IFA partners with The UPS Store, SBA Administrator Mills, Mass. Lt. Gov. Murray to support veterans


On Veterans Day, IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira joined SBA Administrator Karen Mills, Massachusetts Lt. Governor Tim Murray and Stuart Mathis, President of The UPS Store ® to announce a partnership to help veterans own franchise small businesses at a The UPS Store ® location owned by Jamie Salisbury, a veteran small business owner.

Steve Caldeira, IFA President and CEO alongside SBA Administrator Karen Mills and Mass. Lt. Governor Tim Murray at a The UPS Store ® in Boston.

The event followed The First Lady Michelle Obama’s announcement Nov. 10 that the franchise industry committed to hire or recruit 80,000 veterans as employees or small business owners by 2014, including 5,000 Wounded Warriors, as part of the IFA’s Operation Enduring Opportunity campaign.

“We are very pleased to partner with the SBA and Administrator Mills for this important initiative,” said IFA President & CEO Steve Caldeira at the event. “The SBA has been a lifeline to small businesses during the economic downturn, and with tens of thousands of service men and women returning home, increased opportunities for employment and small business ownership are critical to help veterans who served our country.”

The visit included veterans who have found career stability and success in franchising. According to a recent study based on U.S. Census data, there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise establishments in the United States, providing jobs directly for 815,000 Americans, many through the IFA’s VetFran program, originally established in 1991, and subsequently re-vamped after 9/11. Responding now to veteran unemployment rates of 11.5 percent (22 percent for veterans under 25 years old), IFA is launching Operation Enduring Opportunity to offer returning veterans career paths in franchising including employment and ownership on a broader scale.  


SBA Administrator Karen Mills, Steve Caldeira, IFA President and CEO, Massachusetts Lt. Governor Tim Murray, and Stuart Mathis, President of The UPS Store ® visit with Captain Jamie Salisbury, a UPS Store Franchisee, and U.S. Army Veteran in Boston on Veterans Day. 

“We often speak about the sacred trust we have with our service men and women, and one way we honor that trust is ensuring they have every possible opportunity for success,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. “On this patriotic day, it is only natural for us to reflect on our nation’s veterans who have the leadership skills and experience to become successful entrepreneurs and small business owners. The impact of this initiative will mean veterans and their families will get the chance to pursue their dreams as entrepreneurs and create jobs to drive economic growth at a critical time for our country.” 

Jamie Salisbury, a The UPS Store franchisee, served in the Army for three years—in Colorado, South Korea and Fort Devens and secured his first loan to open a The UPS Store franchise through the SBA. Today, he owns four The UPS Store locations in the greater Boston area.

The UPS Store ® has a long history of veteran support. Approximately 150 The UPS Store locations have opened under the VetFran program, a total financial incentive valued at more than $700,000.

On Nov. 9, The UPS Store ® announced new financial incentives, valued at approximately $300,000, to help up to 10 qualified U.S. military veterans open their own locations as part of a national initiative unveiled by the White House.

“We are extremely proud of our franchisees, especially those who are military veterans,” Mathis said. “Veteran unemployment rates of 11.7 percent – 22 percent for veterans under 25 years-old – are undeserved among the men and women who have honorably served to help keep our nation free.”

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Sr. Director of Communications


Veterans Job Bank brings franchise industry jobs closer to vets


On November 2, IFA members participated in a webinar with Aneesh Chopra, the Chief Technology Officer of the United States, to preview the Veterans Job Bank, which President Obama unveiled during a White House press conference Nov. 7.  The Veteran Job Bank is part of the National Resource Directory, a resource directory for veterans that will provides one site that veterans can use to search for job opportunities as they transition back into home life.  

Beginning today, IFA members and all employers can use this new search tool designed to help connect veterans with employers looking to hire them. It already searches over 500,000 job postings and is growing. In a few easy steps, companies can make sure the job postings on their own websites are part of this Veterans Job Bank.

All of these services can also be accessed by visiting www.whitehouse.gov/vets.

To develop the site, Mr. Chopra and his team developed a schema that any career site or career page can use to tag a job so the job opportunity automatically appears in the Veterans Job Bank.  This tagging schema can be implemented three different ways and is easily integrate with any web site.  By using this tagging schema to post your jobs in the Veteran Job Bank, you are not only finding qualified workers, you are helping those who served and most importantly helping grow U.S. economy.

For more information about how IFA members can use the tagging schema to list their job opportunities targeted toward veterans on the Veteran Job Bank, please visit The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Posted by Matt Haller, IFA Director of Communications

U.S. Air Force Food & Beverage Division thanks VetFran


As IFA continues its outreach to tens of thousands of veterans returning home from wars in Afghanistan and Southwest Asia to consider exploring franchise ownership, the association recently joined with the International Military Community Executives Association (IMCEA) at their 2011 Annual Meeting. IMCEA is the only international organization that exists specifically to advance the professional development of U.S. military MWR/Services managers around the world.

Following the meeting, IMCEA President Fred McKenney, United States Air Force, thanked the IFA for its support and offered praise on the IFA’s VetFran program.

“IMCEA has a fundamental mission of networking and connecting our military community to worthwhile opportunities with industry and IFA is a natural match, said McKenney. “ The strategy of recruiting our foodservice military members to pursue follow on career opportunities in the franchise environment is brilliant.  The initiative takes advantage of the military training, their ability and willingness to follow very specific standards and their experience operating in a structured operational environment.  I believe we have only begun to scratch the surface on growing a relationship that will benefit our veterans and the franchise industry.  I look forward to expanding our relationship with IFA in the future and am excited about the potential rewards.”

For more information about VetFran, visit www.vetfran.com.

VetFran highlights franchising at military conference


As the nation prepares for the return of tens of thousands of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, IFA is gearing up to assist veterans with its recognized VetFran program, including participation in a military food service leaders and managers conference in San Antonio, Texas last week.

The annual Armed Forces Food and Beverage Workshop drew food service leaders from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard for training and career development.  IFA brought VetFran to the conference to make service leaders aware of the program and opportunities in franchising.

Master Sergeant Roberta Kithcart of the Air Force’s Force Support Combat Training unit based at Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia spoke of her desire to open a franchise coffee shop. She explored franchising opportunities years ago before redeploying due to increased U.S. Air Force needs. “I would like to look into the opportunities of franchising again,” she said.

Kithcart was joined by Lockheed Martin Security & Emergency Services representative Kristen Maloney, an Air Force reservist. “I think this program is very relevant, and I would like to learn more,” she said.

They were met at IFA’s VetFran booth by Dick Crawford, former IFA Board Member and McDonald’s and National Restaurant Association government relations chief, who helped organize mentoring and career development aspects of the conference.

“People coming out of the military are ideal candidates to be franchisees or senior management within a franchise structure,” Crawford said. “Also, with expected force reductions, there will be increased outflow of good candidates.”

(From left, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Roberta Kithcart, former IFA Board Member Dick Crawford, and Lockheed Martin Security & Emergency Services representative and U.S. Air Force Reservist Kristen Maloney)

He added, “One of the challenges is to raise the level of awareness of franchising, what it is and how do you get into it.”

“I’m thinking about what to do after I leave,” said Technical Sergeant David S. Baker, an instructor at Dobbins AFB. As he picked up issues of Franchising World and VetFran promotional materials, Baker said he would be looking to the IFA for more information.

USAF Foodservice manager Aaron Aulner said he sees a strong connection between military training and franchising. “We have specific ways of doing things, specific rules, like ‘if you’re on time, you’re late.’ Sometimes on the outside, it’s hard because there is less structure. So the format of franchising could be very helpful to vets. I have a few airmen who work for me who I will tell about this program.”

(U.S. Air Force food service manager Aaron Aulner said VetFran could be “huge” for veterans as they transition to the civilian economy)

Aulner knows from experience. He worked at Burger King starting at age 16 before joining the Air Force two years later. At Burger King, he started out in the kitchen and was promoted to manager.

He added, “I think [VetFran] could be huge” as a way to help veterans transition into the civilian economy.

Jim Krueger, Chief of the Air Force’s Food & Beverage Business Development & Analysis Branch, thanked the IFA for participating in the Workshop. “We very much appreciate that the IFA is taking the time to support and educate our troops. We heard nothing but positive reaction from attendees.”

Fred McKenney, Air Force Services Agency Chief of the Air Force Food & Beverage Division, Col. Sandy Adams, Commander of the Air Force Services Agency, Col. Patrick Dunn, Director, Services Operations based at Lackland Air Force Base, and International Military Community Executives Association President Louis Van De Mark, Deputy of the 10th Force Support Squadron, also attended the conference.

(Petty Officer and Officers Club Manager Wallace Haggins, U.S. Coast Guard)

VetFran launches recruiting effort, campaign to enhance veteran small business ownership


As tens of thousands of service men and women return from deployment in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan starting this summer, the IFA will be lobbying Congress to re-introduce the Help Our Veterans Own Franchise Act (HVOF), to do our part to ensure that America’s brave young men and women returning from all corners of the world have opportunities to become entrepreneurs and transition to successful lives in the civilian economy.

For veterans, unemployment rose to 12.1 percent in May from 10.6 percent a year ago, so with President Barack Obama declaring June 22 that he will withdraw 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by September 2012, now is a critical time to ramp up the awareness of franchise business ownership as a path for America’s veterans returning home to go into business for themselves and put the skills they’ve learned in the battlefield to use owning and operating their own franchise business.

Last week in Washington, IFA’s senior team met with Mary Kennedy Thompson, President of Mr. Rooter (The Dwyer Group) at the IFA Office. Mary is a Marine Corps veteran, chairs the VetFran Committee, and is 110% dedicated to leading the IFA’s efforts to pass the bill and take VetFran to a new level of success.

The Help Our Veterans Own Franchises Act will offer franchisors a tax credit for recruiting veteran franchisees, and it will also offer veteran franchisees a credit on the balance of fees not covered by VetFran franchisors.

At its recent board meeting in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, the IFA Board of Directors approved additional financial resources to place a greater focus on VetFran and re-introducing the bill on Capitol Hill, including a paid media campaign to support the introduction of the bill in July and to further support this important effort.

VetFran was born out of the desire of the late Don Dwyer Sr., founder of The Dwyer Group, to say thank you to our veterans returning from the first Gulf War.  Reborn and re-energized by his daughter, Dina Dwyer-Owens after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, VetFran’s ranks have grown to include more than 403 franchise systems that voluntarily offer financial incentives to veterans seeking to become franchise small-business owners.  Through the VetFran program, more than 2000 servicemen and women have become franchisees and more are joining every month.

IFA will launch Operation Building Opportunity at the September 2011 IFA Public Affairs Conference. In a special reception in the Rayburn Foyer of the U.S. Congress, IFA will honor all those veterans who are franchisees, with special recognition of those who have recruited and assisted other veterans in successfully transitioning to franchising careers. The IFA will announce franchisor and franchisee partners in a reception to include senior military and veteran officials, along with Members of Congress, kicking off a multi-tiered education campaign to alert veterans and their families to Operation Building Opportunity.  

We need your help identifying current veteran franchisees as we launch this stepped-up campaign. We are also seeking stories, anecdotes, and photos of veteran franchisees. Please contact Jenna Weisbord at jweisbord@franchise.org to support this important campaign.