closed locations in Mt. Shasta, California. With his chain in dire need of rebranding, David negotiated a licensing agreement to convert Jerry’s into Black Bear Diners. This early partnership evolved into Black Bear Diners, Inc., now franchised in eight western states with 67 corporate and franchised locations. As the fastest growing family dining chain, David is kept busy as the Chief Marketing Officer as well as continuing as SunWest CEO, which owns and operates six Black Bear Diners and four retooled Jerry’s Restaurants. In 2009, SunWest expanded its operation signing a 30-unit development agreement with Smashburger for the Greater Phoenix market. SunWest successfully opened 14 locations in four years while being awarded each of those years as an outstanding franchisee. SunWest sold the Phoenix operations back to Smashburger Corporate in 2014. 

Franchisee: Black Bear Diner

Panelist
Draper II, John

CEO
Viridian Group

John Draper is a superior operator with over 15 years of retail and food management experience. John has had tremendous success managing multiple brands (Burger King, Pizza Hut, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Haagen Dazs, Coffee Beanery, Wingstop and Pie Five). He is a skilled people person with a knack for putting others at ease while motivating them to improve sales numbers. John leads the day-to-day charge with energy and enthusiasm that cast a positive leadership shadow. His level of experience in the urban environment has cemented a market niche comparable to few. John's passion for business started early in a nurturing family business at the age of 9. His experience continued at Clark Atlanta University where he earned a B. A. in Finance and Accounting. Among his accomplishments are his involvement in investment and entrepreneurial ventures, primarily focused in the food industry. John's business experience is many years his senior. 

Franchisee: Burger King, Auntie Anne's, Haagen Dazs, Coffee Beanery, Wingstop

Advisory Board & Speaker
Fiorentino, Rocco

President & CEO
Benetrends Financial

Rocco Fiorentino is President and CEO of Benetrends Financial. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Swiss Farms Stores and Saxbys Coffee. Previously, he was CEO of United Financial Services Group, a financial services franchisor with nearly 200 locations nationwide; President and CEO of Freedom Rings LLC, an area developer and multi-unit franchisee of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts; and President of Specialty Bakeries, Inc., a subsidiary of New World Restaurant Group, franchisor of Manhattan Bagel, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Chesapeake Bagels, New World Coffee, and Willoughby’s Coffee. He serves on the board of the International Franchise Association and has previously chaired the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference. He is the Founder and Chair of The Little Rock Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children and young adults who are visually impaired and blind, and is currently Pennsylvania District Governor of Unico National, a nonprofit organization dedicated to children with developmental disabilities.

Facilitator
Fisher, Lane

Partner
Fisher Zucker

Since 1989, Lane Fisher has represented franchisors in business transactions and complex litigation in trademark and copyright infringement, franchise development, and regulatory issues. He litigates the enforcement of franchise agreement obligations on behalf of franchisors, including non-competition covenants, collections, under-reporting, and encroachment claims. Lane is a Founding Partner of FisherZucker LLC, a national practice dedicated to franchising. FisherZucker’s attorneys have extensive experience in commercial litigation, arbitration and mediation, and represent more than 75 franchise systems. Lane holds a BBA in finance and an MBA in international business from George Washington University. He is a frequent speaker at franchise conferences, has appeared on CBS, CN8 and CNN, and has been identified as a Super Lawyer and Franchise Legal Eagle by his peers since 2004. Lane has been a member of IFA’s Board of Directors and chaired its Membership Committee since 2006.

 

Session Speaker
Fletcher, Cheryl

VP, Strategic Development and Finance
Popeyes Louisana Kitchen

Cheryl Fletcher is Vice President, Development Strategic Planning for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen as the head of the franchise recruiting team, franchise development administration, strategic market planning and site modeling program.  Cheryl has been with the Popeyes brand for 15 years.  Prior to joining the Development Team in 2011, she was the Director of Investor Relations.  She graduated with an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and an MS from University of Arizona.   She lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two sons. 

Session Speaker
Francis, John

Franchisee
PostNet

As a former multi-unit owner and area developer, John Francis understands what it takes to thrive as a multi-unit franchise owner.  His career began in the 1980’s, when he was a multi-unit owner for his family’s franchise system, Cost Cutters. John then served as a multi-unit owner and area developer for the PostNet franchise, which chose John as their Franchisee of the Year in 2008.  Today, John serves as a consultant, strategic advisor and keynote speaker who helps franchise organizations “see what they don’t see” and achieve their highest levels of success. Some of the organizations he works with include, The International Franchise Association, Sports Clips, Office Pride and Seva Beauty. 

Franchisee: PostNet

Panelist
Goldman, Yaron

Owner
Southern Deli Holdings

Yaron Goldman is the CEO of SD Holdings LLC. The company is a franchisee of both McAlister’s Deli and MOD Pizza. They own and operate over 50 McAlister’s in five states with 1,500 employees and have 20 new units in development. As MOD’s exclusive franchise partner in North Carolina, they’re actively developing several locations across the state – with at least 3 new units to open in 2015. Goldman started his career in 1996 as an hourly employee with McAlister’s Deli before opening his first franchise location in 1999 in Charlotte, N.C. He earned his Bachelor’s of Science at the University of Alabama and his MBA from the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

 

Franchisee: MOD Pizza, McAllister's Deli

Session Speaker
Goldstein, Seth

Multi-Unit Franchisee
Dunkin' Brands

Seth Goldstein is a franchisee of Dunkin Brands and Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs within the New York market. He also serves as the chairman of the New York Dunkin' Donuts advertising and marketing committee, representing over 1700 locations. Seth serves on the Dunkin' Brands product innovation team and has successfully helped create and launch several new products. He also participates on the national, regional and local Dunkin' advisory councils. Seth has been a franchisee with Dunkin' Brands for over 31 years, and currently owns and operates 13 locations. He has spoke at NYU Stern School of Business and has participated in various local and national business forums and is also a member of the International Franchise Association and the International Council of Shopping Centers. He has appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC, WPIX, FOX News and is a CNBC contributor. Seth has a BA from the city University of New York, Queens College. 

Franchisee: Dunkin' Brands, Nathan's Famous

Panelist
Graham, Matt

Chief Marketing Officer
Jiffy Lube

Matt Graham is the CMO for Broadbase; an award winning Jiffy Lube franchisee in the Greater Sacramento and Central Valley areas of California. An early adopter of interactive, digital and mobile marketing, Matt continues to press the reset button on traditional marketing practices within the automotive aftermarket industry.  Results focused, Matt most recently executed marketing plans leading to four consecutive years of steady growth in customer counts and net sales during difficult business environments. As a serial connector, Matt facilitated a local media buying coop to compete against national companies by seeking solutions through partnerships with local businesses in order to benefit the group as a whole. Partnering with non-profit organizations to gain awareness and support for their causes, Matt was on the forefront as a leader in the grass roots movement to save the NBA’s Sacramento Kings basketball team from leaving town. His initial involvement of Jiffy Lube via social media and digital billboards led the charge to bring the story to the masses. News articles and best practice case studies in the Wall Street Journal, Sacramento Bee, Clear Channel Outdoor and many other media outlets followed, changing the landscape of digital marketing in the Sacramento market and beyond. The grass roots story is part of an ESPN "30 for 30" documentary coming in the Spring of 2015. A twelve year veteran of the Jiffy Lube system, Matt has served on the JLAF Fleet Committee and currently resides on the JLAF Marketing Committee, previously acting as Committee Chairman, the only non franchisee owner to hold the position in its 30 year history. A graduate from the University of Washington; Matt can be found on Twitter @_MattGraham.

Franchisee: Jiffy Lube

Session Speaker
Greene, Peter

Franchisee
Which Wich

Peter Greene is the Which Wich franchisee in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona. Peter and his team opened 5 locations in 18 months. He has been part of the Which Wich brand since 2012, and was the one who pioneered Which Wich's delivery system. Prior to being a Which Wich franchisee, Peter was Vice President of Development for Murphy Oil. Murphy is a global oil company operating 1,100 gasoline and convenience store locations in the US. Before working for Murphy Oil, Peter held several positions within TravelCenters of America (TA), the country’s largest full service truck stop and travel center chain. At TA, Peter played a significant role in facilitating the company’s growth during his 12-year tenure. He played a significant role in developing the food division of the company. TA operated multiple QSR brands (225 locations) (Burger King, Subway, Popeyes, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Starbucks, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Blimpie, and Quiznos). 

Advisory Board & Speaker
Hall, William G.

CEO
Treats Investments

Bill Hall has had a career of more than 30 years as an entrepreneur and investor. He is a CPA, has an accounting degree from the University of Texas, and began his career with the national public accounting firm Ernst & Young. Bill has been a multi-unit franchisee of Dairy Queen, Church’s Chicken, and Mr. Jim’s Pizza with more than 80 units at one time. Currently, he owns five Dairy Queen units. In addition to his franchisee experience, he has owned and operated community banks in Texas, independent restaurant concepts, a nationwide transportation company, and real estate investments. Bill has served multiple terms as President of the Texas Dairy Queen Operators’ Council, representing more than 800 Dairy Queen Restaurants in Texas. He is a CFE, Past Chair of the Franchisee Forum of the IFA, a member of the IFA Board of Directors, serves as the Co-Chair of the National Franchise Mediation Program, and is a member of the Small Business Advisory Council to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Bill is active in his Fort Worth, Texas community where he lives with his wife of 28 years and their four children.

Franchisee: Dairy Queen

Session Speaker
Harrison, David

Multi-Unit Franchisee
Rental Concepts, LLC

David is co-owner of Rental Concepts, LLC, a multi-unit franchisee for RNR Tire Express and Custom Wheels, headquartered in Tampa, FL. David and his partner launched their first RNR store in 2005 and today they have 15 open across southern Missouri, Arkansas and northern Louisiana with another three-to-five forecasted to open in 2015. Before RNR, he was VP for an electronics and appliance wholesaler. David points to the opportunities to grow their RNR business with additional services, management’s willingness to experiment and collaborate with franchisees, and the ability to share ideas with other owners as reasons for his strong validation for the company. David considers his strengths to include managing and motivating people, sharing ideas and earning buy-in, and providing a vision for the company. He volunteers and supports several ministries. David and his wife, Sheila, live in Bryant, AR, and have two grown daughters and five active grandchildren.

Session Speaker
Hitzelberger, Paul

Multi-Unit Franchisee
Utah Del Taco

Paul Hitzelberger began his career with Jewel Companies, Chicago, in accounting, corporate and field operations. He went on to Executive Marketing positions at General Mills and Lucky Stores before landing at Del Taco as Executive Vice President Marketing in 1986. He developed Del Tacos’ brand and strengthened the image/design of the chain’s look and led the menu development and marketing that generated 16 years of consecutive same store sales increases. In 1996, Paul became Del Taco’s Executive Vice President of Franchise Development/Relations. Currently,  Paul relies on his extensive experience in operations, marketing , and finance along with his positive, can-do, consistent, people-oriented style to operate 26 Del Tacos in Utah. Two more restaurants are under development. Paul has opened 8 Del Taco restaurants in the last couple of years, remodeled 18 restaurants in 2013 and is the largest franchisee in the Del Taco system. He is also a member of Del Taco’s Marketing and Design Advisory Team. In 2014 Hitzelberger was honored by the Utah National Guard with the Bronze Minuteman for his service to the military and business community.  He was also recognized with the 2014 MVP Spirit of Franchising Award by the Multi Unit Franchisee Board. 

Franchisee: Del Taco

Session Speaker
Johnson, Darrell

CEO
FRANdata

As CEO of FRANdata since 2001, Darrell Johnson oversees the strategic direction of the only research and consulting firm in the nation that focuses exclusively on tracking and analyzing the franchise market. Leveraging his extensive industry and financial experience, he has grown the company’s capital access and franchise intelligence suite of solutions to what it is today. Before FRANdata, he was part of National Cooperative Bank’s executive team, where he managed investment, conventional, and SBA lending teams. His career spans information services, commercial banking, investment banking, and federal financial regulation. He is a CFE and is a member of the IFA’s Board of Directors and Education Foundation Advisory Board. He is a nationally recognized authority on franchising in the U.S. and a frequent speaker and contributing columnist on franchising economics and trends. He is often cited as a franchise subject matter expert in such leading media as; The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.

Session Speaker
Joyal, Gary

Founder
Joyal Capital Management

Gary, founder of Joyal Capital Management, LLC, has been a leading financial advisor for nearly thirty years. JCM provides sophisticated estate and asset preservation solutions for high-net-worth individuals and corporations with over $6 billion of assets in trust and 500 private client group members. JCM Franchise Development, LLC, formed in 2006 with Gary as Managing Member, provides value-added services on complex strategic decisions including M&A, buyouts, alliances, debt placement, and restructuring. JCM Franchise accomplishments include over $500 million in mergers and acquisitions representing 2000 franchise locations and recognition with a Franchise Times 2014 Top Dealmaker Award. Gary is also Managing Partner of JCM Finance, LLC and JCM Opportunity Fund I, LLC. Since inception, JCM Finance has placed over $500 million in client-specific debt. The Fund focuses on private investments in QSR and commercial real estate with over $30 million of equity under management and investments worth over $100 million — all achieved in the first six months since launching in 2014. In 2008, Gary founded Joyal Capital Management Foundation, Inc., helping thousands of children nationally through its “$100 for 100” interactive giving program.

Session Speaker
Kartarik, Mark

President
Sport Clips, Inc.

Mark Kartarik was named President of Sport Clips in August 2014 after a long, established career as a top executive with Regis Corporation. For more than 20 years, Mark saw Regis through its major global expansion, most recently serving as Executive Vice President.  Mark also served as President of Regis’ Franchise Division for the Supercuts, Cost Cutter, ProCuts, First Choice Haircutter, Magicuts, City Looks and We Care Hair brands.

 

Advisory Board & Speaker
Knobelock, Michael

Owner
MSK Enterprises

At age 23, Mike Knobelock invested $10,000 to reopen a closed convenience store and made it profitable for the next six years. In 1991, he sold his store and invested in a Church’s Chicken franchise. His business grew steadily to 47 stores over the next 20 years, making him the fourth-largest franchisee in the system. In 2003, he opened his first Little Caesars Pizza. Today he owns 73  stores in total, that operate in 7 states; Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia. In 2011, he opened his first full-service steak and seafood restaurant in Fulshear, Texas, where it proved to be an instant success in that affluent community. Mike is President of the 100-store Houston Church’s Chicken Marketing Co-op. From 2001 to 2004, he was elected Treasurer of the Church’s Independent Franchise Association (CIFA), and from 2005 to 2008 was elected President. He remains an active board member of CIFA, which represents 1,200 franchise stores. In 2011, Mike received 26 President Awards from the Church’s Chicken system for Excellence in Store Brand and Cleanliness.

Franchisee: Church's Chicken, Little Caesars

Advisory Board & Speaker
Kulp, Michael

President & CEO
KBP Foods

For more than a decade, Michael Kulp’s passion for creating a great place to work, a great place to eat, and a great place to own has provided unique opportunities for those at KBP Foods. Under his direction, KBP has grown from $7 million to $260 million in annual revenue over a 12-year period and is ranked among the 10 fastest-growing restaurant companies in the country, with two brands and 230 units in 10 states. In addition to being President/CEO at KBP, Michael serves on the national KFC advisory board, is the chair of the national operations subcommittee, and sits on the national marketing committee. He also serves on a franchise advisory board to Yum! Brands, in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers, and is a member of the board of directors at Fresh Alternatives, a holding company that owns and operates fast casual restaurants in Florida. Michael holds bachelor’s degrees in business administration and marketing from the University of Colorado and Colorado Mesa University, and also played collegiate-level athletics. Michael and his wife Stephanie are proud parents of three children and have dedicated their time and talent to many philanthropic efforts in their hometown of Kansas City, such as the First Downs for Down Syndrome organization and the Truman Medical Health and Wellness Center.

Franchisee: KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's

Panelist
Lafreeda, Dawn

CEO and President
Den-Tex Central Inc.

Dawn Lafreeda is CEO and President of Den-Tex Central. Her business has grown from her first franchised unit, purchased when she was just 23, to 72 units today. She started working as a Denny’s hostess when she was 16, and then took a job at a software company where she learned accounting, payroll, and the business skills needed to pursue her dream of self-employment. She and a partner bought their first restaurant, a Hobo Joe’s (part of the Denny’s chain at the time), using credit cards and small loans. Then, in just 18 months, they purchased four distressed Denny’s in West Texas. Thirteen stores later, she bought out her partner and continued to grow her company to 72 units across 7 states. Dawn also serves as Treasurer of the Board of the Denny’s Franchisee Association and sits on the Development Brand Advisory Council for Denny’s, Inc. 

Franchisee: Denny's

Session Speaker
Lindsey, Pete

VP Franchising
Sport Clips

Pete Lindsey is Vice President of Franchising at Sport Clips. His 19 years in the franchise business includes National Sales Manager for Franchise Development at MBE, a UPS Company (The UPS Store), National Operations Manager at MBE, and Executive Director of Franchise Relations for MBE, where he was responsible for informal dispute resolution, renewals, transfers, customer service, and insurance compliance. He was also part of the team that offered The UPS Store to MBE franchisees, which culminated in one of the largest rebranding initiatives in history.

Session Speaker
Little, April

Vice President, Investments
Spirit Realty Capital

April Little joined Spirit Realty Capital in May 2007 and has served in various capacities in the company. Currently she serves as Vice President, Investments and is responsible for sourcing, marketing, analyzing and overseeing the acquisition of new investment real estate opportunities.  Recognized as a leader in the net lease space, April is able to bring a broad range of financial services to her to clients and service the growing demand for efficient net lease capital solutions among middle market companies.  Prior to joining Spirit, April held roles in finance and real estate at Sprint Funding Corporation, a privately held mortgage company, Conseco Finance Corporation, a publicly held finance company and Norwest Finance Corp.  She holds a BA in Economics from Southern Illinois University.

Advisory Board & Speaker
Lutfi, Tony

President & CEO
Marlu Investment Group

Tony Lutfi, CEO and president of MarLu Investment Group with a portfolio of  independently funded companies operating more than 200 locations of various brands in several states.  The brands include Arby’s, Church’s Chickens, Sizzlers, Jack in the Box, TGI Fridays,  Little Caesars, Captain D's, local taquerias, and Sears Outlets, Appliance & Hardware stores. Tony started his career at age 17 as a cook at Jack in the Box while attending a local college in Northern California. After a quick ascent to management and finding success with Jack in the Box, he pursued other opportunities with Rax and Arby’s in the '80s, ultimately becoming a director of operations for a large franchisee. He became an Arby’s and a Long John Silver franchisee in the early '90s with five restaurants in Northern California. His investment company is now one of the largest privately held companies in the US. Tony works tirelessly to grow his organization, with a passion for his customers and a desire to provide more opportunities for the loyal employees who have supported him through the years. He also serves on various franchise boards, associations and committees.

Franchisee: Arby's, Church's Chicken, Jack in the Box, TGI Fridays, Little Caesars, Captain D's, Sears Outlets & Appliance Stores, Sizzler

Session Speaker
Martinez, David

Franchisee
Russo's Restaurants

David Martinez has been a Russo’s franchisee since 2008. Now a multi-unit operator with three units and a fourth in progress, he owns two Russo’s New York Pizzerias in McAllen, Texas and a Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen in Corpus Christi, Texas. In addition to Russo’s, David owns and operates two other brands, Lean Fitness Centers and Lean Nutrition. First attracted to Russo’s for its high quality menu items, which David says surpasses any other Italian fast casual, or casual dining concept, his Italian mother gave him the Sicilian stamp of approval before he invested in the brand. In addition to the menu and the unique experience Russo’s offers, David is a firm believer in the concept’s proven processes and systems. Overall, David is a hands-on owner who enjoys being in the restaurants as much as possible. In the past, David has owned a chain of Ben & Jerry’s stores, bookstores and video stores.

 

Franchisee: Lean Fitness Centers, Lean Nutrition, Russo's Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen

Session Speaker
McConnell, Sean

Chief Legal Officer & VP of HR
Modern Business Associates

Sean McConnell serves as the Chief Legal Officer and Vice President of Human Resources for Modern Business Associates.  A practiced litigator, Sean routinely advises clients on complex labor and employment matters including, but not limited to, risk management and worker’s compensation compliance, discrimination and harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, breach of contract, non-compete agreements, wage and hour, child labor, union matters, unemployment compensation and defamation. Sean received a Bachelor of Arts degree and his J.D. degree, with honors, from the University of Florida. He is admitted to practice in the State of Florida, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Sean serves on the National Association of Professional Employers Association’s (NAPEO) Government Affairs Committee and Legal Advisory Council, and is a Director with the Florida Association of Professional Employer Organizations (FAPEO). Prior to joining MBA in 2005, Sean practiced labor and employment law in Tampa, where he represented private and public sector employers. Before attending law school, he served in the U.S. Navy onboard the Aircraft Carrier USS America (CV66) for four years and was decorated for his service during the Gulf War.

 

Advisory Board & Speaker
Metz, John

President
RREMC Restaurants, LLC

John Metz is currently a franchisee of Denny’s, Dairy Queen, Hurricane Grill & Wings, and Marriott. RREMC Restaurants, LLC, and Hurricane AMT, LLC, currently have 40 operating restaurants in Florida, Georgia, and Virginia, with more than 1,250 employees and one new restaurant under construction. As franchisor of Hurricane Grill & Wings, the company currently has 65 open units (56 franchised and 9 corporate), with 15 to be open by year-end. His Hospitality Investment Advisors, Inc. has previously owned, operated and developed five hotels in South Florida.  The hotel group currently has two Residence Inns under construction, one in Pompano Beach and one in Oakland Park. His real estate holdings include more than 40 single-tenant retail properties, including restaurants, banks, financial services, and general retail. Previously, he was president of Roadhouse Grill, McFadden Metz Restaurants Inc., and Continuum Courtyards LLC.  He graduated from Cornell University with a BS from the School of Hotel Administration and an MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell.  He also is a licensed general contractor and real estate salesperson.

Franchisee: Denny's, Dairy Queen, Hurricane Grill & Wings, Marriott

Session Speaker
Mueller Jr., Glenn

Chief Financial Officer
RPM Pizza

Glenn A. Mueller Jr., known as “G2,” is the Chief Financial Officer of RPM Pizza, the largest domestic franchise of Domino’s Pizza. He currently oversees store operations, the resource center, and training & information technology. He is primarily focused on individual store performance and on designing processes and programs that empower each operating partner to perform to his or her potential. G2’s first true experience watching motivated people work together to accomplish amazing results happened at the first home football game he attended while at the University of Miami. His Hurricanes rallied from 23 points down to overcome the Gators in a last-minute victory! A junior year internship with Domino’s Pizza Enterprises gave G2 his first taste working for Domino’s Pizza. After college, G2 joined Morgan Stanley, settling trades and recouping cash from distressed clients. He later joined Blue Mountain Capital Management, working on a team that managed several billion dollars in loan exposure. He also spent two nights per week as a Domino's CSR, and eventually accepted a job with RPM Pizza in New Orleans, where he cut his teeth in the marketing department and implemented measures that allow local store marketing to be robust, efficient and localized. G2 will oversee the acquisition and transition of the newly acquired stores in Indiana. He resides in New Orleans off of Magazine Street, and enjoys a short walk to the Bulldog!

Session Speaker
Murray, Dave

Senior Customer Experience Consultant
The DiJulius Group

A former client of The DiJulius Group, Dave Murray has been working with the X-Commandments to Providing a World-Class Experience since the debut of "What's The Secret" in 2008. Dave has 20 years of experience in customer service, marketing and sales, primarily in the sports and entertainment industry. His experience has varied from leading call centers and front-line team members, to working closely with key partners and stakeholders. Dave has been personally trained on the X Commandments trademarked methodology by John DiJulius and uses this methodology regularly with The DiJulius Group's consulting clients. As a Senior Customer Experience Consultant with The DiJulius Group, Dave leads clients in generating ideas, turning those ideas into systems and then implementing and executing them enterprise wide. He is also an accomplished keynote speaker full of insight and wit; leaving audiences motivated, entertained and walking away with great content to implement immediately.

Session Speaker
Panos, Pierre

Founder & CEO
QS America, LLC

Pierre Panos, a South African native of Greek descent, is an entrepreneur and restaurateur who has founded three restaurant concepts and owned four different businesses. During his career, he learned the key to successful restaurant operation: differentiate yourself from the outset by creating something unique. In 1988, at 24, he and his brother developed a fast food mobile vending concept that won the Small Business Development Award for South Africa. A CPA by training, after selling the concept for a profit, he worked as a manager at Coopers & Lybrand, the second largest financial services and audit corporation in the world at the time. A few years later, he developed and operated a full-service, casual dining restaurant, Late Nite Al’s, before making the move to the U.S. Shortly after arriving in Atlanta in 1993, he became CFO and co-owner of Brookwood Grill, overseeing the operations of four stores with combined sales exceeding $16 million. He went on to found Stoney River Legendary Steaks in 1996, and later Brookstone Management, which he sold to Nashville based O’Charley’s in 2000. He also established QS America, a $59 million company, parenting 42 Papa John’s franchises, Brookwood Grill, Brookwood Catering, and eventually, Fresh To Order. 

Franchisee: Papa Johns, Brookwood Grill, Brookwood Catering, Fresh to Order

Session Speaker
Paris, David

Partner
Paris Ackerman & Schmierer LLP

David Paris is a partner with the law firm of Paris Ackerman & Schmierer LLP, a law firm focusing on franchise transactions and litigation. David concentrates his national practice on multi-unit mergers and acquisitions and franchise finance. David's client roster includes some of the largest and most influential multi-unit operators across the United States. He has been recognized by the Franchise Times as one of the top lawyers in franchising for eight consecutive years. In 2015, David and his firm were recognized as Franchise Times Deal Makers for closing over $100 Million Dollars in multi-unit transactions.

Advisory Board & Speaker
Perales, Guillermo

President & CEO
Sun Holdings Inc.

Sun Holdings Inc. was founded by Guillermo Perales, President and CEO, in 1997 and to date manages more than 400 units, which provide more than 12,000 jobs. In 2012, the company was ranked among the top 10 in the Restaurant Finance Monitor and the top 20 in the Hispanic Business 500. Guillermo is the largest Latino restaurant franchisee in the U.S. and now operates 96 Popeyes franchises, making him the second-largest Popeyes franchisee in the country. He also operates 22 Golden Corrals, 45 CiCi’s, 8 Krispy Kremes, 46 Arby’s restaurants, 190 Burger Kings, and 40 T-Mobile stores. He is ranked as the largest Golden Corral and CiCi’s franchisee and the fourth-largest Burger King franchisee. Complementing his many awards, Guillermo has been featured numerous times in Latino Leaders magazine’s list of the 101 most influential Latinos in the U.S. He has also been recognized by Ernst & Young through its 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year award, and was honored with the International Business Achievement Award for his commitment to promoting the North Texas region and expanding international ties. Most recently, he became President of the International Hispanic Franchisee Association (IHFA). Guillermo’s strong commitment to community prompted the co-founding of the Latin American/DFW Fund to raise money for Latino-based programs and initiatives that support education and provide incentives for Latino students to stay in school, a cause Guillermo believes is crucial.

Franchisee: Burger King, CiCi's, Krispy Kreme, Popeyes, Golden Corral, Arby's, T-Mobile

Session Speaker
Rather, Susan

Franchisee
BrightStar Care

Susan Rather is the co-owner of several BrightStar Care franchises in Wisconsin, with her husband Jeff Tews. They recently helped open a high acuity neighborhood style Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Madison, a new BrightStar franchised offering (BrightStar Senior Living). Her role in both organizations is developing team members that share her passion for helping families by providing great care and service to their clients, hiring compassionate staff and ensuring they have the resources necessary to do their work. Prior to her work in the senior care environment, Susan was a Medical Technologist. She worked 25+ years in various medical laboratory settings, with expertise in personnel management, regulatory compliance and process improvement. Susan earned her BS in Medical Technology from University Wisconsin – Eau Claire, and a Master of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma.

Franchisee: BrightStar Care

Advisory Board & Speaker
Robins, Gary

President
G&C Robins Co.

Gary Robins currently owns and operates 45 Supercuts hair salons throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Previously, he was a serial entrepreneur, owning and operating businesses in retail, entertainment, food service, and the travel industry. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Supercuts Franchisee Association and the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Franchisee Associations, and is former President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Entrepreneurs' Organization. Gary earned a BS from Drexel University in 1985. He is married with three children: Lauren, Evan, and Will. He and his wife Chris reside in Westtown, Pennsylvania.

Franchisee: Supercuts

Panelist
Russell, John

President
Wireless Zone

John Russell, multi-unit franchisee with Wireless Zone, owns 22 locations and plans to reach 35-40 stores in total. John has both built stores from the ground up and also acquired underperforming units, that he turned around. John started with Wireless Zone when he was 19, as a manager before being promoted to district manager. When he realized he could start his own business in his hometown in Central Pennsylvania, he became an independent Verizon agent and opened Russell Wireless in 2008. With additional locations and fast success, John began buying out existing Wireless Zone locations and converted his three Russell Wireless stores. John owns stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Franchisee: Wireless Zone

Session Speaker
Salkowski, Robert

Partner
Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito

Robert F. Salkowski is a partner with the law firm of Zarco, Einhorn, Salkowski & Brito, P.A., located in Miami, Florida. Robert has practiced franchise, dealership and hospitality law for over 20 years, and regularly represents franchisees, automobile dealers and hotel owners throughout the United States and abroad. Robert also frequently lectures about franchise and distribution matters, has authored numerous articles on these subjects in industry and legal publications, and has received numerous awards and recognitions from national publications, including The Best Lawyers in America for Franchise Law.

Session Speaker
Sawyer, Debra

Franchisee
Sport Clips, Inc.

Debra Sawyer is the President of DASJ, Inc. in Virginia. She has been a franchisee of Sport Clips for 9 years with 12 stores operating in Virginia and Florida with over 100 employees. She was elected by Sport Clips franchisees to represent the East region on the Team Leader Advisory Council for the last two years. In addition, Debra serves on the Sport Clips Relief Fund committee which grants financial assistance to team members in need. Prior to Sport Clips, Debra spent over 10 years advising business owners on income tax and estate planning issues as a CPA and a CFP® professional. She left practice to raise her children and spent over 10 years writing financial planning textbooks and teaching classes across the country. 

Franchisee: Sport Clips

Session Speaker
Schier, TJ

President
SMART Restaurant Group

TJ Schier heads up the largest Which Wich Superior Sandwiches franchise group and is a well-known industry speaker, consultant and author. His group tests and utilizes cutting-edge hiring, training, service and incentive systems to determine the most effective way to improve the employee and guest experience and grow the business. SMART Restaurant Group has won awards from QSR magazine and the National Restaurant Association for its unique training programs and was the 2010 Which Wich Franchisee of the Year. Schier has authored numerous books, including his recent SMART Restaurant Guide series, as well as Send Flowers to the Living! Rewards, Contests and Incentives to Build Employee Loyalty. Dubbed "The Tactician," Schier is a highly rated speaker who speaks dozens of times per year to franchisees and managers of restaurants, retail and service businesses to help them implement effective customer/guest service programs, as well as build a team of top performers. Prior to starting his group, he was a long-time industry consultant and former VP of Field Support for Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Franchisee: Which Wich

Session Speaker
Sheley, Doug

Franchisee
Fresh to Order

Doug Sheley has spent more than 40 years in the restaurant industry.  After leading franchises across the South and serving leadership roles with other brands, his newest venture is franchisee of “fast fine” restaurant Fresh To Order.  He recently opened a Greenville, SC location and plans two additional Charlotte-area restaurants. Doug began his career as President and CEO of Wendy’s in Knoxville, TN. His time with Wendy’s led him to start D’Lites of America, where he grew the brand to more than 100 units. In 1996, Doug became a successful Steak ‘n Shake franchisee and one of his restaurants became the highest grossing for the entire chain. Developing leadership teams, establishing operational infrastructures and positioning business to grow have proven successful for Doug.  His experience has led him to identify Fresh To Order’s fine dining quality food with the fast-casual model as the next area of opportunity in the restaurant business.

 

Franchisee: Fresh to Order

Session Speaker
Shriver, Michelle

Franchisee
Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Michelle and her husband, Kriss, own six Tropical Smoothie Café locations — three in Nevada and three in Colorado — and are the Area Developers for Tropical Smoothie Café in the state of Colorado, with the rights to develop at least 25 cafés there in the next 10 years. Michelle brings more than 20 years of business, marketing and hospitality experience to her franchise businesses, including holding executive-level marketing positions and then running several multi-million dollar casino resort properties. Michelle has a passion for people that spills over in being active in her local communities. Through their cafes, she and her husband have supported financially and through volunteerism the local elementary, middle and high schools around their cafés, as well as various charities benefitting cancer patients and research. Along with the entire Tropical Smoothie Café brand, they raise money annually for Camp Sunshine, a camp for critically ill children and their families.

Franchisee: Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Session Speaker
Silva, Rick

President & CEO
Checkers & Rally's Restaurants, Inc.

Rick Silva joined Checkers & Rally’s Restaurants, Inc., as President & CEO in February of 2007 and was appointed Vice Chairman of its Board of Directors in 2009. Since joining the company, Rick has led a comprehensive restructuring and expansion of the business. He recruited industry-leading talent to the management team, led the development of a new brand strategy, and directed the implementation of best-in-class operating and performance management systems. Under his leadership, not only are the restaurants delivering faster speed of service and higher guest satisfaction, they are also generating more revenue and profits, with more than four straight years of consecutive comp sales increases. Before joining Checkers & Rally’s, Rick held leadership positions at Burger King Corporation, including Senior Vice President of Franchise Operations, for more than 13 years. Throughout his career, he has earned a reputation for bringing energy, vision and endless dedication to his work, and was featured on the CBS hit show Undercover Boss, where, as “Alex Garcia,” a Checkers trainee, he went undercover to find additional ways to improve and grow the Checkers business. Rick earned his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and is a licensed attorney in the State of Florida. In 2014, Nation’s Restaurant News named him to their “10 Restaurant Executives to Watch” list.

 

 

Advisory Board & Speaker
Simon, Grant

CEO
LSGF Management

Grant Simon started in franchising with a single Great Clips in 1993. Today his company LSGF Management’s portfolio includes 3 franchise concepts in 70 locations though-out the southeast employing over 500 people. Grant is one of the largest Great Clips franchisees in the nation operating 39 salons in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. He became a Smoothie King franchisee in 2009. In 2012, Grant expanded again and opened his first T-Mobile store in Atlanta. Through mergers, acquisitions, and store openings he has quickly grown to over 33 T-Mobile locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee operating under the name Spark Wireless. They were recently recognized as the 2014 Southeast Branded Partner of the Year. Grant graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in finance. 

 

Franchisee: Great Clips, T-Mobile, Smoothie King

Panelist
Smith, Spencer

President & CEO
Smith Group

Spencer Smith founded Smith Group in May 2000 with the purchase of his first franchise, Big O Tires in Cortez, CO.  His desire for multi-unit ownership and to create many careers led him to acquire the rights for six Aaron’s franchises in December 2002.  His initial goal was to open 10-15 stores in the same number of years. Spencer quickly led his team to exceed that goal by opening their 40th location in less than 10 years! Smith Group develops real estate for many of their locations throughout eight western states.  This interest in development led Spencer to co-found “First Capital Commercial”, a correspondent commercial lender.  With 40 Aaron’s, two Big O Tires and one Rimco franchise currently in operation, they are planning for many years of growth.  Previously honored as a Multi-Unit Franchisee MVP in 2013, Spencer has also been featured and quoted in Multi Unit Franchisee and Franchise Times magazines.  As CEO and President of Smith Group, he looks forward to growing revenue, driving profitability and further developing his management team to capitalize on future growth opportunities.  Spencer’s involvement with his church, Boy Scouts of America, Child Advocacy Center and other civic organizations helps bring balance to his business and family, as a husband and father of five children.

 

Franchisee: Aaron's and Big O' Tires

Session Speaker
Spongberg, Roland

President & CEO
WKS Restaurant Group

Roland Spongberg founded WKS Restaurant Group and became a franchisee of El Pollo Loco, Inc. in 1987. Over the past 26 years WKS Restaurant Group, which began with 1 restaurant, has grown to be the largest franchisee of El Pollo Loco, operating 59 restaurants in 3 states. WKS Restaurant Group is also the largest franchisee of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, operating 21 restaurants in 3 states.  Denny’s and Corner Bakery Café franchise restaurants round out the portfolio taking WKS Restaurant Group to a total of 107 restaurants in seven states, employing over 3000 people corporate wide. Roland has been honored by the International Franchise Association as Franchisee of the Year, has been given the Denny’s A+ Achievement Award for “[His] Leadership in Achieving Excellence,” and  was presented with the El Pollo Loco Heritage Award. Roland serves on the El Pollo Loco Charities Board and also serves on the Long Beach Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Roland lives in Long Beach, California with his wife Sandee. Roland and Sandee have been married for 40 years and have six children and twelve grandchildren.

Franchisee: Denny's, Krispy Kreme, El Pollo Loco and Corner Bakery

Session Speaker
Stone, Michael

Founder & Executive Director
Professional Athletes Franchise Initiative

Michael Stone is the Founder and Executive Director of the Professional Athlete Franchise Initiative (PAFI) and Founder / Chief Executive Officer of Coliseum Enterprises. Michael is a former NFL athlete turned entrepreneur. During his 7 years in the NFL, Michael played for the New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Houston Texans and New York Giants. Upon retirement, he founded the premier private membership organization for professional athletes with a goal of leveraging the combined buying power of the group to structure strategic relationships with product and service providers. Michael's ability to reach professional athletes coupled with his ability to identify business opportunities, has allowed him to bring a new way of thinking to the athlete community. After multiple years of experience developing and managing athlete/vendor relationships Michael located an opportunity to create a bridge between the professional athlete and franchisor communities. With the support of the International Franchise Association, Michael has developed the PAFI as the premier source of education and interaction for professional athletes interested in franchising. PAFI has partnerships with 50+ franchisors, multiple franchise suppliers and numerous sports leagues and organizations. Michael holds a BA in Architecture from University of Memphis and participated in the NFL Executive Education Programs at Stanford, Wharton and Kellogg Business Schools.

Session Speaker
Sugarman, Lloyd

Franchisee
Johnny Rockets, The Sugar Factory,

Since the first time Lloyd Sugarman set foot in a Johnny Rockets in the summer of 1986, it’s been nothing but rewarding. After meeting with the company founder Ronn Teitelbaum, Lloyd packed his bags and moved his family to California to work every possible aspect of a Johnny Rockets restaurant. After Lloyd had run several restaurants successfully, Teitelbaum asked him to sell half his restaurants and become Senior Vice President of Development for Johnny Rockets in 1989. After three years, Lloyd decided to get back into day-to-day restaurant operations. He gave up his position and focused on growing his own business, which is now up to 15 restaurants in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota, and Tennessee. In addition, Lloyd introduced dancing servers, food court restaurant locations, and the Streamliner meatless hamburger, key elements of Johnny Rockets restaurants found to this day in the company’s nearly 300 locations worldwide. When asked what he looks forward to most with the opening of each restaurant, Lloyd replied, “Preparing for a Johnny Rockets opening is like preparing for the opening of a Broadway show. You want to build anticipation and create a buzz so that people are knocking on the door as soon as you’re ready to open..." Lloyd was profiled as Franchisee of the Month in the September 2012 issue of Restaurant Business magazine.

Franchisee: Johnny Rockets, Sugar Factory, Ike's Sandwiches, Pizza Investor

Session Speaker
Thomas, Greg

President
LSGF Management

For Greg Thomas, life should be lived in accordance with a very simple motto: Life's Short. Grow Fast.  A philosophy reflected in his company’s name LSGF Management, which he founded with business partner Grant Simon. In 2001, Greg opened his first Great Clips and today as President of LSGF Management he operates 41 Great Clips and two Smoothie Kings in three states. He attributes much of his success to a basic recipe – purchase distressed stores from great brands, fix operations, and then advertise aggressively. Greg was the Great Clips Atlanta co-op president from 2007-2014 and served on the Great Clips National Advisory Board from 2011-2013. He is well known for his leadership in forming partnerships with NASCAR, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Children’s Miracle Network, Six Flags, Veterans, and the Boy Scouts. Greg holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Georgia.

Franchisee: Great Clips, Smoothie King

Advisory Board & Speaker
Torres, Ted

President & CEO
Caerus Hospitality

Ted J. Torres, CHA, is the President/CEO and a member of the board of Caerus Hospitality, which owns seven brands in 20 locations in Texas.  A lifelong hotelier, Ted has built, owned, operated, renovated, repositioned, and consulted on numerous hospitality projects in his 25+ years of professional experience. His current responsibilities encompass setting the strategy and vision for the company, managing the asset performance and strategic direction of each hospitality property, identifying market opportunities, selecting each site for future development, and instituting proprietary practices that lead to exceptional individual hotel performance, while at the same time fostering a high level of quality in excess of each hotel franchise brand standard. Recently, his company has developed three flagship Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham properties in the San Antonio and Austin, Texas metro areas.  He is a member of the Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham franchise advisory board, and a member of the Wyndham Preferred Client Group.

Franchisee: Microtel Inn and Suites by Wyndham, Tryp by Wyndham, Wingate by Wyndham, International Wyndham Garden Inn, Ramada Encore International

Session Speaker
Travis, Nigel

CEO
Dunkin' Brands Group

Nigel Travis was named Chief Executive Officer of Dunkin' Brands in January 2009 and appointed to the additional role of Chairman of the Board in May 2013. From 2005 through 2008, Nigel served as President & CEO of Papa John’s, the pizza chain with annual system-wide sales of $2.1 billion. Under his leadership, Papa John’s accomplished outstanding results, with industry-leading comp sales, consistent earnings growth and excellent franchise relationships. In addition, Nigel helped position the company’s international business as a major growth platform and oversaw the successful rollout of several new products, including Papa’s Pan Pizza. Prior to Papa John’s, Nigel was with Blockbuster, Inc. from 1994 to 2004, where he served in increasing roles of responsibility, including President & Chief Operating Officer. During that time, global sales increased over 50 percent and the international business was developed to encompass 26 countries with revenues of $1.8 billion. Nigel also built a worldwide franchise network of 300 franchisees in 15 countries with revenues of approximately $1 billion, and transitioned the company from a video rental store chain to a complete movie and game source. Before that, he was with Burger King, first as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and later as Managing Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Nigel received a bachelor’s degree in business administration for Middlesex University in England. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Office Depot.

Panelist
Wilson, Brooke

Multi-Unit Franchisee
Two Men And A Truck

Brooke Wilson is a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK multi-unit franchisee owner, based in Durham, North Carolina. Since starting her first franchise location in 2004 with her husband and business partner, Les Wilson, she has strategically expanded to own and operate nine locations, most recently in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan areas. Her locations have earned franchise-wide records and consistently win TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchisee awards, including the 2013 and 2014 Top 14 Achievement in Excellence awards. She was named the 2010 Franchisee of the Year by the International Franchise Association. Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina.

Franchisee: Two Men And A Truck

Speaker Deadlines

TO DODEADLINECONTACT
Submit your headshot to be included in conference guidebook and website (must be 4x6 minimum at 300 dpi high-resolution JPG)  March 2, 2015 Katy Geller
Submit bio to be included in conference guidebook and website (150-200 word, fully edited)   March 2, 2015 Katy Geller
Register for the conference ASAP Katy Geller
Book hotel room ASAP, room block ends 3/16 or when sold out Caesars Palace Hotel, Las Vegas
Last day to submit materials to be included in conference guidebook  March 6, 2015  Katy Geller
Submit session PowerPoint presentation using conference template  March 27, 2015  Katy Geller

 

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    Robert Branca, Jr., President, Branded Management Group / Branded Realty Group

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    Robert Branca, Jr., President, Branded Management Group / Branded Realty Group

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    Robert Branca, Jr., President, Branded Management Group / Branded Realty Group

  • "Jersey Mike's Subs has been coming to Franchise Update Media Group's Multi-Unit Franchising Conference since 2008. With confidence, I can say that this event yields significant results for us year in and year out. Whether you are looking to expand your knowledge, network with top franchisees throughout the franchising world, or meet your next multi-unit franchisee, this event is a must-attend for franchisors and franchisees alike. They should rename the conference to "How to Grow & Who to Grow With."

    Brian Sommers, VP Franchise Development, Jersey Mike's Subs

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    John Hotchkiss, Partner, L&M Restaurant Group

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