Mr. Rooterr President Joins First Lady to Announce Veteran Hiring Commitments


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WACO, Texas (Nov. 10, 2011) – Along with First Lady Michelle Obama, Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Corporation and chairwoman of the International Franchise Association’s VetFran Committee, announced “Operation Enduring Opportunity”.

With veteran unemployment rates of 11.7 percent, the IFA launched this campaign to offer returning veterans career paths in franchising. It includes the commitment of the franchising industry’s more than 825,000 franchise establishments to hire and recruit 75,000 veterans and 5,000 wounded warriors by 2014.

“Having the support of The White House to recognize our military members, create jobs and establish franchised businesses in communities sends a huge message for the will and determination of this country,” Thompson said. “Through Operation Enduring Opportunity, we’re encouraging franchise businesses to offer jobs and career opportunities to veterans, wounded warriors and their families.”

Veterans have a proven track record of success in franchising. Take Thompson, for example. She served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, achieving the rank of captain. After retiring from the service, she became a successful multi-unit franchise owner of Cookies By Design before becoming the franchisor’s president.

In 2006, Thompson became president of Mr. Rooter Corporation, a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Inc. Its late founder Don Dwyer Sr. started the VetFran Program to thank veterans returning from the first Gulf War by offering them financial incentives.

His daughter and chairwoman and CEO of The Dwyer Group Dina Dwyer-Owens revamped the program after 9/11. Since the VetFran’s inception in 1991, more than 2,100 veterans have become franchise business owners. 

“The men and women who protect the very freedom by which we do business have proven that they are the kind of leaders for those businesses as well,” Dwyer-Owens said. “We will continue to thank them through VetFran, helping to provide a transition to civilian life with opportunities for business ownership that they deserve.”

Today, the program includes 428 franchise systems that voluntarily offer financial incentives to veterans seeking to become franchise small-business owners. According to a recent study based on U.S. Census data, there are more than 66,000 veteran-owned franchise establishments in the United States. They provide 815,000 jobs.

The goal of Operation Enduring Opportunity is to increase these numbers, offering veterans more employment and ownership opportunities on a broader scale in the franchising industry.

“This is exactly what we hoped for when Joining Forces was set into motion by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden—private sector companies stepping up for veterans and families,” said Captain Brad Cooper, U.S. Navy, and Executive Director of the White House Joining Forces Initiative. “The franchise industry’s commitment represents the largest employment commitment seen to date from the private sector.”

IFA member companies will be able to use the Joining Forces "Veterans Job Bank," a new search enhancement tool to enable franchise recruiting and hiring operations to more effectively reach veterans.  The Administration, in collaboration with the coalition (Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!) released a data standard that allows businesses to retain existing job posting preferences while enabling veterans to more effectively search for job opportunities.

For more information on IFA’s VetFran program, please visit

About Mr. Rooter®:

Established in 1970, Mr. Rooter is an all-franchised, full-service plumbing and drain cleaning with approximately 300 franchises worldwide. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its Franchise 500 and Franchise Times Top 200, Mr. Rooter franchisees provide services to both residential and commercial customers. Mr. Rooter began franchising in 1974 and is a subsidiary of The Dwyer Group, Inc. For more information or to find the location nearest you, please visit our Web site at

About the International Franchise Association:

The International Franchise Association is the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide. Celebrating over 50 years of excellence, education and advocacy, IFA works through its government relations, media relations and educational programs to protect, enhance and promote franchising. Through its media awareness campaign highlighting the theme, Franchising: Building Local Businesses, One Opportunity at a Time, IFA promotes the economic impact of the franchise industry, which supports nearly 18 million jobs and $2.1 trillion of economic output for the U.S. economy. IFA members include franchise companies in over 300 different business format categories, individual franchisees and companies that support the industry in marketing, law and business development.