This franchise interview is written in memory of my dad, Clarence James Conner (Jim Conner).  Jim was a successful business man and had a great career working in corporate America.  His work was primarily in business development, but at a leadership level with Texas Gulf and IMC Global, he was responsible for operations and team leadership as well.  His work took him around the world and throughout my childhood, he was traveling to far off places like Africa, Central and South America, Australia and Asia frequently.


Mr. Conner was formerly Vice President, South America and Africa for IMC Global, the world’s largest producer of concentrated phosphates and potash. Prior to that he held various executive positions with the Phosphate Chemical Export Association, including Director of Sales, and Vice President of Marketing for Latin America and the Caribbean area. Earlier in his career, Mr. Conner was employed by Texasgulf Inc., where he was International Sales Manager in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa with responsibilities for the company’s fertilizer line. Mr. Conner was based in London during this time and later opened the Paris office for Texasgulf. Mr. Conner is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and he also holds a Master’s Degree in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management. He received a Certifact des Etudes de la Langue Francaise from the Alliance Francaise in Paris.


Jim Conner worked closely with Chris Conner to start Franchise Marketing Systems and was the first team member added to the group in 2009.  His work was instrumental in developing the go-to-market strategy and in leading the sales efforts for a brand new business.  Dad spent countless hours discussing, planning and mapping out how Franchise Marketing Systems could come to life and become a sustainable business model.  His time, energy and business experience were a critical component to what helped bring Franchise Marketing Systems to life.


In the early stages of the business, like many small organizations, every contribution has exponential impact on whether the business works or not.  Jim Conner’s work with the company was focused primarily on selling franchise consulting services and convincing franchise brands to trust and work with a brand new franchise consulting firm….which in many cases wasn’t easy to do.  Mr. Conner also spent many hours selling franchises for the early brands that Franchise Marketing Systems worked with including Restoration 1, Caring Matters, Flower Tent and Two Men and a Truck.  His professionalism, excellent communication skills and empathy allowed him to be very successful in a short time period and although he had no franchise specific experience, he proved to be exceptionally effective as a franchise consultant.


Jim Conner passed away on April 30th, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  His presence, affection, support and experience have been missed ever since.  His impact on Franchise Marketing Systems are still evident today and we know that the company would not have been as successful without his time and involvement in the business.