Sam G. Ballas, president, chairman of the board, and CEO of East Coast Wings & Grill, was recognized as a certified franchise executive by the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives. Ballas completed a comprehensive course of study in the franchise management offered by the institute, which is the academic branch of the International Franchise Association’s Educational Foundation. IFA, the world’s largest and oldest trade group representing the franchising industry, includes nearly 1,100 franchise companies, 10,000 franchisees, and more than 500 firms that provide goods and services to the industry.

Ballas has over 29 years of restaurant experience, and a vast financial background with past affiliation with American International Group Inc. (AIG) and Interstate Johnson & Lane Securities (now Wachovia–Wells Fargo Advisors), as well as experience in commercial real estate (Mid-Carolina Realty Group Inc.) and development (Titanium Development LLC).

In the U.S., more than 1,400 franchise executives from 42 counties are participating in the CFE program, including 782 executives who have completed the program and received the certified franchise executive designation. More than 300 IFA-member companies have one or more executives enrolled in the program that provides benefits such as specialized knowledge, industry recognition, peer-level networking, and professional standing.

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