Who We Are

uring the course of their careers, our franchise consultants have amassed significant experience in international markets outside of the United States.  These engagements typically fall into one of three different areas:

  • U.S. franchisors looking to expand in foreign markets.
  • Foreign franchisors looking to expand into the U.S.
  • Foreign franchisors looking to expand in their own surrounding markets

Together, through our strategic alliance with Edwards Global Services (EGS), we bring a wealth of global experience and expertise to the table.

Bios of some of our internationally-experienced franchise consultants.

Mark Siebert, CEO of iFranchise Group, has personally assisted over 30 Fortune 1000 companies and over 200 start-up franchisors. Some of the more prominent companies he has helped include Ace Hardware, Amoco, Armstrong Flooring, Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels, Berlitz, BP Oil, Bridgestone/Firestone, Chevron, Circle K, Coldwell Banker, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Guinness, Hallmark, Horizon Pharmacies, IBM, John Deere, Lenscrafters, Line-X, Mobil Oil, National Easter Seals, Philips Van Heusen, Ryder Truck Rental, Shell Oil, Successories, and Texaco.

Mr. Siebert travels extensively to meet with companies considering franchising, and regularly conducts workshops and seminars on franchising in cities around the world. For more than two decades, Mr. Siebert has been actively involved in assisting U.S. franchisors in expanding abroad. His efforts have been responsible for the sale of numerous international licenses. He has also personally supervised the establishment of international consulting practices in Argentina, Chile, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Uruguay, Peru, and the Philippines.

Dave Hood, President of iFranchise Group, has held senior management and consulting positions within the franchising and retailing industries since 1988. Specializing in aggressive growth strategies and implementation, he is an expert in areas of franchise development and implementation, retail management, site selection, international business, and strategic planning.

Mr. Hood directed the franchised expansion of Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzels, one of the fastest-growing and most highly regarded franchise systems throughout the 1990s. During his tenure at Auntie Anne’s, the company expanded from a start-up concept to an international system comprising 640 retail locations, 320 corporate employees, and systemwide sales of over $200 million. As Vice President of Franchise Development, and later President, Mr. Hood played a key role in the development and implementation of the company’s business development strategies in both the U.S. and international markets.

Mr. Hood has also consulted with a wide range of franchised and non-franchised organizations in the U.S. and abroad, including Armstrong World Industries, Allstate Insurance, Australia Post, Ryder Truck Rental, Bridgestone, Nestle, El Pollo Loco, Einstein’s Bagels, Oreck, Culligan, Denny’s, the U.S. Navy, Haagen-Dazs, Subway, Cosi, Senior Helpers, Massage Envy, Twentieth Century Fox, and many others.

Jeff Abbott, Senior Consultant, iFranchise Group, has over 25 years of experience in franchising, and has served as an executive both for start-up franchisors and for some of the world’s largest and most successful franchisors. Focused in franchise strategy development, financial analysis, and management execution, Mr. Abbott’s consulting experience encompasses the restaurant, retail, and service segments of franchising.

Mr. Abbott has developed and implemented a new retail market positioning strategy for a multi-billion dollar company, originated the new store marketing and opening strategy, and a franchise inspection program for a new restaurant franchisor, and he has developed the successful franchise market penetration plan for an international firm’s initial entry into the United States market.

Charlie Weeks, Senior Consultant, International, iFranchise Group, provides international franchise and brand development project services for iFranchise Group clients.  With over 30+ years in international business management and development of global franchise systems, his career includes experience in the Restaurant, Foodservice and Franchising Sectors with significant U.S. and non-U.S. franchise systems, including Outback Steakhouse International (OSI Restaurant Partners, LLC), Pizza Hut Intl. (PepsiCo Foodservice International), Popeyes & Churchs (AFC Enterprises), A&W & Long John Silvers (acquired by YUM! Brands), and Europe’s Foster’s Hollywood Restaurants (now owned by the Zena Group, a YUM Brands Franchisee).

Mr. Weeks has lived and/or worked in 24 countries in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, the Americas, and Asia.  He has a long resume of speaking and teaching engagements for the IFA and has taught at the university level in both the U.S. and in Latin America.

William Edwards, President of EGS, has more than 30 years of successful operations, development, planning, executive and entrepreneurial experience in the oil & gas, information technology, management consulting and licensing sectors.  He has lived in China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey and the U.S.  He has worked on projects in 62 international markets.  He has personally directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Near East.  He has been a senior international executive of Atlantic Richfield and AlphaGraphics.

Robert G. Shaw, Managing Director of EGS, has over 25 years of experience in international and U.S. business development.  His experience includes business-to-business and business-to-consumer market segments and spans both retail and non-retail businesses with publicly traded and privately owned firms.  His expertise encompasses strategic planning and tactical execution, from initial market selection to building successful, global businesses.

William Gabbard, Senior Director, EGS William started his own company immediately after college. Two years later he began franchising his concept and by 1996 he had a total of over 800 units operating in 26 countries around the world.

Following the sale of his company owned and franchise system, William began consulting as the CEO/President of a publicly traded firm in the International and Domestic management of established franchise operations.

Subsequently, William took a position as the Vice President of Domestic/International franchise operations for an established 20-year-old franchise chain starting a new concept and awarded over 100 franchise territories within 4 years.

In 2004, William identified an entrepreneurial 14-year-old small concept in the children sector and partnered with two other well-known franchise experts to acquire and grow this concept through franchising. In 2008, the International Franchise Association awarded this franchise system “The Rocky Mountain Excellence in Franchising” award for “Best New Concept”.

William has assisted franchise systems from the QSR and casual dining sectors to service franchisors in the packaging, logistics, children’s learning, and mobile operations to business to business, to business to consumers. This effort led to the awarding over 40 master licenses for numerous franchise firms around the world.

Michelle McClurg, Director of Operations, EGS Michelle McClurg brings more than 40 years of corporate management experience to the EGS team.  Her background includes 30 years with AT&T with an emphasis on new initiatives, process improvements and cost reductions.  Ms. McClurg has provided project management leadership for several Fortune 100 companies including IBM, AT&T and Hewlett-Packard. She has successfully directed global projects in more than 31 countries, setting new standards in client satisfaction.

Ms. McClurg has worked with several franchisors in their development and operations efforts. As the Director of Franchise Relations, Ms. McClurg planned and facilitated franchise training programs and domestic and international Discovery Days. She has managed the successful openings of multiple new franchise locations, including planning, budgeting, loan acquisition, construction, equipment and décor. Additionally Ms. McClurg was responsible for the design, development, and delivery of procedures, processes, forecasting and tracking the Franchise Resale Program and International Franchise Development Program.

She has successfully executed multiple concurrent global projects and has received numerous awards and accolades from companies and customers alike.  Ms. McClurg has been the recipient of five National Excellence Awards for sales, client satisfaction, process improvements and cost initiatives in addition to regional and local commendations and awards.

Ms. McClurg has been a licensed real estate broker in the State of Colorado for more than 10 years. She is a member of the National Realtor Association, the Colorado Realtor Association and local real estate organizations.

Ursula F. Aleixo, Senior Director, EGS – Latin America
With more than 18 years experience in US Franchise Operations, Ms. Aleixo now resides in her native country Brazil. Her strong local business connections and successful international experience in operations, global sourcing, training, and field support are valuable resources for EGS Clients.

Ms. Aleixo brings strong business acumen in driving revenue and profitable franchise growth to provide assistance in international Master Franchise Candidate selection, start-up and operations. Skilled in multicultural business relation development, global business expansion, territory management, and franchise center sales growth, Ms. Aleixo is fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Italian.

Ms. Aleixo has a track record of franchise sector success in (1) Cost reduction, (2) Successful conflict resolution negotiations within foreign markets (3) Same-center sales growth, (4) Forging strong relations with US franchise members to provide crucial mentorship and business analysis, (5) Increase in productivity through introduction of new production, design alternatives and employee training initiatives and (6) international business acquisition and agreement negotiations.

Ms. Aleixo holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Albertson College of Idaho USA and continues work on an Executive Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Management from Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Recipient of numerous business awards including multiple Gold Awards for Sales Growth and Silver Award for Operational Excellence, Ms. Aleixo served in multiple roles within Signs Now, a division of Allegra Network LLC, such as International Support Manager, Regional Director, Franchise Support Coordinator, General Manager, and Manager.


Interested in finding out how iFranchise Group can help you with your international franchising efforts? Request more information about our international services or call us at 708-957-2300.