They studied hard. They did their homework. They became educated, empowered and effective advocates for franchising before the world s most powerful deliberative body, the United States Congress.
By the time the last one of the more than 450 foot-sore, but exhilarated franchising leaders climbed into the hotel bus--high-riving other advocates as she searched for a seat--the success of the International Franchise Association's 10th Annual Public Affairs Conference was confirmed.
Face to face with members of Congress and their staffs, these pro-franchising advocates could not have come to the nation's capital at a better time. Lawmakers, just returning from a Labor Day recess and district work period, were acutely receptive to the concerns of franchise small-business owners and operators.
With inspiration and information provided by speakers including Pulitzer Prize-winning political columnist and commentator George Will, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.), the grassroots team had launched an effective campaign to inform Congress about the major challenges facing franchising. Founding sponsor of the event was ADP Inc.; The UPS Store sponsored Will's appearance.
"I was able to discuss such pertinent issues as health-care reform, protection for American small businesses and credit issues facing all small-business owners," said Country Place Living President and COO Cynthia Gartman, CFE, who met with Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) and staff members of Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. "In each instance, our meetings were met with interest and one of genuine concern in how we move our country and our particular challenges forward."
EMed-ID CEO Lonnie Helgerson, CFE, called the conference "an incredibly unique experience."
"I believe the time spent there sharing the small-business view on health-care reform, capital access and the card-check issue is some of the most important work I could do to help our franchisees grow stronger businesses," noted Mr. Rooter Corporation President Mary Kennedy Thompson, CFE.
IFA named Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.) its Legislator of the Year and honored nearly 50 outstanding franchise owners as Franchisees of the Year during a dinner sponsored by Dunkin' Brands. Meineke Car Care Centers took home the Most Valuable Player award for overall participation, while The Dwyer Group won the All Star Award for bringing the largest number of attendees, and direct-mail...