In 2012, 1851 Franchise debuted its very first Young Ones to Watch list. Back then; we were in the midst of a presidential election. Gas cost nearly $4 a gallon. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” may have been the summer’s buzziest (and overplayed) new single, but “Gangnam Style” was becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Felix Baumgartner completed a successful (nerve-wracking for the rest of us who were watching) skydive from 24 miles above the Earth. And the country was still working its way out of the Great Recession.
As Senior Vice President of Communications of Public Affairs for the International Franchise Association, Matt Haller develops the strategic directions for IFA communications to ensure information about franchising—including policy initiatives, the economic impact of franchise, emerging trends and best managements practices—is disseminated to IFA members and key external audiences. Prior to joining the IFA in October 2010, Haller served as director of industry relations at the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association and manager of political affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Drew French, the founder of Your Pie, always knew he wanted to own restaurants. His journey in the fast-casual pizza segment began to take shape in 2006 after he was inspired by brick ovens while on his honeymoon in Italy. Taking his newfound pizza knowledge back to Athens, Georgia, French founded the Your Pie brand (the original down-the-line pizza concept) when he was only 24, and his goal was to completely change the way people experience pizza. Since that first restaurant, Your Pie has opened nearly 30 locations throughout the country, and they’re on pace to open 28 more by the end of 2016.
Steve and Jason Parker are co-founders of K-9 Resorts. Jason was only 12 and Steve was 14 when they started their first pet care business, K-9 Guardians Professional Pet Sitting. That same love for dogs has since inspired the duo to create the ultimate five-star hotel experience for their favorite four-legged friends. When they made the decision to start franchising, their business took off. Today, their business is ranked as the No. 1 boarding facility in New Jersey, and the Parkers have plans to open nearly 80 locations over the next five years.
Susan E. Beth is an operating partner with NRD Capital. Beth was previously a vice president and the chief operating officer of Super Wash Inc., the nation’s largest franchisor of self-serve car washes. As a member of the Board of Directors of the International Franchise Association (IFA), Beth also serves as a motivational speaker on topics such as: passionate leadership; embracing change; building committed teams; rewarding relationships and dynamic cultures; visionary entrepreneurship; and goal-setting.
Josh York is the founder and CEO of GYMGUYZ, a mobile in-home training franchise based out of New York. When he was just 25 years old, he broke ground on his dream of building a fitness business. York started his enterprise with $15,000 out of his parents’ dining room, and it has since grown into a multi-million dollar company in 11 states. Today, York serves more than 700 clients in the Long Island, New York area, and he has plans to expand his brand in the years ahead.
Starting in Canada, Blair McDaniel has been able to build a construction management network and successful franchise system from the ground up. With more than 1,400 premier custom home and renovation contractor projects throughout Canada and the U.S., Alair Homes is on a tear since entering the U.S. With big aspiration and the experience to put the pieces in order, McDaniel has plans to add new regional partners in the U.S. in 2016 to help expand the brand.
As the vice president of operations at Best in Class Education, Laura Leddusire puts her passion for learning to work, helping the business, its franchisees and their students succeed. Leddusire had always dreamed of having a job that would allow her to share her love of learning to make a difference in the community. When she found her perfect fit with Best in Class straight out of college, she started as an English tutor. Two years later, she began managing a Best in Class Education Center. Now, as the company’s vice president of operations, she’s watched the brand grow nationwide.
Natalie Anderson Liu is the director of marketing for the fast-growing better-burger brand MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. Starting out as a brand strategist serving advertising agencies in Dallas, Liu was eventually recruited to the burgeoning MOOYAH brand by a former colleague. Currently clocking in at 91 locations, MOOYAH has even bigger plans to expand, and Liu is essential to helping the up-and-coming brand realize its full potential while making sure their key media tactics reach the right targets.
Randy Shacka is the current president of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK. He began his journey with the brand as an intern in the marketing department while attending Michigan State University. After he wrapped up his internship, he moved to Florida to help open a new franchise in Seminole County as an operations manager. Between then and now, Shacka has served as franchise development specialist, director of operations, chief development officer and chief operations officer. As of 2012, Shacka has been with the team as president.
Commercial cleaning is a billion dollar industry. Ditto for residential cleaning. And Scott Thompson, vice president of franchise development at Premium Franchise Brands, is at the forefront of both segments well before his 40th birthday. Premium Franchise Brands is the parent company of both JAN-PRO and Maid Right, leading franchises in the commercial and residential cleaning segments, respectively. It’s Thompson’s job to ensure the growth of these companies continues. Since he joined the executive team in 2013, the brand has added 37 regional master franchise licenses for Maid Right since launching the brand that same year. Thompson has also helped sell key markets for JAN-PRO, such as New Orleans, Detroit, India, Peru and Nigeria.
As the founder and leader of Chicago-based public relations firm No Limit Agency, Powills is focused on not just getting results for his company’s impressive roster of clients, but cultivating an environment where employees can thrive with the brands they represent. Since No Limit Agency’s inception in 2008, business has nearly tripled in size, and the company represents more than 50 brands. And if that wasn’t enough of an accomplishment, Powills also became the publisher of 1851 Franchise, a digital platform for franchising news he developed that sees nearly 200,000 unique visitors a month.
Jennifer Beall Saxton started Tot Squad, a health and safety franchise that specializes in repairs, cleaning and installation of childcare equipment, with the idea of helping busy parents improve their work-life balance, as well as create flexible business ownership opportunities for women. After announcing franchise sales availability late last year, the fledgling franchise brand has over 350 leads in the pipeline and has plans to open the first franchised location in early 2016.
Young & Successful Media and YSN.com
Jennifer Kushell is the founder and CEO of Young & Successful Media and YSN.com (Your Success Now), which supports the cause of economic empowerment among young adults and entrepreneurs in more than 100 countries. As a relentless advocate for the emerging workforce, Kushell has traveled two million miles and visited 50 countries, impacting the lives and futures of millions of people. Her personal mission and career are dedicated to ensuring no young person anywhere in the world lacks access to the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
Several years ago, Galen Welsch was finishing up his Peace Corp work as a volunteer in Morocco, where he also was exploring business solutions to poverty that could enhance aid-based approaches to water and other emerging market challenges. Welsch’s path converged with his father’s in 2012, who has 20+ years of leadership development work in Africa, and the two co-founded Jibu, a rapidly growing social enterprise that has launched 19 locally owned social franchises that have made safe drinking water radically affordable to over 150,000 people in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
Earning his MBA in business management in 2011, Wells began to think about what would be next. He was ready for a new challenge. Luckily, shortly after completely his degree, Wells was recruited by a former colleague who had transitioned to Sport Clips, and he was soon hired as the director of franchise administration in 2012. Nearly four years later, Wells is helping the brand generate more than 5,000 leads annually.
Joe Johnson, the president of Wireless Zone, has always had a straightforward approach and unassuming style when it comes to running a business. Since October 2014, Johnson’s work ethic has brought about a more cohesive, unified effort that he hopes will provide increased support for Wireless Zone’s stores by driving traffic, converting profitable sales and improving operational health. With Johnson now at the helm, Wireless Zone has also recently introduced a unique gross profit royalty model to their franchise system.
Kat Cole turned a spending-money gig at Hooters into a skyrocketing career in franchising. She landed a job at Hooters corporate before she was old enough to rent a car, and by her late twenties, she was offered a position with vice president in the title. Cole later joined Cinnabon Inc., where she served as president. And today, she’s been named group president of FOCUS Brands, the franchisor and operator of over 4,500 ice cream shops, bakeries, restaurants and cafes throughout the U.S.
Dan DiZio was in college when he founded Philly Pretzel Factory. He was tired of the gross, hard pretzels typically found at gas stations and convenience stores, so he teamed up with Len Lehman and Marty Ferrill to make the world a better place—one buttery soft pretzel at a time. Philly Pretzel Factory officially opened its doors in 1998, and since then, it’s grown to more than 125 units. DiZio and the other brand’s co-founders are championed for their use of non-traditional growth tactics.
Robert Maynard and Brian Burchill are the co-founders Famous Toastery. Founded in 2005, this better-breakfast concept is not just a restaurant—it’s a lifestyle brand. The dynamic business partners originally ran their restaurant out of a small home-turned-restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina. Since then, Famous Toastery has expanded outside of North Carolina, with an additional 16 slated to open later this year. In 2015, the breakfast spot was named one of the top six food franchises in America by CNBC.
As the vice president of franchise development and broker relations for BrightStar Care, a full-service healthcare staffing agency that provides medical and non-medical homecare to private clients within their homes, Oaks works with the brand’s extensive franchise and business broker network to bring in new franchisees to the BrightStar Care system. Having been with the company since 2012, Oaks has helped countless franchisees navigate their way through the BrightStar Care system—from start to finish. Prior to joining BrightStar Care, Oaks also worked in franchise development for Quiznos and Wireless Zone.
Chad Tramuta is the franchise development manager for Smoothie King, and he’s helped prime the brand for huge growth in the years ahead. Tramuta’s franchise development journey began in January 2006 as a franchise sales recruiter at Planet Beach Franchising Corporation. He was given three months to sink or swim, and not only did he find a way to swim, but he quickly realized he had a true passion and love for the franchising industry. Today, he has watched Smoothie King soar to more than 700 units.
Shortly after graduating from Baylor University in 2001, Scott Mellon dived into the world of franchising. By 2003, he was working with The Dwyer Group as their franchise director. Five years later, he came on board as the franchising manager for Dunkin’ Brands. In 2012, he joined Papa Murphy’s International as their vice president of sales. Today, Papa Murphy’s has emerged as the fifth-largest pizza company in the U.S.
Beth Caron has been with Great Clips since 2007, and over the past nine years, she has effectively climbed the ranks of one of the industry’s largest hair salon franchises. Caron started as the brand’s franchise development relations coordinator, and over the years, she worked her way up to franchise development marketing manager and director of franchise development—the position she currently holds since 2014.
Mac Malchow has been working in restaurants since he was 15 years old. Shortly after his 21st birthday he got a job as a delivery driver for Toppers Pizza La Crosse, Wisconsin. What started out as a job to earn money and pay bills has transformed into a thriving career. Today Malchow is a director of field marketing and a franchise development associate where he works with both franchisees on their local store marketing while also leading new franchise candidates through the discovery process.
Since 2012, Erica Farage has served as the senior director of political affairs and grassroots advocacy for the International Franchise Association (IFA). Farage is responsible for elevating FRANPac, the IFA’s political action committee, which supports pro-business, pro-franchising candidates at the federal level as well as the association’s grassroots advocacy program, Franchise Action Network, which engages thousands of advocates for franchising across the country on issues of importance to the franchise small business community.
Heather McLeod serves as Director of Marketing for The Cleaning Authority. The 30-year-old has bachelor and master’s degrees from Baylor University and recently earned a CFE certification. In her senior marketing role with The Cleaning Authority, McLeod is responsible for setting and driving strategic direction for customer acquisition and revenue generation through online, traditional and social media channels. She is also responsible for driving lead flow for new franchisee acquisition and introducing non-broker sales as a viable channel.