Speakers

Denise Acquaye
Newark, NJ Franchisee - FASTSIGNS International, Inc.

Denise Acquaye is a founding partner and co-owner of FASTSIGNS of Newark. She is an accomplished marketing and IT executive and has worked for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the land. In her current position, she manages the operations of this fledgling center located in the largest city in NJ – Newark. This Center was a new start-up that opened its doors in 2012 and has quickly rise ...

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Amal Agha
Eatontown, NJ Multi-Unit Franchisee, Rita's Water Ice and - Philly Pretzel Factory

Amal’s first job at the age of 15 was at an Everything Yogurt and she worked there all throughout high school and college. That is where she learned the value of customer service and hard work.

After graduating from Rutgers University she joined a prominent bank in the alternative finance space and eventually at a hedge fund in NYC. The long hours and commute finally caught up to her whe ...

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Kay Marie Ainsley
Managing Director - MSA Worldwide

Kay Marie Ainsley is a Managing Director of MSA Worldwide, a domestic and international franchise advisory firm. She has over 20 years of experience in franchising for major franchise systems or as a strategic advisor to companies within the retail, restaurant, services, manufacturing, and business to business industries. Kay provides franchise feasibility assessment and franchise program devel ...

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Joe Allegretti
Vice President/Leasing - Urstadt Biddle Properties, Inc.

Mr. Allegretti is a Vice President of Leasing of the company and has served in this role since December 2016. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Allegretti served as a Senior Leasing Representative of the company since December 2014. Mr. Allegretti began his real estate career in 2002 as a Senior Territory and Asset Manager for a major franchise real estate development company in the NY metro area and ...

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Paul Altero
CEO - Bubbakoo's Burritos

Paul Altero is the CEO, Co-owner and Founder behind Bubbakoo’s Burritos, which serves up delicious Fresh-Mex fare and a community-focused dining experience at the Jersey Shore.

In 2008, the first restaurant in the chain debuted in his hometown, Point Pleasant, N.J., and expanded to 13 locations throughout the region in the past 9 years. Bubbakoo's Burritos has launched the concept as a ...

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Lance Bachmann
Founder and CEO - 1SEO

Lance Bachmann is the Founder and President of 1SEO.com Digital Agency, a full-service global digital marketing firm based in the Philadelphia, PA area. Bachmann and his team of over 60 digital marketers provide end-to-end solutions for their clientele with a full suite of services like search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click (PPC), social media optimization (SMO), website design, content ...

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Steve Beagelman, CFE
CEO and Founder - SMB Franchise Advisors

Steve Beagelman is a franchise industry veteran of more than 25 years who held positions ranging from entrepreneur to senior level executive, giving him a unique insight and perspective in growing, operating, and building brands. In 2009, Steve established SMB Franchise Advisors, a consulting company specializing in advising franchise start-ups and existing franchise concepts of ways to drive busi ...

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Wayland Benbow
Real Estate Manager - Great Clips

Wayland is the Real Estate Manager for Great Clips in the Northeast. The Northeast region has an opportunity to develop over 1000 locations in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island Massachusetts, West Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. Great Clips has over 4100 units and is the only Billion dollar brand in the industry. Previously, Wayland served ...

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Ron Bender, CFE
Vice President, Franchise Development - Big Frog Custom T-Shirts

Ron has been active in the franchise industry since 1998 and gets great satisfaction from meeting terrific people and helping them attain the American Dream and improve their lifestyle by owning their own businesses in the exciting franchise industry! He loves dealing with people, specializing in relationship building and facilitating communication between different people and groups; helping them ...

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Kirsten Benson
Capital Access Advisor - FRANdata

Kirsten Benson is a Capital Access Advisor at FRANdata, a franchise-focused research and advisory company. In her role, Benson is responsible for managing and consulting hundreds of franchisors on their Franchise Registry membership and capital access best practices. Franchise Registry membership eases access to capital and decreases the cost of capital for a franchise system’s franchisees ...

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Seth Berkman
Mt. Kisco, Scarsdale, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, NY Franchisee - UBreakiFix

As a lifelong Entrepreneur, Seth Berkman built and ran his IT service firm, BerkmanTech for the past fifteen years, growing from one office in NY to a second in Florida. With an eye toward the future, and a firm grasp of the changing technology trends, Seth wanted to expand his business offerings to mobile devices. After his wife broke her phone she took it to uBreakiFix and experienced the high q ...

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Sandra Bodeau
Principal - Gray Plant Mooty

Sandy Bodeau is a principal at Gray Plant Mooty and practices in the areas of franchise and distribution law, mergers and acquisitions, and commercial transactions. She primarily focuses on advising franchisors on system development and ongoing program issues, helping clients purchase or sell businesses—with a specialty in multi-unit retail transfers—and counseling companies on business formatio ...

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Paul Bosley
Managing Member - Business Finance Depot

Paul Bosley is known for his expertise in financing for franchises and especially in the health club industry. Paul has partnered with several national franchises to assist new franchise partners acquire the capital they need to launch their new businesses. He is also keen on helping existing business owners find the finances to expand their current business. He is a regular speaker and writer ...

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Brianna Brandon
- TruFund Financial Services

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Maurice Bretzfield
Mentor - SCORE NYC

Maurice is an Internet Strategist with forty + years of Business Management, Business Systems, Information Architecture, Marketing Systems and Outsourcing experience with a passion to help businesses and individuals differentiate themselves.

"I am curious. I love nothing better than to focus on a new challenge. I am fortunate to live an enormously interesting life."

An author ...

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Miriam Brewer, CFE
Senior Director, Education and Diversity - IFA Educational Foundation

Miriam L. Brewer, CFE is the Senior Director of Education and Diversity for the International Franchise Association. In this role, she leads IFA’s efforts to increase the diversity in franchising as a part of new/emerging market and works in the area of NextGen/Students in Franchising. Brewer works hand-in-hand with members of Congress, Mayors and other stakeholders by coordinating and delivering ...

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Reg Byrd
Partner - DCV Franchise Group

For over 25 years Mr. Byrd has been a business venture strategist assisting entrepreneurs in all aspects of business development with a focus on financing, business plan development, build of financial projections and blueprints for aggressive return on investments. The scope of his work ranges from sole proprietorship businesses to capital intensive Fortune 500 hotel development projects, acquisi ...

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Dale E. Cantone
Assistant Attorney General - Franchise Unit Chief - Maryland Attorney General’s Office

Dale Cantone is an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland and the Deputy Securities Commissioner for the Maryland Securities Division. Dale is the chief of the franchise and business opportunity unit of the Maryland Securities Division. In addition, Dale serves as Chair of the Franchise and Business Opportunity Committee/Project Group of the North American Securities Administrators ...

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Georgia Chasen
Director, Franchise Development - Sylvan Learning

With a background in both non-profit and sales, Georgia Chasen joined Sylvan Learning in 2006. She expanded her initial role in Franchise Development from franchisee resales to corporate center and undeveloped territory sales, both domestic and international. Now as Director of the Franchise Development department, Georgia has been tasked with creating a culture of growth; focusing her efforts in ...

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Amber Christiansen
Marketing Director - FewerHats

Amber has more than 10 years experience in online marketing and has had the privilege to see the industry evolve from it’s infancy to become the most important marketing avenue for businesses today. In 2008, after recognizing the major roadblocks faced by franchises online, Amber partnered with the developers at 9thRoot, a Utah based online marketing firm, to architect a system which helps groups ...

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Shery Christopher
Managing Director - Shery Christopher Consulting

Since 1986, Shery has provided business franchise consulting and coaching in new business and franchise development including franchise expansion and support. With extensive experience in international expansion and development for US franchise brands expanding internationally and international brands expanding into the US and other countries through in-depth research and market studies and franch ...

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Steve Cooper
President - ERSOP.com

Steven, President, has 35+ years of Benefits Consulting and Pension Administration experience. Steve entered the pension field in 1979 designing and installing sophisticated defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans for the California Medical Association endorsed plan system. He has owned and operated his own pension consulting and administration firm since 1984, designing several tho ...

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Tim Courtney, CFE
Vice President, Franchise Development - Dream Vacations

Tim Courtney is Vice President of Franchise Development at CruiseOne. He is a member of the IFA’s Membership and VetFran committees, as well as Franchise Congress. He has worked in the travel industry for more than 15 years in positions including training and management. In 2006, he joined CruiseOne in a training and education role and helped launch the company’s online learning academy. He joined ...

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James Cozine
Vice President, Leasing - Urban Edge Properties, Inc.

Jim Cozine is the VP of Leasing for the NYC based REIT Urban Edge Properties, the 2015 spin off from Vornado Realty Trust. He has a decade of experience as an entrepreneur and over 2 decades of varied experience in the Retail Real Estate industry. After owning a Post-Secondary Private for Profit NJ Vocational School for 10 years he spent 5 years as a Licensed Salesperson brokering retail real esta ...

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Ryan Cunningham
President - Javelin Solutions

Ryan Cunningham is the Founder and President of the national firm Javelin Solutions as well as a licensed broker in the State of Colorado. Ryan achieved his degree in Business Economics from Colorado College as well as his M.B.A. from the University of Denver.

Prior to starting his own company, Ryan spent over 20 years at the world’s largest brokerage firm, Jones Lang LaSalle. While at ...

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Ben Davis
Chief Franchising Officer - Lendio

Ben found franchising early on in his career and it's been his home ever since. The franchising teams he’s built consistently outperform the market by significant multiples. From leading the integration of franchising into a Dow 30 component, to managing successful M&A processes in franchising, to meeting one-on-one with new franchisees to review their business plans, Ben loves everything about bu ...

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Cathy Deano
Co-Founder - Painting with a Twist

Catherine Deano started her journey to become, along with her partner Renee Maloney, founder of Painting with a Twist, the largest Paint and Sip system in the United States, by volunteering in her community. After Hurricane Katrina roared into town, flooding her home. She was looking at ways to bring a little joy to her area. She found it with the idea of an art studio where women could gather, pa ...

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Daniel Dizio
CEO/Co-Founder - Philly Pretzel Factory

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Joe Dunn
Partner - Fisher Zucker LLC

Joe’s practice areas include commercial transactions and litigation focusing on franchise and distribution issues. Joe is a former corporate counsel for AMMCO Transmissions, Inc. and is experienced in regulatory compliance, intellectual property, licensing agreements and employment law. Joe regularly negotiates and drafts intellectual property licensing agreements and other commercial contracts ...

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Todd Evans
Vice President of Franchising - UBreakiFix

As the Vice President of Franchising for UBreakiFix, Todd is responsible for enhancing the overall performance of the franchise system. There has been in excess of 550 new store commitments awarded since he joined UBreakiFix in June 2015.

Previously, Todd was with Aaron's where he founded and launched a highly successful franchise division and grew it to over $1.01 billion in system w ...

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Barry Falcon
Senior Strategy Consultant - iFranchise Group

With a professional business career that spans more than 40 years across a range of industries and functions, including communications technology, operational and manufacturing consulting, marketing, project management, and business development, Mr. Falcon has over 15 years of direct experience in franchising, both as a franchisee and as an executive within multiple national franchisor systems.

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Sean Falk
Marine Corps Veteran; Ashland and Owensboro, KY and Jackson, TN Multi-Unit Franchisee - Great American Cookies

Sean Falk, CFE served as Vice President of Franchising at SafeWay Driving since 2014. He was instrumental in awarding SafeWay Driving’s Franchise business model to 21 locations in the 15 months following launch. Sean also has 18 years experience as a franchisee of 7 different brands across the Midwest. He is active with the International Franchise Association, earning his Certified Franchise Execu ...

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Marisa Faunce
Partner - Plave Koch PLC

Marisa Faunce is a partner with the franchise law firm of Plave Koch PLC in Reston, Virginia. Marisa counsels franchisors, licensors, and manufacturers on transactional, regulatory and intellectual property issues involved in developing and growing franchise programs. She also counsels franchisors regarding all aspects of the franchise relationship, including operational compliance, system standa ...

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Ron Feldman, CFE
Chief Development Officer - ApplePie Capital

Ron is responsible for growing ApplePie Capital’s brand portfolio and contributing to the product strategy of the company. Ron has been active in franchising for over 20 years.

Prior to joining ApplePie Capital, Ron co-founded and was CEO of Franchise America Finance (FAF) and later served as Principal and Chief Brand Strategist along with its affiliate, The Siegel Financial Group. The ...

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Rebecca Ferrer
Westchester, NY Franchisee - Husse TriState

I have been the owner of Husse NYC for 8 months now. It has been a learning and exciting experience. I have 10 years experience in the finance/ mortgage field. I have 7 years experience in the private sector helping my husband run his auto business.

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Kelly Ficarra
Mentor - SCORE NYC

Kelly was the owner and operator of two award-winning ballroom dance studios in Queens and Long Island, and was twice written up in the Long Island Business News. As a Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach she teaches financial management to individuals and small business owners. Kelly also works as an agent for National Debt Relief and is an IAPDA Certified Debt Specialist. ...

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Gary Findley
President - Restoration1

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Rocco Fiorentino, CFE
CEO - Benetrends, Inc.

Rocco Fiorentino brings more than 25 years of franchise industry experience as President and CEO of Benetrends. He is also a director and board member for Swiss Farm Stores and Saxbys Coffee, franchisors of drive-through grocery stores and coffee shops, respectively. Fiorentino served as President and CEO of Freedom Rings, LLC, an area developer and multi-unit franchisee of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts ...

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Andrew Fish
- The Real Estate Equity Company (TREECO)

Andrew Fish is a Director of The Real Estate Equity Company (“TREECO”) in Englewood, New Jersey. Mr. Fish is responsible for leasing of the entire firm’s real estate portfolio, acquisitions and development projects. TREECO owns and manages over 1.5 million square feet of primarily class A shopping centers. In 2016, Mr. Fish was appointed to the boards of directors of the Malvern Bancorp, Inc. a ...

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Lane Fisher
Esquire - Fisher Zucker LLC

In private practice since 1989, Lane currently represents more than 75 franchise brands in business transactions and complex franchise litigation. Lane is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and serves on the franchise law committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Philadelphia Bar Association and the American Bar Association's forum committee on franchising. In additi ...

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Brad Fishman
CEO - Fishman Public Relations

As one of the most well-connected individuals in the franchise industry, Brad has spent more than 20 years helping franchise systems develop franchisee lead generation and consumer awareness campaigns that help them achieve their desired growth.

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Matthew Flath
Vice President Retail Leasing - Onyx Equities, LLC

Matthew Flath joined Onyx Equities in 2016 as Vice President of Retail Leasing. Matthew possesses over 8 years of retail leasing experience and is responsible for overseeing the marketing, negotiation, structuring, administration, and operation of all retail leasing transactions for Onyx Equities’ owned asset portfolio.

Prior to joining Onyx, Matthew was a Vice President at The Goldstei ...

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Alicia Geiger
Sinking Spring , PA Franchisee - Dream Vacations

Ali Geiger started her “traveling” career more than 20 years ago as a traveler! She was actually a dental hygienist when she accepted a position in a dental office in Switzerland. From then on she has been addicted to travel. As the years passed, friends and family would come to her for advice or help in planning their vacations. It took 20 years but she is finally doing what she loves and feels p ...

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Jan Gilbert
Principal - Gray Plant Mooty

Jan Gilbert has worked with both start-up and developed franchisors and franchisees for more than 25 years and counsels them on all aspects of domestic and international franchising. Jan has a wide variety of experience working with franchising activities and franchise relationship matters, including: structuring franchise programs, counseling on federal and state regulatory issues (e.g., tra ...

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Evan Goldman
Counsel - Hill Wallack LLP

Evan M. Goldman is Counsel in the Princeton, NJ office of Hill Wallack LLP, where he is a member of the Franchise Law, Creditors' Rights/Bankruptcy and Hospitality practice groups.

Mr. Goldman has represented both franchisees and franchisors throughout the United States. In his practice, Mr. Goldman has litigated extensively in state and federal courts, as well as before the American Ar ...

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Alan Greenfield
Shareholder - Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Alan R. Greenfield concentrates his practice on domestic and international franchising, licensing and distribution matters. Alan works with both experienced and startup franchise companies in structuring franchise programs and drafting franchise-related documents. He counsels franchisors and manufacturers on everyday compliance and other franchise or distributor-related issues, such as registratio ...

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Atul Gupta
Long Island Multi-Unit Franchisee - Checkers

Atul Gupta was born and raised in Chandigarh, INDIA. While there Atul graduated from Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology where he earned a degree in Civil Engineering. After graduation Atul began working on a Dam project in India for a Canadian Based Company. After just 6 months Atul quickly realized he was more interested in controlling his own destiny and decided to take over a small ...

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Donald Harrell
Army Veteran and Clearwater, FL Franchisee - Big Frog Custom T-Shirts

Donald started his career with Arthur Rutenberg Homes in the Tampa Bay area in the 1980’s. Rutenberg Homes was sold and became part of the largest single family home-building company in America, U.S. Homes. Donald stuck with Arthur Rutenberg after the sale, who then started the first custom-built luxury home franchise opportunity in Florida. Before he left, they had grown to 47 building companies ...

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Janet Harris, CFE
Indianapolis, IN Franchisee - Dream Vacations

Janet King Harris is the owner of a Dream Vacations home-based franchise along with her husband, Mike Harris and their 5 associates She started her career selling government travel and in hotel sales management. She later became an entrepreneur owning several businesses in Indianapolis, IN. In recent years, Janet launched, grew and sold several of her own businesses in the service industry. She is ...

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John P. Hayes, PhD
Titus Franchise Chair - HowToBuyAFranchise.com

Dr. John Hayes is the Titus Chair for Franchise Leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He teaches students and professionals about franchising. He is one of the few people to have been a franchisor, a franchisee, and an advisor to franchise companies internationally. He speaks at franchise conferences around the globe.

Dr. Hayes has worked in the franchise community since 1979 a ...

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Kelsey Healy
Marlboro, NJ Franchisee - Frutta Bowls

22 year old young business owner Kelsey Healy is a shining example of how the dream of owning a franchise is not just for the older more experienced person but for the young determined entrepreneur who wants to break down the walls of gender and age.

“Keeping organized and not being intimidated by the fact that I am always the youngest person in the room keeps me focused on what I want ...

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Barry Heller
Partner - DLA Piper US LLP

For over 30 years, Barry's practice has consisted almost exclusively of representing clients in franchise and distribution disputes throughout the country, both in litigation, arbitration and mediation.

Much of Barry's practice has focused on franchise termination matters, as well as on more complex franchise cases involving issues affecting the entire franchise system. He has handled c ...

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Jeremy Holland
Managing Partner, Origination - The Riverside Company

Jeremy Holland is a Managing Partner overseeing origination of new investment opportunities for The Riverside Company. He also serves as Riverside’s global Industry Specialization Head for Franchising. The Riverside company is one of the largest, global private equity firms while remaining focused on the entrepreneurial end of the market. Jeremy has nearly 20 years of private equity experien ...

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Rick Howard
Director of Franchise Sales - Massage Envy

Rick Howard currently serves as the Director of Franchise Development & Real Estate for Massage Envy. In this role, Rick is responsible for the franchise development and real estate oversight in company led regions as well as working with Massage Envy’s Regional Developers throughout the United States. A veteran of both Development & Operations, Rick has worked on both the Franchisor and ...

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Martins Imudia, PhD
Attorney at Law - Center for U.S. Immigration Services

Attorney Martins I. Imudia graduated in 1995 from Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana, with an LLM in Admiralty and Maritime Law. He obtained his JD equivalent degree from the prestigious Abo Akademi University in Abo, Finland after completing undergraduate work with a major in international law and a minor in commercial transactions. He is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Asso ...

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Scott Jewett
Senior Advisor - iFranchise Group

As the Senior Franchise Consultant of iFranchise Group’s Los Angeles, California office, Mr. Jewett specializes in implementing individualized rapid growth strategies for businesses in the Los Angeles area.

Mr. Jewett evaluates organizations for franchisability, financial strength, management capabilities, and development potential; assesses alternatives for growth; and creates strategi ...

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Matthew Jonas
President - TopFire Media

Matthew Jonas is a digital marketing strategist with broad experience in all aspects of digital media, SEO & PPC campaigns, PR, social media publishing, display advertising, conversion based marketing, website development, inbound marketing, mobile marketing, email marketing, and online lead generation.

As President of TopFire Media, he is responsible for marketing assessments, con ...

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Tom Kaiser
Assistant Editor - Franchise Times

Tom is associate editor of Franchise Times. Franchise Times magazine is the news and information source for franchising, which is read by the who’s who of franchising, including growth-minded franchisors and franchisees, and the consultants and advisors who help them succeed. Franchise Times is the only independent, unbiased news source in franchising and devotes more resources to franchise covera ...

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Dallas Kerley, CFE
President and COO - Benetrends, Inc.

Kerley is responsible for sales, short- and long-term strategic marketing plans and product development. He has been a featured speaker at numerous business and franchise conferences, where he has helped educate entrepreneurs on successful small business funding strategies. Kerley has written several articles on small business topics for Franchising World Magazine, and he is sought out for his kno ...

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Harold Kestenbaum
Partner - Harold L. Kestenbaum, PC

HAROLD L. KESTENBAUM is an attorney who has specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977. From May 1982 until September 1986, Harold served as franchise and general counsel to Sbarro, Inc., the national franchisor of over 1,000 family-style Italian restaurants and, was a director from March 1985 to December 2006. From September 1983 to October 1989, he served a ...

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Gaylen Knack
Principal - Gray Plant Mooty

Gaylen is a principal at Gray Plant Mooty and has been recognized as a leading franchise attorney globally by Chambers Global and International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers. He assists franchisors in structuring domestic and international franchise and distribution programs, and advises clients on related business, international trade regulation and trademark matters. Gaylen’s combined 25 pl ...

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Keith Levenson
Owner - ClimbZone Franchising, LLC

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Man-Li Kuo Lin
Economic Development Specialist - U.S. Small Business Administration - New York

Ms. Man-Li Kuo Lin is Economic Development Specialist, District International Trade Officer, Emerging Leaders Program Project Manager and PRIME Grantee Liaison at the U.S. Small Business Administration New York District Office (SBA NYDO) marketing team in delivery small business resources to develop and grow businesses in 14 counties throughout New York City, Long Island and the downstate counties ...

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Bret Lowell
Partner - DLA Piper US LLP

Bret Lowell is an internationally recognized leader in franchise and distribution law, and has counseled and represented clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including restaurants and food service, car rental, hotel and motel, health care, financial services, high tech, real estate and retail. Bret's experience includes extensive analysis as to whether arrangements constitute "franchi ...

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Grant Marcks
Vice President, Head of Business Development - Atlantic Street Capital

Grant focuses on transaction sourcing for both new platforms and add-on acquisitions for the existing portfolio, as well as relationship management among the firm’s various constituencies. Grant joined Atlantic Street in July 2015. Prior to joining Atlantic Street, Grant spent five years with The Riverside Company as a member of their Origination team, where he was responsible for evaluating new i ...

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Paulo Mauro
President - Global Franchise Latam

As president of Global Franchise Network, Paulo Mauro is responsible for running the operations of The Global Franchise Network in Brazil and assisting national and international clients expanding their companies and franchises into other markets around the world.

Prior to launching The Global Franchise Network, Mr. Mauro was the president and founder of Global Franchise Brazil. He is ...

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Julie McBride
Senior Consultant, Social Franchising - MSA Worldwide

Julie McBride is a Senior Consultant for Michael H. Seid & Associates, LLC (MSA), a domestic and international franchise advisory firm. She brings more than 20 years of experience in healthcare marketing and health services franchising, and is a thought leader in the rapidly growing and evolving field of social franchising. Prior to joining the MSA team she served as Senior Social Franchising Advi ...

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Louise McKeown
Lawrenceville, NJ and Philadelphia, PA Franchisee - Camp Bow Wow

Louise became a Camp Bow Wow franchisee in February of 2010. She currently owns three territories which consist of an established franchise location in Lawrenceville, NJ, a relatively new location in Philadelphia, PA and a yet to be determined location in Bucks County, PA. She is passionate about providing a safe, fun place where owners can leave their dogs and know they are cared for and happy. W ...

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John Metz
CEO - Hurricane Grill and Wings

On board since our inception in December 2008, John leads by example, putting his years of success in the franchise vertical to work to guide and build the Hurricane Grill and Wings® brand. Since 2002 John has been president of RREMC, LLC and president of Continuum Courtyards, LLC. These companies, and affiliates of these companies, own, operate, and/or manage restaurants and hotels, including De ...

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Mariel Miller
The Franchise Advisor - The Franchise Advisor

Mariel has 27 years experience in the franchise sector. She uses her rich background to provide franchise-related advice and coaching to potential entrepreneurs and educates them on thoroughly vetting franchise opportunities through her firm www.TheFranchiseAdvisor.com. Her in-depth coaching is free of charge for the curious to the serious candidate. Popular with those seeking semi-passive, scala ...

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Catherine Monson
Chief Executive Officer - FASTSIGNS International, Inc.

Catherine Monson is the CEO and President of FASTSIGNS International, Inc. She joined FASTSIGNS® in 2008 and brings more than 30 years of franchising and management experience including sales and marketing, operations, development, training and advocacy. In 2009, she was the recipient of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) prestigious Bonny LeVine Award, given annually to a female fran ...

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Rick Morey
Partner - DLA Piper US LLP

Richard Morey’s franchise and distribution practice is focused on working with both experienced and startup franchise companies, helping them structure new franchise programs and determine the most appropriate methods of single- and multi-unit franchising. Richard counsels franchisors on everyday compliance and other franchise-related issues, such as registration and disclosure matters, negoti ...

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Kim Nunez, CFE
Director of Franchise Development - Primrose Schools

Kim is the Director of Franchise Development for Primrose Schools, primarily responsible for the western portion of the United States. She also develops for New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Kim served as a licensed social worker for three years and an elementary school teacher for more than 10. Her passion for children and families runs deep; evidenced by her successful career pa ...

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Gary Occhiogrosso
Managing Partner - Franchise Growth Solutions

Currently Gary Occhiogrosso is the Managing Partner of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a membership only franchise development and sales firm.

Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital.

Gary started his career in franchising ...

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David W. Oppenheim
Shareholder - Greenberg Traurig, LLP

David W. Oppenheim concentrates his practice on domestic and international franchising, licensing and distribution matters. He is recognized by Chambers USA as a leading, national franchise attorney. He advises both emerging and mature companies with respect to planning, structuring and implementing national and international franchise, distribution and licensing programs, including negotiating fr ...

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Ryan Palmer
Principal - Gray Plant Mooty

Ryan Palmer serves domestic and international clients across the restaurant, hospitality, retail, and service sectors. He counsels brand and concept owners in the development of franchise and distribution systems and helps businesses resolve disputes with franchisees and licensees. Ryan’s multi-unit retail experience includes representing clients in refranchising and franchise finance transactions ...

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John Palumbo
Director of Franchise Development - Checkers

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Sandro Piancone
Chief Mexpert Officer - Nery's Logistics

Mr. Piancone is the “Chief Mexpert” Officer of Mexico Sales Made Easy; an international consulting company to US based companies who want to do business in Mexico. He sits on several boards and consults on trademark issues, labeling requirements, Mexico import permits, and sales and marketing strategies.

Since 1998, Sandro has generated well over 500 million dollars in sales and profits ...

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Jackie Pierce
Ft. Worth, TX Franchisee - Big Frog Custom T-Shirts

Jackie began her career as an accountant straight out of Purdue University in 1991. She worked as an internal cost accountant for several years in the Chicago area, and earned her CPA in 1993. After transferring to Fort Worth, she spent time with a large franchise company working as a financial analyst, which afforded her the opportunity to gain insight into a franchise system. As her husband cont ...

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Lee Plave
Partner - Plave Koch PLC

Lee has extensive experience counseling distributors and franchisors, including drafting and negotiating franchise agreements for complex international and domestic transactions and advising clients on all aspects of franchise and distribution law.

Lee also counsels clients on the application of technology to franchise and distribution systems. He focuses his attention on matters suc ...

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Joseph J. Punturo
Assistant Attorney General, Franchise Section Chief - Office of the New York State Attorney General

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Lizbeth Rodriquez
Business Advisor - LaGuardia Community College SBDC

Lizbeth A. Rodriguez is Business Advisor with LaGuardia Community College SBDC (Small Business Development Center). Her role in the SBDC includes assisting small business owners in Marketing and Strategic Planning focusing mainly on the Hispanic business community. Also, she led the Center’s SBA Disaster Resiliency Program assisting business owners affected by Hurricane Sandy. In addition, Ms. ...

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Marla Rosner
Senior Learning and Development Consultant - MSA Worldwide

Marla Rosner is the Senior Learning and Development Consultant for MSA Worldwide, a domestic and international franchise advisory firm. She has excelled as a training professional for over twenty years.

During her 16-year tenure with Supercuts, an international hair care franchisor, Marla helped build the system from 75 locations to over 1,100 salons. As Vice President of Training an ...

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Michelle Rowan
President and COO - Franchise Business Review

Michelle Rowan is the president and COO of Franchise Business Review, a market research and consulting company specializing in franchisee and customer satisfaction, as well as franchise relations issues.

She is an active member of the International Franchise Association, is a Certified Franchise Executive, and sits on the Womens Franchise Committee and Leadership Conference Task Force. ...

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Muhammad Saleem
Multi-unit Franchisee - Checkers

Muhammad Saleem has been a multi unit multi brand Franchisee for over 25 years. He has owned and operated many businesses and currently owns many Checkers and Subway franchises in Manhattan. He knows how to take the proper steps to success with careful site selection, construction, operations, controls, and most importantly, customer satisfaction. Muhammad has a proven track record of success and ...

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Renuka Salinger
Vice President of Franchise Development - Camp Bow Wow

Renuka joined the Camp Bow Wow family in 2007 and started out as a Camp Counselor at the unit level. She was brought over to the corporate support team in 2007 to help open more than 100 locations in a 3-year period. Renuka has held multiple roles at Camp Bow Wow, and her diverse skill set includes an in-depth understanding of franchise sales, vast institutional knowledge of Camp Bow Wow franchise ...

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Brian Schnell
Partner - Faegre Baker Daniels

With more than 25 years of experience in franchising and product distribution, Brian Schnell is the chair of the firm's franchise practice that represents franchisors with headquarters based across the United States and abroad.

Brian's experience uniquely includes serving as the COO and Chief Legal Officer during 2012 for one of the country's leading health care franchisors. In the ...

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Larry Schwartz
Partner - DCV Franchise Group

Larry Schwartz has more than 25 years of corporate and business development experience and has held executive level positions in the ancillary healthcare and franchise industries. During that time, he has been instrumental in developing and managing new business ventures and has spearheaded the growth of several start-ups, early and middle stage companies. Larry began his career in franchising as ...

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Michael Seid
Managing Director - MSA Worldwide

I am the founder and Managing Director of MSA Worldwide, a provider of domestic and international franchise advisory services. During my professional career I have been a senior operations officer, financial executive, or consultant for companies within the franchise, retail, restaurant, hospitality, healthcare, education, and service industries. I have also been both a franchisor and franchisee. ...

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Andrew Seid
Consultant - MSA Worldwide

Andrew is a consultant for MSA Worldwide, a domestic and international franchise advisory firm. While an experienced litigator and a transactional lawyer in franchising, Andrew is the son of our founder and franchising has been part of his life-long experience starting when he attended his first IFA convention at the age of ten.

Andrew earned his BA in business from Franklin & Marsha ...

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Johnny Sellyn
Head - Franchiseresales.com

Johnny Sellyn has been involved in franchising for over 20 years. Initially as founding director of the franchise consultancy division of one of world’s leading CPA’s and Business advisers. This followed a successful 30-year career in retail. In more recent times Johnny has created and run some of the leading franchise websites in the US, UK South Africa and Australia. Franchise resales .com was c ...

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Robert Serabin
SCORE Mentor - SCORE NYC

Formerly a sales and marketing executive in aerospace, industrial, and commercial markets, Robert is experienced in working with large corporations and small companies. He is an expert in Expert in sales and marketing planning and strategy development.

Robert received his MBA from Baldwin Wallace and his BSME Carnegie Mellon. He is the author of Conquering the Fear of Selling; multiple ...

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Peter Maxwell Sessions
Founder and CEO - FewerHats

Peter Maxwell Sessions is the founder and CEO of Fewer Hats, an operational consulting firm focused on helping franchisors leverage technology. He frequently consults with clients on point of sale systems, CRM's, and much more. Mr. Sessions has a background in strategic business development for technology companies. Most notably, he held a strategic role for Groupon based out of their Palo Alto of ...

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Stephanie Shalofsky
President - The Organizing Zone

Stephanie is the owner and founder of The Organizing Zone and works with small businesses and soloprenuers. She is a Certified Productive Environment Specialist and a former corporate executive managing large teams. She is also an active member of the New York Women in Film and Television and a member of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. ...

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Andrew Sherman
Partner - Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Andrew Sherman is a Partner and Chair of the Washington, D.C. Corporate Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He focuses his practice on issues affecting business growth for companies at all stages, including developing strategies for licensing and leveraging intellectual property and technology assets, intellectual asset management and harvesting, as well as international corporate transactional and f ...

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Craig Sherwood
Senior Vice President, Franchise - Gold's Gym

Mr. Craig Sherwood has been Senior Vice President of Franchising at Gold's Gym International since February 2016. Mr. Sherwood manages global franchise operations, development and administration activities for Gold's Gym. Prior to Gold's Gym, he served as the Senior Director of Franchise Sales at Sonic Drive In. Mr. Sherwood has also held senior franchise development roles with Fazoli's, ...

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Mark Siebert
CEO - iFranchise Group

Author of Franchise Your Business, The Guide to Employing the Greatest Growth Strategy Ever, and a franchise business consultant since 1985, Mr. Siebert founded the iFranchise Group in 1998 as an organization dedicated to developing long-term relationships with successful franchisor clientele. Mr. Siebert has worked with hundreds of franchisors, from start-up operations to corporate giants. He is ...

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Adam Siegelheim
Attorney - Stark & Stark

Adam J. Siegelheim is a Shareholder and member of the Business & Corporate and Franchise Groups. Mr. Siegelheim’s practice includes the representation of companies and non-profit organizations on a variety of issues including entity formation, financing, intellectual property, real estate, mergers and acquisitions, and insurance coverage matters.

Mr. Siegelheim’s franchise practice inclu ...

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Kenny Soto
Digital Marketing Manager - SCORE NYC

Kenny is a millennial digital marketer working for advertising agencies. He specializes in lead generation tactics for B2B businesses and has expertise in SEO and Social Media Marketing. Kenny presents on SEO and Social Media Marketing at SCORE workshops and participates in mentoring sessions requiring digital marketing expertise. ...

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Tom Spadea, Esq.
- Spadea Lignana LLC

Tom Spadea, after more than fifteen years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience, went on to receive his law degree at Temple University's Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His undergraduate degree is in Finance from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he graduated Cum Laude. Mr. Spadea is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE), a designation he earned in 2008 ...

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Tara Speer
Associate - Stark & Stark

Tara A. Speer is an Associate and member of Stark & Stark’s Business & Corporate Group, where she focuses her practice in franchise and employment matters. Ms. Speer concentrates her practice on helping franchisors manage all aspects of the franchise relationship including handling state regulations, advising on day-to-day franchise relations, and preparing disclosure documents, franchise agreemen ...

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Grant Springer
Army Veteran and Edgewater, MD Franchisee - Dream Vacations

Grant and Nadja Springer are the owners of a Dream Vacations travel franchise. Grant and Nadja leveraged the numerous entrepreneur programs offered to service members before and during transition. Utilizing resources and information provided in the SBA-Boots to Business program, Grant applied for and was awarded his Dream Vacations franchise in 2013 when he won the company’s annual “Operation Vetr ...

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Susan Steron
Rochester and Buffalo, NY Multi-Unit Franchisee - Sylvan Learning

Susan is the Director and Co-Owner of the five Sylvan Learning Centers in Rochester and Buffalo, New York. She enjoys meeting with families and working together to help each family meet their goals for growth and success. A graduate from Hobart, William Smith College, along with the William E. Simon School at the University of Rochester, Susan worked to expand the center locations. She brings a di ...

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Robert Stidham
Chief Executive Officer - Franchise Dynamics

Robert Stidham is the Chief Executive Officer of Franchise Dynamics, a full-service franchise sales outsourcing firm. With company and affiliate offices in Chicago, Scottsdale, Arizona and Springfield, Missouri, Franchise Dynamics currently represents a number of emerging to large-sized franchisors in a wide variety of categories throughout the United States and worldwide. He is the Founder ...

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Brenda Stuart-Luke
Senior Stakeholder Liaison - IRS

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Shelly Sun
Chairperson, IFA Board of Directors; CEO and Co-Founder - BrightStar Care

Shelly Sun is the CEO and co-founder of BrightStar Care®, a premium healthcare staffing company providing the full continuum of care, from homecare to supplemental staffing for corporate clients such as nursing homes and physicians. In 2005, BrightStar launched its franchising efforts, becoming the first and only franchising company in the country to specialize in both medical and non-medical care ...

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Ed Teixeira
Consultant - Franchise Growth Solutions

Ed has worked in the franchise industry for 35 years as an executive for several franchise companies. Mr. Teixeira has franchised existing businesses and is the author of the Franchise Buyers Manual and Franchising from the Inside Out. He’s been interviewed by numerous publications to include the Wall Street Journal, NY Newsday, Forbes, Franchise Times and Bloomberg News. One of his current projec ...

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Alicia Thompson-Healy
Rochester, NY Franchisee - Smallprint and Silver Pet Prints

Alicia Thompson-Healy has been a Franchisee in Rochester, NY since September 2013. She is an accomplished owner with exceptional business development. She has a proven track record that has resulted in her being recognized as the fastest growing Franchisee in the world, that is spread over four continents and 20 countries within the Smallprint and Silver Pet Prints Brand. After her first year i ...

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Mary E. Tomzack
President/Owner - Pure Franchise, LLP

Mary E. Tomzack is a well-known and respected franchise consultant and franchising specialist. Currently , she is the Founder and President of PureFranchise.com which assists individuals and companies in discovering franchise opportunities throughout the U.S. and internationally. Services are provided for franchisees, franchisors and investors.

She is the author of two popular franc ...

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David Townes
- Ripco Real Estate Corp.

David Townes, a licensed real estate broker in New York and New Jersey, joined Ripco Real Estate in 2015, bringing his more than 7 years of tenant and landlord experience in the New York tri-state area. Areas of specialty include New Jersey, New York, Hudson Valley, Long Island and the NYC boroughs. David’s expertise with retail consulting, investment sales, retail site selection and lease negotia ...

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John Twist
Vice President Franchise & Business Development - Batteries Plus Bulbs

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Curt Van Emon
Burlington, MA Franchisee - Primrose Schools

Curt Van Emon is passionate about early childhood education and dedicated to positively impacting local children’s lives in a safe and nurturing learning environment. As parents of two children, Curt and his wife, Rachel, understand the multitude of factors that are considered when weighing different child care options.

After starting a family, the Van Emon’s enrolled their two childre ...

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Burt Wallerstein
Certified Mentor - SCORE NYC

Owner of a sales, marketing, and sourcing agency for apparel and sundries; consultant to small wholesale and retail businesses. He is an expert in new business model development, brand building, retail, strategic alliances, supply chain, licensing, and importing.

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Mark Whittle, CFE
Chief Development Officer - Hooters of America, LLC

Mark’s robust experience spans 31 years in corporate and franchise development, specifically in site selection, franchise sales, design and construction for the restaurant industry. Mark currently serves as Chief Global Development Officer for Hooters of America, the iconic 33 year old brand with over 420 restaurants in 28 countries. Prior to joining Hooters, Mark was the Chief Development Offic ...

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Allison Wilson-Maher
Center City, Philadelphia, PA - Primrose Schools

Allison P. Wilson-Maher is passionate about education and dedicated to making a positive impact on local children’s lives in a safe and nurturing learning environment in Philadelphia.

As a first-generation college student, Allison has always placed a high value on education, but her journey to opening a school didn’t begin until she and her husband John were expecting their son. They st ...

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Tao Xu
Partner - DLA Piper US LLP

Tao Xu devotes his practice to franchising and distribution matters, especially international franchising, licensing and distribution transactions. Tao counsels a broad range of clients in their international expansions, including master franchising, multi-unit licensing, area development, single-unit licensing and direct investment (both joint venture and wholly owned). Tao is particularl ...

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Burt Yarkin
Managing Director - The McLean Group

Burt Yarkin is a Managing Director of The McLean Group’s San Francisco, CA office. Mr. Yarkin leads The McLean Group’s Franchise and Consumer, Specialty Retail & Restaurant practices, advising global companies, franchisors and large multi-unit franchisees on mergers & acquisitions and capital formation. The Franchise practice group is one of the most active investment banking groups nationally. M ...

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Ralph Yarusso, CFE
COO- Franchising - Grease Monkey International

Ralph Yarusso is a former Meineke Car Care Center franchise owner, and also served as Senior Franchise Development Specialist for Meineke and Maaco brands before more recently being appointed to oversee more than 500 centers as Regional Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Meineke. In his new position at Grease Monkey International, Yarusso will oversee operations and franchise developmen ...

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Philip Zeidman
Senior Partner - DLA Piper US LLP

Philip Zeidman devotes his practice to domestic and international distribution, licensing and franchising law. He was the first Chairman of the American Bar Association Antitrust Law Section’s Distribution and Franchising Committee, and is the Editor of Legal Aspects of Selling and Buying (Thomson/Reuters). He has served as General Counsel to the International Franchise Association throughout his ...

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Stephanie Zosak
Associate - DLA Piper US LLP

Stephanie Zosak focuses her practice in the areas of United States and international franchising, licensing and distribution.

Stephanie advises both large and small franchisors in the retail, fitness, and food service sectors on registration, disclosure and exemption requirements and prepares initial, renewal and amended forms of franchise disclosure documents, franchise agreements and o ...

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Carl Zwisler
Principal - Gray Plant Mooty

Carl Zwisler focuses his practice on representing franchisors, manufacturers, and investors in structuring, negotiating, and enforcing domestic and international franchise, licensing, distribution, and acquisition agreements. He also assists executives and general counsel in more than 85 industries or industry segments with creative solutions for developing and implementing business expansion stra ...

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