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Executive Ladder


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Lori Johnson was appointed vice president of brand management at Dwyer Group. The company also added Imran Jooma as a new board member.

Tropical Smoothie Café brought on Barry Schnur as chief financial and administrative officer. Along with leading the company’s fiscal functions and day-to-day operations, Schnur will play a significant role in developing and implementing technology initiatives for the franchise system.

Brian Dixon

Brian Dixon

Blink Fitness hired David Collignon as its new vice president of operations. Collignon will play an important role in expanding Blink Fitness, which hopes to reach 300 locations nationwide by 2020.

Southeast Franchise Forum named Clarissa Bradstock as its new chairman, and added Bill Bishop, Robert May and Kathryn Rookes as board members.

Todd Knudsen joined BIP Capital as the new vice president of finance. “The opportunity presented to me at BIP Capital was a natural next step in my professional career and one that I am very excited about,” said Knudsen.

Lapels Dry Cleaning hired franchising veteran Tom Coba as a new franchise adviser.

Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery named Mercedes Contreras as its new director of marketing. Contreras was a marketing director at Lavidge, where she led the Massage Envy account.

Bill Herman was promoted to president of B&B Franchise Group, a developer and franchisor of Burger and Beer restaurant concepts. Jeremy Hetherington has been named director of operations, and Amanda Conforti has been promoted to brand development manager.

Pie Five Pizza named Wendy Moats as its new senior vice president of operations. “Wendy really gets the Pie Five Pizza vision. With more than 25 years of multi-unit leadership experience in retail and restaurant companies and a proven history of increasing sales, minimizing costs and delivering outstanding customer experiences, she is uniquely qualified to lead us through current and future opportunities for the Pie Five brand,” said Randy Gier, CEO of Rave Restaurant Group.

C12 Group appointed Mike Sharrow as its new CEO and president.

Jennifer Gamble

Jennifer Gamble

Hardware Club added Evan Cohen as partner in charge of community growth.

Billy Sims BBQ selected Jennifer Gamble as its new vice president of marketing.

Brian Dixon was brought on to oversee all new sites, acquisitions, and related real estate for Team Oney operations with Papa John’s, Qdoba, and Topper’s Creamery.

Happy Tax hired Melissa Salyer as its new executive vice president. “With Melissa and other key leaders in place, we are ready to continue driving the tide of change currently underway in the industry,” Happy Tax founder and CEO Mario Costanz said about the appointment.

Daniel McKew joined Bridge Funding Group, a subsidiary of BankUnited, as president. Greg Faherty was brought on as the new director of operations.

Dr. Charles Webb joined AFC Urgent Care Portland, formerly AFC Doctors Express, as its new chief medical officer. In his new role, Dr. Webb will work closely with the leadership team of AFC Portland in growing and developing the clinical staff.

Chicken Salad Chick appointed Tom Carr as vice president of marketing, and added Carrie Evans as director of franchise development.

Nathan Millhouse joined Fresh Coat Painters as the company’s new vice president of operations.

Focus Brands named Rick Altizer as the new president of McAlister’s Deli.

Brinker International appointed Rick Badgley as its senior vice president and chief people officer. Brinker International also promoted Kelli Valade to president of Chili’s Bar and Grill.

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, added Stacie Faulds as its new director of marketing.

Window World hired Dan O’Shea as vice president of marketing.

Danny Shapiro joined Home Care Assistance as its COO. The company also added David Norton to its board of directors.

Yum Brands named Keith Siegner as its vice president of investor relations and corporate strategy.

GPS Hospitality, a Burger King and Popeyes Louisiana Chicken franchisee, appointed Michael Lippert as chief operating officer.


Steve Clemente

Steve Clemente

Primrose’s new president begins career in education

Before his interview for the president position at Primrose Schools, Steve Clemente decided to do some undercover work.

He registered his 12-year-old daughter as a 5-year-old, and personally explored the Primrose location in Kennesaw, Georgia, as if he were a parent looking to enroll his child. Working as a pre-undercover boss, Clemente spent an hour receiving a tour and meeting with the school’s franchisee, Amy Roper. He was stunned at the school’s passion, authenticity and how happy the children were.

Paired with Clemente’s lifelong ambition to work in education, this experience got him hooked on Primrose before accepting the position, which he ultimately did this spring. “I said to myself, ‘If Anna was five, she would be going here, because this is outstanding.’ I did undercover work at some of our competition, and I did not have that same feeling,” Clemente said.

After more than 20 years of executive leadership at Target, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Nebraska Book Company, Clemente became Primrose’s new president in May.

“I’ve spent my whole life around delivering great service,” Clemente said. “When I think about Primrose Schools and that promise we make to our children, it’s very powerful.”

Another part of what hooked Clemente is the company’s curriculum of teaching both education and life skills such as friendship, respect and honesty to its young students.

With 325 schools open now, Acworth, Georgia-based Primrose and its executive staff hope to expand in both traditional and urban areas like Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, as well as the Northeast and West Coast.

—Alex Van Abbema

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