President’s Welcome

Welcome to the AKFCF!

I’m used to being patient and taking my time to get to my destination. At least when it comes to my career. I started at KFC in 1983 and worked every position in the restaurant. Eventually, I was working in multiple restaurants and, after 23 years, became a franchisee in 2006. But it was only 5 years ago that I bought out my partner, Jim Cocolin and, at the age of 55, found myself 100% owner of my business. I now own 7 KFCs in Pennsylvania and I’m in the process of developing another.

My journey to be President of the AKFCF has taken me the long way around as well. My KFC brothers and sisters from the Northeast Association got me started with the promise that “We will not let you fail”. Because we are family.  I served two terms as Northeast president before joining the AKFCF’s executive committee, first as Finance Chair and then Treasurer.

Over that time, I’ve had the privilege of serving on the EC under many AKFCF presidents. I’ve learned so much from each president and their different styles of leadership. And as my term begins, reality is setting in, that it’s now my turn to be the AKFCF President.

Throughout my year, I am determined to focus on three important areas:

  1. Strengthening the feeling of “family” that separates us from other associations. I believe this is the foundation of what makes this association so great. Of course, we do what we do for our families at home. But when you truly care about the people you work with, you’re also with family while you’re working. We need to continue to help and support each other. This “Foundation Of Family” will be my theme for the year.
  2. Focusing on the education and training that are so important to us in our restaurants and our companies. We need to emphasize our need for a successful and robust Education Committee with our corporate partners, now more than ever. Our shared goal should be a World Class Education Committee, second to none!! This is why I’ve asked Matt Hansen of KBP to chair our Education Committee in the coming year. I have confidence that Matt and his committee will accomplish great things.
  3. Maintaining and increasing Regional Strength!! We know our regions are our members and it is vital to the health of our system that we have active, engaged boards. Alignment is certainly not our enemy. Our greatest strength comes from the problems we resolve as one well-oiled machine, national and regional.

I’m happy to say that these goals are part of a shared vision of the executive team. Those who are coming after me are equally committed to the constant upward movement of our association.

The long way around has been the perfect road for me to take. It brings me here with a love for the KFC brand and a strong appreciation for this big, badass KFC family. That family includes the NCAC, vendors, corporate partners and the AKFCF staff. This appreciation carries over to my Director of Operations, Michelle Lundy, and all RGM’s and restaurant teams across the country, for the work they do to keep our customers happy and coming back. They give us our purpose…our marching orders.

This KFC family, past and present, has carried me down this road and set me down gently in this place, at this time. I’m ready for the challenges. I’m ready for the opportunity. I’m ready to give back to the KFC family that has given me so much. I’m looking forward to helping the system in any way I can.

Keith Cole