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Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine Announces 2013 MVP Award Winners

March 8th, 2013News Releases

LOS GATOS, Calif., February 12, 2013Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine today announced the winners of its prestigious MVP (Most Valuable Player) Awards. Each year this recognition honors a select group of franchisees who have demonstrated outstanding performance in building their businesses, growing their brands, and serving their communities. Over one hundred multi-unit franchisees were nominated this year.

“We congratulate these seven dedicated and outstanding franchisees,” said Therese Thilgen, CEO of Franchise Update Media Group, publisher of Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine. “These are the kinds of business operators who inspire others with their vision, leadership, and success.”

This year’s MVP winners were selected in 7 distinct categories of recognition: Noble Cause, Influencer, Innovation, American Dream, Role Model, Spirit of Franchising Leadership, and Veteran. The 2013 winners are:

Noble Cause – William Ray Bruce, COO at Abundant Brands; franchisee of Subway, Costa Vida, Roxberry Juice, and Big Al’s BBQ.

Noble Cause – Hurricane Sandy –  Steve Baliva, Vice President of Operations of Metz Culinary; franchisee of TGI Friday’s, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Wolfgang Puck Express.

• Influencer – Samantha Goldsmith, founder of Goldsmith Companies; franchisee of Red Mango.

Innovation – Joe Hertzman, founder of the Radcliff Group; franchisee of Rally’s.

• American Dream – Guillermo Perales, founder of Sun Holdings; franchisee of Burger King, Popeyes, Arby’s Golden Corral, and CiCi’s.

Role Model – Spencer Smith, founder of the Smith Group; franchisee of Aaron’s.

Spirit of Franchising – Danny Sonenshine, founder of Far West Restaurant Group; franchisee of Wingstop.

Veteran – Kevin and Laurel Wilkerson, franchisees of Marco’s Pizza.

The MVP Award winners will be honored at a special session of the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference on Thursday, March 28 at 9:15 a.m., and profiled in Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine.

The 2013 Multi-Unit Franchising Conference, “Driving Profitability,” takes place March 27–29 in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace. For details, visit

About Franchise Update Media Group

Founded in 1988, Franchise Update Media Group (FUMG) produces lead generation websites, magazines, research, newsletters, books, and conferences that serve franchisors and franchisees online, in print, and in person. FUMG delivers a unique combination of news, educational, and franchise development sources that help franchisors, multi-unit franchisees, and suppliers achieve their growth objectives. For more information, visit