Entrepreneur of the Year Award: John Rotche, CFE
John Rotche, CFE
The Belfor Franchise Group
First presented in 1982, this award is conferred upon an individual who is currently building a successful business venture. The recipient must exemplify the “entrepreneurial spirit” that franchising represents. He or she must demonstrate innovative management skills and be a risk taker in a franchise that has been in operation for at least three years, while remaining active in his or her community. This award is open to franchisors, franchisees and suppliers.
As a former athlete and coach for the University of Michigan football team, John Rotche, CFE, began his career in franchising at Domino’s Pizza, two miles from the Michigan Football Stadium. Rotche spent many years in a leadership position under the founder, Tom Monaghan. Soon after Domino’s Pizza was sold, Rotche joined Krispy Kreme Doughnuts where he helped expand the brand throughout the Midwest.
After the diagnosis of a severe respiratory illness to Rotche’s infant son, his independent spirit and entrepreneurial vision led him to leave Krispy Kreme to start DUCTZ, a single van air duct cleaning business from his daughter’s bedroom. Within five years of franchising this business, DUCTZ grew to become the nation’s largest air duct cleaning and indoor air quality company with more than 175 locations. Rotche identified an opportunity in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina where he assembled The DUCTZ National Service Team, a traveling team of franchisees that provide services on large scale projects worldwide. After cleaning the New Orleans Public schools and many federal buildings following Hurricane Katrina, the team performed other projects including partnering with FEMA in the cleanup efforts after the California wild fires; Hurricanes Wilma, Ike, and Andrea; the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino; NASA; and the Star Princess Cruise ship.
In 2007, Rotche sold DUCTZ to Belfor, a property restoration company and he later created The Belfor Franchise Group. In 2009, he launched his second business, HOODZ Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning, which has grown to be the nation’s largest within its category with more than 150 locations in less than two years.
Rotche created and chairs IFA’s Franship mentoring program, a program growing in popularity among emerging franchise executives to take advantage of the lessons learned from successful franchise executives. Rotche also created and chairs MBiz, a mentoring program for University of Michigan Student Athletes; and Camps for Kidz, a charitable foundation for children suffering from respiratory illnesses.
Rotche was awarded Crain’s 40 Under 40 Top Executives, is a columnist for Detroit Smart Business, and was recently featured on The FOX Business’ Small Business-Big Ideas segment.