Upon graduating from the University of Georgia, Jerry Bird began climbing the corporate ladder at KMART, one of the oldest and largest companies in the retail industry. After achieving the position of Vice President of Store Operations, Jerry then went on to pursue several new opportunities including managing over 1100 Little Caesar’s pizza franchises that were located in KMARTS across the nation and internationally. Additionally, Jerry served as Managing Director of Slush Puppie, a large division of ICEE Company, a Beverage Supplier with world -wide distribution. He also owned his own business in East Tennessee and after 3 years of substantial growth, he positioned it for sale.
After a long career in corporate America, Jerry decided he wanted to change his career path. With an inherent passion for helping people, he felt strongly that FranNet would be the perfect fit. In Fall of 2009, he joined the company and became a FranNet owner in Alabama and East Tennessee. He works with hundreds of people yearly to help them assess the opportunities of business ownership. 1851 had the chance to catch up with Jerry and learn about his background along with this path to FranNet.
Why did you leave your career in corporate America in order to pursue the opportunity with FranNet?
In my career, I did extensive traveling. After 34 years of corporate America, I retired and decided I wanted to become a part of FranNet, where I could help people find the right fit for them. I believe the years and years of doing different jobs and having different responsibilities allowed me to develop unique skill-sets and strengthened my observation skills enormously. Through the culmination of my experiences, I felt that I had developed an ability to help people achieve their dreams through business ownership.
How did you learn about the brand and complete your due diligence?
The human resources department was also under my umbrella during my time at KMART. Therefore, I spent a good amount of time in outplacement offices and was able to experience and see several coaching companies, what they did and how they did it. I knew of FranNet from being on the other side of the table. I was extremely impressed with the manner in which they handled their relationships, and I felt the caliber of their work far surpassed competitors. If I couldn’t work with FranNet, I didn’t want to work with anyone else.
What makes FranNet different?
The people, the process we follow, and the ethical standards and professionalism we instill elevate us above our competition. Additionally, our local, face-to-face business model makes us unique and more successful.
Are you involved in any charities or any community outreach with your business?
I am a member of the International Franchise Association (IFA), the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, the Alabama Franchise Association, the Rotary Club of Cleveland, and MainStreet Cleveland.
Additionally, I serve as Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Tennessee Small Business Development Centers, as Chairman of the Small Business Advisory Board for the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, and as a counselor at the Chattanooga SCORE chapter.
Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions? I am extremely invested in my family and my church. I also love to play golf.