770 N Halsted, Suite 503, Chicago, IL 60642


Download the 2014 agenda here.


August 11th

6:00  – 8:00 pm

Registration and Cocktail Reception
17th Floor of the Trump Hotel & Tower, Chicago – Grand Salon



August 12th

8:00 - 9:00 am

Registration and Continental Breakfast
16th Floor of the Trump Hotel & Tower, Chicago – Skyline Room Foyer

9:00 - 9:15 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks
Paul Sill – Principal and CEO, Forum Analytics

9:15 - 10:15 am

CEO Fireside Chat:  Rockin’ With Analytic Insights: How School of Rock Integrates and Acts Upon Data Across the Organization
Chris Catalano – Partner at Because Capital Partners and former Chairman and CEO of School of Rock
Moderated by Paul Sill – Principal and CEO, Forum Analytics

Mr. Catalano was the Chairman for School of Rock, LLC since June 2009 and was its Chief Executive Officer since July 2010. His background includes both current and prior positions as a Partner at BeCause Capital Partners and divine interVentures, managing venture investments in internet technology companies. He joined Sterling Partners in 2009 and served as its Operating Partner and he previously served as the Managing Director at Critical Resources Management LLC and Critical Resources Fund, L.P. Mr. Catalano has served as a Senior Vice President of Business Development at GE Capital Corporation and as the Chief Investment Officer at McDonald’s Ventures from June 2003 to June 2008. He was actively engaged in the oversight and successful initial public offering of Chipotle Mexican Grill and also played a leading role in the oversight of Boston Market’s path to exit. He served as Chairman of RedBox Automated Retail until it was acquired by Coinstar in 2009 and he served as an active board member on the board of Pret A Manger and Donatos Pizzeria. Mr. Catalano holds an M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from Rider University and a B.A. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University.

With such a diverse background in retail, restaurant, and private equity Mr. Catalano will be sharing a wealth of unique perspectives on the application of analytics across a wide variety of business environments.

10:15 - 11:15 am From Deep Dish Pizza to Lift-Tone-Burn  to Heavy Starch, Please: National and Regional CEO Perspectives on Best Practices for Integrating Analytics Across an Organization 

Darin Harris – Chief Executive Officer, CiCi’s Pizza
Sloan Evans – Chief Executive Officer, Pure Barre

Reid Bechtle – Chief Executive Officer, ZIPS Franchising
Moderated by Tony Conti – Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Forum Analytics

You may be surprised at the many common challenges faced by firms of all sizes when developing and integrating data analytics across an organization. Hear from three dynamic CEOs on why they believe in analytics, the changes they see in their businesses as a result, and where they would like to see analytics guide them in the future.

11:30am - 1:00pm

Luncheon Keynote Speaker
Jeffrey Ma – Kingpin of the Famous MIT Blackjack Team and Expert Data Analyst

When big money is on the line, business transformation expert and blackjack legend Jeffrey Ma knows how to hit the jackpot. As a member of the MIT blackjack team, Mr. Ma was the subject of both Ben Mezrich's #1 New York Times best-seller book Bringing Down the House,and the 2008 hit film 21. Mr. Ma also authored his own book, The House Advantage: Playing the Odds to Win Big in Business, which tells the story of how he went from the blackjack table to corporate business, but there is more to this business strategist and social media mogul than counting cards. He transformed his early gaming experiences to co-found Citizen Sports, the mobile hub for millions of sports fans worldwide, and the center of Yahoo! Sports' social media strategy.

Major corporations, from Sports Illustrated and ESPN to Ford and McDonald's, have relied on Mr. Ma's proven game plan to score big in the digital age by using data and metrics to build their brand and maintain customer loyalty. He is living proof that data-driven decisions and smart risk taking trump luck every time when it comes to beating the house - whether you're amassing poker chips or market share.

1:15 - 2:15 pm

Staying Out of the Frying Pan:  Legal Perspectives on Distributing Analytics Across a Franchise Organization
Nate Isaacson – In-House Legal Counsel, Sears Holding Corporation
Diane AustinManager, Real Estate Research & Analytics, Sears Hometown & Outlet
Gaylen Knack – Principal, Gray Plant Mooty
Moderated by Paul Sill – Principal and CEO, Forum Analytics

An open conversation including both client and legal perspectives on best practices for sharing and utilizing analytics across a franchise organization.

2:15 - 3:00 pm

Analytics For Unit Development – Senior Level Perspectives
Bill Pierquet  – Senior Vice President of School Development, Primrose Schools
Mark Whittle – Senior Vice President of Development, Hooters of America
Steve Parker Chief Development Officer, Moe’s Southwest Grill
Moderated by Kenna Brannon – Vice President of Technical Sales, Forum Analytics

Where do analytics add value for unit development and real estate? Hear from a panel of seasoned veterans as they discuss how SIMMS Online and analytics in general shape their companies and market positions. 

3:00 - 3:30 pm

Coffee and Tea Service
16th Floor of the Trump Hotel & Tower, Chicago – Skyline Room Foyer

3:30 - 4:30 pm

How Private Equity Uses Market Optimization Results to Form Valuation Assessments
Geoff Hill  – Principal, Roark Capital Group
Moderated by Paul Sill – Principal and CEO, Forum Analytics

Mr. Hill once sat on your side of the fence as President and Chief Development Officer at Focus Brands, Inc. Since moving over to Roark Capital Group in 2009, he now oversees the analysis and diligence required when private equity firms consider both the buy and sell side of the equation. Hear how market optimization results are interpreted to form long-term valuations. Learn why there is no such thing as right or wrong when it comes to market optimization…but there is a right and wrong way to interpret the results for your business.

6:00 - 6:45 pm

Cocktail Reception
16th Floor of the Trump Hotel & Tower, Chicago – Grand Ballroom

6:45 – 10:00 pm

A Plated Dinner
16th Floor of the Trump Hotel & Tower, Chicago – Grand Ballroom



August 13th

8:00 – 9:00 am

Continental Breakfast
16th Floor of the Trump Hotel & Tower, Chicago – Skyline Room Foyer

9:00 - 11:15 am


Concurrent Session Opportunity

17th Floor Trump Executive Boardrooms

Meet with MasterCard, DataMentors, Synergos, Gray Plant Mooty, CoStar and other sponsors for quality one-on-one time with our strategic partners.


Meet with Forum Tech Specialists for one-on-one training on your SIMMS Online tool and general Q&A.


9:00 - 9:45 am

Reinventing the Industry.  Forum + MasterCard + DataMentors.  Beyond Site Selection
Paul Sill – Principal and CEO, Forum Analytics

Mr. Sill will promote and demonstrate integrated offerings from key strategic partners such as MasterCard, Data Mentors, and Synergos Technologies and how these new offerings may change the way many of you approach real estate, marketing, direct mail, and strategic planning.

9:45 - 10:30 am

Wawa Goes to Florida:  What to Expect from Models in New Markets
Katherine Dillon – Real Estate and SOS Finance Manager, Wawa, Inc.
Brian Pomykacz - Manager of Real Estate, Florida, Wawa, Inc.

Paige Stover – Senior Director of Analytics, Forum Analytics

Wawa, Inc., a privately held company, began in 1803 as an iron foundry in New Jersey. Toward the end of the 19th century, owner George Wood took an interest in dairy farming and the family began a small processing plant in Wawa, PA, in 1902. The milk business was a huge success. Today, Wawa is an all day, every day stop for fresh, built-to-order foods, beverages, coffee, and fuel services. A chain of more than 645 convenience retail stores (over 365 offering gasoline), Wawa stores are located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Central Florida.

Ms. Dillon, Mr. Pomykacz and Ms. Stover explore the difficulties of building forecasting models from historical data for use in entirely new markets. When Wawa decided to expand to the Florida market, Forum helped design and implement a forecasting model from legacy data but with sensitivities to the unique market dynamics of this uncharted state. A candid dialog about what worked, what didn’t, and how to set expectations inside your organization under such circumstances.

10:30 - 11:15 am

Story Time with CKE:  How Multiple Brands Share a Single SIMMS Online Platform
Mike Sawyer – Director of Market Planning, CKE Restaurants, Inc.
Sarah Baumgartner – Chief Client Officer, Forum Analytics

Carl’s Jr. is celebrating more than 70 years in the quick-service industry. What began in 1941 as a lone hot dog cart in Los Angeles is today a wholly owned subsidiary of CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. As of the end of fiscal 2013, the company, through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,318 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 42 states and 28 foreign countries and U.S. territories worldwide, including 1,369 Carl's Jr. restaurants and 1,944 Hardees’s restaurants.

Mr. Sawyer and Ms. Baumgartner will discuss how multiple brands utilize the same SIMMS Online platform to solve similar but uniquely different real estate needs. They’ll discuss how SIMMS Online has evolved over the years and what role the analytics derived play in the day to day decision making across the enterprise.

11:30am - 12:45pm A Buffet Luncheon
Rebar on the River, Mezzanine Level, Trump Hotel
1:00 - 2:00 pm

Ace Means Business: How Ace Hardware Uses SIMMS Online to Target High-Value Business to Business Customers
Bruce Rohm – Business to Business Corporate Manager, Ace Hardware
Paige Stover – Senior Director of Analytics, Forum Analytics

Mr. Rohm will discuss the B2B channel at Ace Hardware and the challenges they face in driving incremental growth through this channel with their independent store owners and operators. The approach and lessons learned are applicable to any business trying to drive incremental revenue growth through non-traditional channels. Learn how Forum helped narrow the focus through business segmentation modeling and how such modeling can be applied to many other B2B and B2C situations.

2:00 - 3:15 pm

SIMMS Online Technology Innovations for 2015
SIMMS 3.0 Sneak Peek

Luke Douglas, Principal and Chief Technology Officer, Forum Analytics

Mr. Douglas will demonstrate some of the new bells and whistles being developed as upgrades and enhancements to your SIMMS Online platform to watch for in 2015.   

3:15 - 3:30 pm

Coffee and Tea Service
16th Floor of the Trump Hotel & Tower, Chicago – Skyline Room Foyer

   3:30 - 4:15 pm

Client Jeopardy!  Clients Face a Series of SIMMS, Modeling, and Market Optimization Questions for Big Prizes
Rita Barr – Associate Director of Retail Real Estate Operations, Midwest, Verizon Wireless and Defending Champion
Diane Austin – Manager,  Real Estate Research & Analytics, Sears Hometown & Outlet
James Throckmorton – Director of Real Estate, The Krystal Company

Hosted by Paul Sill and Holly Pettersen – Forum Analytics

A final test of their modeling and SIMMS acumen, these clients will face a gauntlet of rapid-fire questions in various categories.  Who says learning about the best practice applications of SIMMS Online and general modeling can’t be fun?

4:15 – 5:00 pm

Closing Comments and Attendee Awards

Free Tablet Devices and Other Fabulous Prizes!

5:00  –  7:00 pm


Conference Adjourns 
Cocktail Social at Rebar on the River, Mezzanine Level, Trump Hotel
Mingle with peers, colleagues, and new friends before heading off to the airport.


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