New President Announced

The International Franchise Association recently got together for its 45th annual convention in Hollywood, with a new President and Chairman. Laura Fenwick of the IFA's Media Relations Department reports

Quality programming, an action-packed agenda, a famous keynote speaker, a fabulous resort property, awards ceremonies, debates and discussions, the Taste of Franchising... the list could go on and on, but among the reasons IFA's 45th Annual Convention drew more attendees - 2,074 - and offered the largest exhibit hall - 200 booths - of any event in the association's history is the fact that the association's membership has also broken all established records - 1,010 franchise systems, more than 8,000 franchisees, 428 suppliers - and that rapidly-growing community is eager to upgrade their knowledge, sharpen their skills and rub elbows with their peers.

Founded in 1960, IFA represents nearly 1,000 franchise companies ranging from many of the world's most popular brands to small businesses adopting the business-format model of franchising for the first time. Thousands of franchisees hold membership in the association as well as hundreds of companies that supply goods and services to the rapidly growing sector.

More than 18 million Americans are employed in jobs created by franchised businesses, noted a 2004 study for the IFA Educational Foundation formulated by PricewaterhouseCoopers. More than 760,000 franchised establishments account for a total US economic output of more than $1.53 trillion, almost 10 per cent of the private-sector economy.

This year's convention was the first since the IFA appointed Matthew Shay (above, left) as President. Since joining IFA in 1993, Shay has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel, as well as Vice President and Director of Government Relations. He has represented the association at legislative and regulatory proceedings at both federal and state levels.

Shay is a graduate of the Ohio State University College of Law, and received his undergraduate degree at the Wittenberg University. He is also a graduate of the US Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Organization Management and holds the designation of Certified Association Executive (CAE), which is conferred by the American Society of Association Executives.

With the 109th Congress getting underway, Shay said his first order of business is to advance the sector's top legislative priorities: affordable healthcare, litigation reform, robust Small Business Administration lending programmes, immigration reform and the collection of key franchising data by the US government.

During the convention Dick Rennick, CFE, founder and CEO of American Leak Detection, became IFA Chairman. Rennick, honoured as the association's 1997 'Entrepreneur of the Year', has served on the IFA's board of directors since 1999. He was instrumental in creating the successful "Taste of Franchising," which produced another standing-room-only convention event this year.

The IFA's 46th Annual Convention is scheduled for 25th-28th February 2006 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, California.