It’s Been An Honor And A Privilege
Serving as Chairman of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees has been one of the highlights of my career as a franchisee. Since the time I joined my local FOA many years ago, I recognized the importance of having an organization that unites franchisees so they can share their knowledge and experience, as well as engage with our franchisor in one voice to express our issues and work on solutions. I have also realized the importance of sharing your expertise and leadership skills to help the franchisee community in every way possible.
I first began my association with 7-Eleven in 1985, when I worked as a cashier for a franchisee in California. I then worked my way up to store manager, which I did for 12 years. In May 2001, I moved from California to Las Vegas to operate my own store. From there, I worked my way to having three stores.
While in Las Vegas, I joined the local FOA and was a member for almost 14 years. During that time I was elected Vice President of the organization, and then President for about seven years. Simultaneously, I served as a Vice Chairman of the National Coalition for three terms. In 2016, I was elected Executive Vice Chairman, and in 2018 I started my first term as Chairman of the National Coalition. By this time I had moved from Las Vegas to Texas, and became President of the South Texas FOA.
I have sailed a long journey from cashier to head of the national organization, and at every single step I tried my best to help franchisees and improve the system for everyone. Even as a member of many SEI-led committees, I tried my best to represent franchisee interests. I always led with integrity and kept my word, which are two very important qualities to me.
The job of a franchisee leader is not easy, whether it be on the local or national level. Besides running your store, you take on the added responsibilities that include representing your colleagues in meetings with SEI management, organizing Board meetings and events like trade shows and the convention, talking to vendors to solve delivery or invoicing issues, and raising funds to keep the organization going, to name a few.
During my administration, I went through at least three lawsuits. I’m the first chairman to ever have to deal with a global pandemic that affected many aspects of our personal and professional lives, and continues to do so. Due to all the restrictions at the outset of the pandemic, we couldn’t hold an in-person convention and trade show, so the National Coalition officers and I organized a virtual trade show that benefited vendors, franchisees, and the organization. But even though revenue was down big time in this period, we saved money by lowering expenses and were able to keep the National Coalition in good financial health.
Throughout my tenure I, along with the other National Coalition officers, served at the behest of the Board. Whatever motion they passed, we followed to the best of our efforts. My team can take credit for the best transparency ever. Ours was the first administration to allow any franchisee to ask any question regarding the finances and expenses of the organization, such as loss and profit, convention revenues, and so forth.
As I step down as Chairman, I would like to thank every franchisee and Board member for allowing me to help you. I appreciate all your support throughout the years. It was a great privilege and honor to serve you. And now, after this long journey, I’m moving on to the next phase of my life.
By the time you read this article, I will be out of the system. It’s been a long 36 years, and now it’s time for me to retire and enjoy time with my family. At the end of the day, as I look back and reflect, I am very happy I was able to send my kids to college and give them a great education. I am also happy and grateful for all the franchisee and vendor friends I have made over the years.
I wish the best of luck to the new executive officers and their communication efforts with SEI. I hope they are successful in changing the terms of the franchise agreement to benefit both parties and improve franchisees’ bottom lines.