Meet Our Team

Paul Samson

Paul Samson

President & Founder

Mr. Samson founded The Franchise Edge (TFE) in 2005 because of a need that he saw in the market for an affordable, client focused franchise consulting service. His experience in franchising began as President and Founder of Lenny & Vinny’s Management, Inc., a corporately owned and managed pizza chain that he operated for 14 years and grew to 14 units before deciding to franchise. Mr. Samson was also the Founder of Head West Enterprises, LLC, which grew the Westshore Pizza chain from 16 stores to 52 stores in 3 years, with an additional 90 units committed and combined sales of over $27,000,000 prior to the sale and transition of the marks.

Under the guidance of Mr. Samson, TFE educates its clients on the challenges new franchisors face and creates the strategies necessary to develop a successful franchise system. Mr. Samson’s expertise includes vendor sourcing and pricing, sales and marketing and business modeling for franchisors.

Scott Anderson

Scott Anderson

Senior Partner

Mr. Anderson has been a Partner in TFE since May 2006 and works closely with prospects and clients in evaluating the viability of franchising and then developing the needed components for establishing and launching their franchise. Mr. Anderson has over twenty years of entrepreneurial experience, during which he founded Automated Artist, a multi-unit, robotic, t-shirt company that operated in the Walt Disney World and Busch Gardens theme parks as well as in regional malls for over 17 years. Mr. Anderson’s stores were recognized for outperforming Walt Disney World’s retail shops on a sales per square foot and a profit per square foot basis by 2.5 times. The top grossing location generated sales per square foot of over $8,000 at its peak. Having operated a corporate model with six locations, Mr. Anderson understands the demands of the corporate model and the benefits of the franchise model. He also gained significant experience in retail, technology, store design, branding, and operations. Having started and managed a number of businesses, Mr. Anderson understands start-up strategies as well as systems evaluation and implementation to take businesses to a new level.

As a partner with The Franchise Edge, Mr. Anderson oversees all client projects and lends his expertise with competitor analysis, financial modeling, business modeling and system’s enhancements. In addition to this, he works with clients to develop their franchise marketing and franchise sales programs.

Michael Stadnicki

Senior Partner

Mr. Stadnicki a Senior Partner of The Franchise Edge. His broad business background includes his former role as Vice President of Franchise Development for a 60 plus unit Chicago based Franchise chain; in addition he currently owns a high volume franchise store in downtown Chicago. As the VP of Franchise Development he oversaw franchise site selection, lease negotiation, SBA financing, equipment design and layout, construction services, and training along with the implementation of national marketing programs.

Prior to that, he was the Executive Vice President of Francorp Consulting; he served in that capacity for many years, assisting the franchise growth of over 250 companies worldwide. Mr. Stadnicki was responsible for prototype design, development and implementation; strategic planning and business plan development, operational system design, development and documentation, franchise sales and marketing programs, and franchisor training programs.

Mr. Stadnicki is a graduate of DePaul University, where he earned an MBA and Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurship. While at DePaul, he held scholarships for excellence in leadership and scholastic merit, and won international awards for business plan writing. In 2010, Mr. Stadnicki was named DePaul University’s “Entrepreneur of the Year.”

John Armatas

John Armatas

Managing Partner, Franchise Sales Solution

Mr. Armatas recently rejoined our team after serving as our Director of Operations and Partner from 2007 to 2008. Mr. Armatas is the owner of The Franchise Sales Solution, which has a diverse group of franchisor clients and provides a range of services, depending on the needs of the franchisor.   Mr. Armatas provides both sales support and complete franchise marketing and sales strategy that is based on the franchisors goals and budgets.   As part of our franchise development program with our clients, Mr. Armatas is involved in helping our new clients understand what happens after the franchise development stage of the process is completed.

Prior to working at The Franchise Edge, Mr. Armatas owned and operated a FASTSIGNS franchise store in Tampa, Florida, from 2000 to 2007. In addition, Mr. Armatas owned the Bulls Outfitter, LLC, a retail store licensed to sell University of South Florida Apparel and branded Merchandise, until 2006 when he sold the business. He is currently a partner in Toast Wine and Cafe (DBA TOAST) which he opened in 2007. Prior to owning his own businesses, Mr. Armatas was the chief Operating Officer of the Tampa & East Pasco Metropolitan Area YMCAs.

Rowena Basallote

Rowena Basallote

Principal – South Florida

Ms. Basallote brings more than 12 years expertise in commercial and marketing management. An entrepreneur by nature, Ms. Basallote experience ranges from occupying different management positions to launching her own businesses. Rowena arrives to Franchise Edge targeting to execute and manage expansion within South Florida and internationally, with Central and South American countries. Rowena targets to offer entrepreneurs and investors of all nature an integrated “assessment and execution package” for the expansion of existing and upcoming new brands within the franchising sector, includes tailoring and developing new concepts and rising multi-unit & multi-branding groups. Academic Background:
Degree in environment sciences by Kings College, London University.
Postgraduate studies in Human Resource Management, Renewable Energies & sustainable development.

Barbara Garcia

Head of Legal Affairs

Barbara Garcia, J.D., L.L.M., is our Director of our Legal Department and Human Resource Development.

Ms. Garcia works with one of the top franchise attorneys in the country and is dedicated exclusively to franchising and to the needs of his franchisor clients.  Representing franchisors all over the country exclusively. Ms. Garcia was the first corporate employee for one of the largest hamburger franchisor’s, BurgerFi International, headquarters in North Palm Beach, Florida.  Barbara was Director of Legal Department and the Director of the Human Resource Department.

Ms. Garcia has more than 15 years of legal experience which include Franchise law, international Business law, corporate law, and Real Estate transactions.  Ms. Garcia is currently pursuing a professional certification through The Certified Franchise Executive Program and an SPHR Certification.

Dr. Christine Balesteri

Senior Franchise Consultant

At The Franchise Edge, Dr. Balesteri is responsible for conducting in-depth on-site visits to the client’s place of business to enhance and document operational systems including all procedures and guidelines which are essential to the smooth and efficient operation of the client’s franchise business.
Dr. Balesteri brings outstanding real-world experience to her consulting role at The Franchise Edge. Along with joining the firm, she currently operates as a partner in a high-volume franchise store in downtown Chicago. Prior to that, she was Director of School Community Partnerships for the City Colleges of Chicago. At that time, she also held the position of Department Chair of the Developmental Education Program.
Dr. Balesteri has a deep passion for helping entrepreneurs fulfill their visions and is motivated by client satisfaction. She offers a hands-on proactive leadership approach to ensure a positive experience for entrepreneurs seeking to franchise and grow their business
Dr. Balesteri holds both a Master’s and Doctoral Degree in Administrative and Organizational Leadership from the University of Illinois, Champaign, Urbana.

Michelle James

Operations Coordinator

Michelle James has worked in both the Technical and Hospitality Industries for over 20 years.  She worked with a start-up IT company specializing in the placement and installation of cabling infrastructure and developing resolutions for the Y2K Scare in 1999.  Michelle has managed large projects with major companies such as Bank of America, Time, Inc., and National Geographic.  She has also managed locations of the coffee franchises Gloria Jean’s and Starbucks.  She helped design and develop a patient/employer/physician interface website in the Worker’s Compensation industry, while simultaneously contributing to the company’s brand development.  She is a lifelong resident of Tampa with her husband Jeff and two children; Cole (20) and Madeline (10).

Travis Masters

Marketing and Development

Travis Masters has been a successful business owner for over 15 years. He has been involved in the franchising business since 2005, and has made a strong impact in the advertising world. His accolades include the rebranding of a Major League Baseball team, agency of record for multiple restaurant chains; as well as making his own signage company the #1 franchise store of an international signage brand. Travis is excited to empower new owners with an entrepreneurial spirit via The Franchise Edge.

John Armatas

Joe Traina

Graphics Designer and Photographer

Mr. Traina’s experience as a photographer, graphic designer and creative director spans over 25 years including 5 years as Creative Director at Andes & Partners Advertising, and 21 years in his own advertising business, where attention to detail and the ability to meet tight deadlines is essential. He has worked with numerous clients in varied fields including:

  • General Mills Restaurant Group
  • Betty Crocker Frozen Specialties
  • Security Link
  • University Community Hospital
  • South Florida Baptist Hospital
  • Coldwell Banker

Mr. Traina earned a BA in Photography and an MFA in Painting and Drawing at the University of South Florida where he was awarded a University Scholar Fellowship and a Graduate Council Fellowship. He has strong leadership skills, positive attitude, organizational skills and is good communicator who is able to create effective visual marketing materials that resonate with customers’ needs.