WACO, Texas (July 11, 2013) – Neighborly, formerly Dwyer Group, a franchisor of seven service-based franchise brands, has announced the appointment of Mary Kennedy Thompson to the position of Director of Veteran Affairs, effective immediately.
Thompson, who serves as the president of Mr. Rooter, was appointed to this additional role in a newly-created position that aims to attract more veterans to franchise opportunities and job opportunities across the service brands within Neighborly. The parent company has been a leading national voice for careers with military veterans and, as the founding company of VetFran, has fostered a program that continues to promote the benefits of franchising for a growing pool of candidates exiting the Armed Forces. Today, VetFran includes more than 580 franchisor companies that offer their best financial discounts to military veterans seeking franchise ownership and accounts for more than 4,300 military veteran franchise owners.
“Mary has a level of expertise in this field that surpasses all expectations,” said Mike Bidwell, president and chief operating officer of Neighborly. “She has led the VetFran effort both within our franchise family and at the highest national level with the International Franchise Association. This additional title as Director of Veteran Affairs for Neighborly is well-deserved as she takes our goals to the next level in educating our military veterans about the world of franchising and our service brands. She speaks from experience about the path to business ownership for deserving men and women who have honorably served our country.”
“This is a topic that is dear to my heart,” Thompson said. “I am grateful to represent a program like VetFran and the service brands at Neighborly that long ago started a true movement to give back to our nation’s veterans in a way that matters to so many. With more than a million people exiting the military over the next five years, our message has never been more important.”
A military veteran, a former franchise owner, and a longtime executive for franchisors, Thompson knows the career path of transitioning from the military to civilian life first-hand. She was commissioned a U.S. Marine Corps officer in 1985 where she served eight years and achieved the rank of captain.
After service to her country, she went into franchising by opening and operating multiple locations for Cookies by Design. She sold her locations and went to work for the franchisor where she was promoted to president of Cookies by Design in 2004.
From there, she joined Neighborly as president of Mr. Rooter in 2006. In her tenure with The Neighborly, Thompson has also serviced as two-time chair of the International Franchise Association’s VetFram Committee. She is also the recipient of the 2013 Bonny LeVine Award, the IFA’s highest honor for a woman in franchising.
Thompson is a graduate of the University of Texas. She is married to Will Thompson and they have two grown children.
Neighborly, based in Waco, Texas, is a holding company of seven franchise businesses, each selling and supporting a different franchise under the following service marks: Aire Serv®, Glass Doctor®, The Grounds Guys™, Mr. Appliance®, Mr. Electric®, Mr. Rooter® (Drain Doctor in the UK and Portugal), and Rainbow International®. Collectively, these independent franchise concepts offer customers world-wide a broad base of residential and commercial services. In addition, Dwyer operates glass shops in New England under the Portland Glass brand name. Neighborly is a portfolio company of TZP Group LLC, a private equity firm based in New York that focuses on control investments in business and consumer services companies with enterprise values generally up to $200 million. More information on The Neighborly, or its franchise concepts, is available at www.dwyergroup.com.
Neighborly is also on Twitter at @DwyerGroup.