I am honored to serve this great Association and Family of KFC franchisees this year. I must first say thank you to Jim Mckenzie for an amazing year he led our family through. His leadership style is truly best in class and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to serve as his first vice president and learn from him. There are so many leaders that have gone before me in the KFC system that I could not begin to name them all. However, I have to say thank you to all of them for having made our association an amazing family of franchisees and associates of franchise organizations.
I want to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about my family and our journey as a franchisee. First and most importantly I have been married to my amazing wife Traci for 26 years. Traci made our family her career when our first child was born in 1999 after having received degrees from College of the Ozarks (CofO) in elementary education and psychology. She taught fourth grade for four years in a small town called Blue Eye, MO. I would not have been able to do what I have done in my career if she had not made the choice make our children hers. Our two amazing daughters are both in college today. Kelsey is a Senior at Missouri S&T studying computer science. Kaylea is Sophomore at Pittsburg State in Kansas studying graphic communications design.
I am a first-generation franchisee and I started my career back in 1996 as an “IT guy” for franchisee Jerome Talley. I have only ever applied for one job since finishing my accounting degree at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, MO. Jack Twitty who was VP of IT for Pendleton-Talley company hired me and I began my career the day after my last final exam in December of 1996. Our paths crossed when I applied for the night auditor position my accounting professor posted on the white board during my first accounting class at CofO. I can only imagine how different my life might have been if I had not made that one phone call. Jack was the GM of Tony Orlando Theater in Branson, MO and when he left to go to work for Pendleton-Talley he told me to give him a call when I graduated. College of the Ozarks is a unique school in that you not only get a degree while your there you are required to work on campus to pay for your tuition. My on-campus job gave me my knowledge of computer networks and the hardware that makes them work and my coursework gave me a strong background in accounting business, and computer programming. Jack was a former software engineer and was hired to build an integrated POS/accounting solution for the company. I continued my career at Pendleton Talley company through several changes in ownership ultimately working for Mike Treadwell at Treadwell Enterprises as his CFO in 2003. Treadwell Enterprises at its high point owned 96 restaurant locations in a number of different brands some quick service and some full service. In 2006 an opportunity came around that enabled me to take my shot at becoming a franchisee and well, the rest is history. I will tell you more of that story along with my history in our great franchise organizations in my next article.
If I have learned anything, I know great organizations exist because of the amazing people that make them great. Those organizations continue to be great because they pass on the knowledge and experience, they have learned to future generations. Tracy and I are looking forward to meeting new franchisees and getting to know other great operators in KFC. Until next time stay safe, protect your family, and sell more chicken!
Brandon Robertson, AKFCF President