THIS SHIP OPERATIONS DIRECTOR DECIDED TO CRUISE INTO A BUSINESS OF HIS OWN

           After 13 years in the travel industry, Joe Schlipman has set sail on his newest venture as a small business owner.

            On Aug. 22, the 42-year-old Schlipman launched Window Genie of Miami, an award-winning franchise specializing in residential and light commercial window cleaning, window tinting, pressure washing, gutter cleaning and more. Schlipman will serve the greater Miami area from Palmetto Bay to Coral Gables.

            Schlipman built a successful career in the cruise industry, spending his last five years as Operations Director responsible for onboard revenue with the world’s largest cruise line. But a downsizing cost Schlipman his job in 2013. After switching industries, Schlipman was laid off again late last year.

            “I was looking for a new job earlier this year and when I got my last rejection letter from a cruise line, despite being overqualified, I knew at that moment I needed to travel along a different path,” Schlipman said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about one in every 10 Americans is self-employed, that equals about 14.6 million people in the U.S. A franchise consultant helped Schlipman identify what type of business would fit him best, but he said it’s crucial for individuals to perform their own due diligence.

“You have to make sure it is the right time,” Schlipman said. “I looked at opening a franchise or small business three years ago, and thankfully, it took me two additional jobs and a few failed job searches to help make up my mind. You can’t succeed unless you are 100 percent committed.”

A proud alumnus of Loyola University of Chicago, Schlipman is understandably chomping at the bit to get started in his bid to become “the brand leader in South Florida when it comes to roof washing, pressure cleaning, window cleaning and window tinting.”

That’s probably no surprise to those who know Schlipman. In an interview with Loyola’s alumni association, he said, “too many times, people can get complacent and just rest on their previous achievements and not continue to push themselves further.”

Expect none of the above from Schlipman, a competitive sort who while at Loyola had a standing racquetball reservation every Tuesday afternoon with one of the Jesuit priests. Schlipman expects Window Genie to make a difference in the South Florida market.

“This industry in South Florida lacks a true sense of customer service and professionalism that one would enjoy in other markets around the country,” Schlipman said. “I am excited to bring my 13 years of knowledge about customer satisfaction in a corporate environment to every home and business that we service.”

The depth and breadth of its services makes Window Genie stand out compared to other competitors. Window Genie is also America’s largest installer of lifetime-guaranteed window film products that help consumers and businesses save on utility bills, reduce glare and fading and improve privacy and aesthetics.

Schlipman, who estimates he has spent about $100,000 in start-up costs, said Window Genie’s innovation is another strong suit, including a new roof washing system in which technicians sometimes don’t even have to step foot on a customer’s roof.

“I’ve been waiting patiently. Once I signed the paperwork I wanted to start immediately,” Schlipman said. “But everything takes time and for good reason, but I couldn’t be more ready to introduce Window Genie to Dade County.”

 

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About Window Genie

Founded in 1994 by Richard Nonelle, Cincinnati-based Window Genie is a national home service franchise specializing in residential and light commercial window cleaning, window tinting, pressure washing and gutter cleaning. Additional services in select markets include gutter re-securing, roof washing, solar panel cleaning, holiday light instillation, dryer vent cleaning and more, visit www.windowgenie.com. Window Genie currently operates with over 90  

FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE NOW HAPPY AS "HOUSE DETECTIVE"

It’s no stretch to say that Matt Lloyd knows a thing or two about “detecting problems”. And in the home inspection industry, that’s a good thing.

Since last April, the 47-year-old Haymarket resident and his wife, Lisa, have been serving northern Virginia as franchisees of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, the largest home inspection company in North America.

Lloyd began his second career after spending 23 years in law enforcement, beginning in the early 1990s as a New York City police officer and detective before transitioning to the Federal Service within the Department of Homeland Security following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

After retiring from law enforcement, Lloyd spent months researching his post-vocation career and was literally in the process of opening a business when he came across an online banner ad for Pillar To Post.

“I sat with my chin in my hand for what seemed like a very long while. I was contemplating how and when, but never if. I just knew. This was it, right up my alley,” Lloyd said of the Pillar To Post opportunity.

It helped that Lloyd had been rebuilding “little-loved” homes since he was 16 and had a strong understanding of carpentry, electrical work and plumbing. And given his background, Lloyd naturally put the microscope to the Pillar To Post business model.

“I did what I was trained to do, I investigated,” Lloyd said. “And I discovered that Pillar To Post was the most respected name in the industry. It was the benchmark to which all others aspire. As a former New York City detective – whose motto is ‘The Greatest Detectives in the World’ – I could relate to that. I wanted to be part of a phenomenal organization with no equal.”

A professional evaluation of more than 1,600 items inside and outside the home is the core of Pillar To Post home inspections. All Pillar To Post inspectors are members of regional, state, national and provincial associations across the United States and Canada, and all inspections are conducted within the Standards of Practice of those associations.

After spending 23 years “being told when I would be available to work – missing more than my share of birthdays, weddings, communions and holidays,” Lloyd sought a career where he was the decision-maker.

“I was going to be the master of my destiny,” Lloyd said. “I would succeed or fail based on my own personal work ethic,” he said. “And in this career I wanted to encounter people at their best, not when things were going wrong in their lives.”

It should come as no surprise that Lloyd brings the same dogged determination that he used as a detective to his role as home inspector. He knows what he does well and his clients are the benefactors. That’s why, with the basics of running the business under his belt, he’s concentrating on further building his business.

“I am one hell of an inspector, but it makes not one iota of difference how good I am if no one knows ‘who’ I am. We spend a lot of time figuring out ways to get our faces and Pillar To Post’s name in front of as many realtors, brokers and organizations as possible,” said Lloyd, who also calls his business partner and wife, Lisa, his “alternate perseverance.”

Lloyd said Pillar To Post is uniquely positioned for growth in the National Capital Region (NCR). While a study from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that the average buyer of a single-family home will stay in a home about 13 years before moving out, Lloyd said that timespan is much shorter in the NCR because of the constant ebb and flow of the region’s political, civilian-federal and military-based population.

“Combining that with an upcoming change in administrations and the tremendous boom in residential building means an ever-increasing share of an ever-increasing market of home sales that will have to be inspected,” Lloyd said. “And with more than one-third of current home inspectors reaching retirement in the next 36 months, the business outlook is stellar for the home inspection industry.”

 

###

 About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors 
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with over 470 franchisees, located in 48 states and eight Canadian provinces. Long-term plans include adding 500-600 new franchisees over the next five years. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is ranked the No. 1 home inspection franchise in North America by Entrepreneur Magazine. For further information, please visit www.pillartopostfranchise.com

 

 

 

It’s no stretch to say that Matt Lloyd knows a thing or two about “detecting problems”. And in the home inspection industry, that’s a good thing.

Since last April, the 47-year-old Haymarket resident and his wife, Lisa, have been serving northern Virginia as franchisees of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, the largest home inspection company in North America.

Lloyd began his second career after spending 23 years in law enforcement, beginning in the early 1990s as a New York City police officer and detective before transitioning to the Federal Service within the Department of Homeland Security following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

After retiring from law enforcement, Lloyd spent months researching his post-vocation career and was literally in the process of opening a business when he came across an online banner ad for Pillar To Post.

“I sat with my chin in my hand for what seemed like a very long while. I was contemplating how and when, but never if. I just knew. This was it, right up my alley,” Lloyd said of the Pillar To Post opportunity.

It helped that Lloyd had been rebuilding “little-loved” homes since he was 16 and had a strong understanding of carpentry, electrical work and plumbing. And given his background, Lloyd naturally put the microscope to the Pillar To Post business model.

“I did what I was trained to do, I investigated,” Lloyd said. “And I discovered that Pillar To Post was the most respected name in the industry. It was the benchmark to which all others aspire. As a former New York City detective – whose motto is ‘The Greatest Detectives in the World’ – I could relate to that. I wanted to be part of a phenomenal organization with no equal.”

A professional evaluation of more than 1,600 items inside and outside the home is the core of Pillar To Post home inspections. All Pillar To Post inspectors are members of regional, state, national and provincial associations across the United States and Canada, and all inspections are conducted within the Standards of Practice of those associations.

After spending 23 years “being told when I would be available to work – missing more than my share of birthdays, weddings, communions and holidays,” Lloyd sought a career where he was the decision-maker.

“I was going to be the master of my destiny,” Lloyd said. “I would succeed or fail based on my own personal work ethic,” he said. “And in this career I wanted to encounter people at their best, not when things were going wrong in their lives.”

It should come as no surprise that Lloyd brings the same dogged determination that he used as a detective to his role as home inspector. He knows what he does well and his clients are the benefactors. That’s why, with the basics of running the business under his belt, he’s concentrating on further building his business.

“I am one hell of an inspector, but it makes not one iota of difference how good I am if no one knows ‘who’ I am. We spend a lot of time figuring out ways to get our faces and Pillar To Post’s name in front of as many realtors, brokers and organizations as possible,” said Lloyd, who also calls his business partner and wife, Lisa, his “alternate perseverance.”

Lloyd said Pillar To Post is uniquely positioned for growth in the National Capital Region (NCR). While a study from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found that the average buyer of a single-family home will stay in a home about 13 years before moving out, Lloyd said that timespan is much shorter in the NCR because of the constant ebb and flow of the region’s political, civilian-federal and military-based population.

“Combining that with an upcoming change in administrations and the tremendous boom in residential building means an ever-increasing share of an ever-increasing market of home sales that will have to be inspected,” Lloyd said. “And with more than one-third of current home inspectors reaching retirement in the next 36 months, the business outlook is stellar for the home inspection industry.”

 

###

 

 

 

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors 
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with over 470 franchisees, located in 48 states and eight Canadian provinces. Long-term plans include adding 500-600 new franchisees over the next five years. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is ranked the No. 1 home inspection franchise in North America by Entrepreneur Magazine. For further information, please visit www.pillartopostfranchise.com

 

 

 

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TRADE SHOW TIPS FROM OLD SCHOOL PROS!

Yes, it is the day of texting, LinkedIn, reaching out and touching someone, but only electronically.

According to some of the greatest sales pros in the franchise community, there is still no replacing the good old trade show.  MFV Expositions, the producers of International Franchise Expos all over the world, are hosting yet another one at the Javits Center in New York City June 18-20th.  Here are tips from some of the top trade show veterans in franchising:

  • Tom Wood-President of Floor Coverings International-Booth 715.  "There is no substitute for the value of trade shows and meeting someone face to face. A handshake and a person-to-person discussion beats an email every time."  www.flooring-franchise.com/
  •  Peter Barkman-Vice President of Franchise Development for CertPro Painters-Booth 106. "We are looking for executive level business professionals. It's best to vet those people in person than over phone or email."  www.ownacertapro.com
  • Michael Peterson-Director of Franchise Development at Liquid Capital-Booth 1005. "These shows work if you work them! They are truly the only place where you can get face time with 15,000 or more entrepreneurs." www.lcfranchise.com
  • Brian Wieters-Vice President of Franchise Recruitment for Pillar To Post Home Inspectors-Booth 540. "The face to face interaction has taken on more of a key role in our technologically driven world. It builds the trust necessary to be a successful franchise recruiter."
  • Nick Bruckner-Senior Vice President of Sales for Signarama, Booth 632, a 900-unit chain that is the linchpin of giant United Franchise Group, known as the Trade Show Kings, sums it up pretty well.  He will be present and helping with UFG brands such as EmbroidMe-Booth 932, SuperGreen Solutions Booth 231, Transworld Business Advisors, Booth 769 and new powerhouse Experimac, Booth 833. Says Bruckner, "People buy from people they like. You can't know if you like a person you have never met." 

Franchisee All-Stars: CertaPro Painters’ Chris Drucquer

  Main Line Philadelphia CertaPro Owner Chris Drucquer  

Main Line Philadelphia CertaPro Owner Chris Drucquer 

The home of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York is over 200 miles away from Chris Drucquer’s Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania CertaPro Painters. Given Drucquer’s impressive collection of awards, his entrepreneurial batting average is as impressive as any baseball player’s–and earned without any performance enhancers to boot! It might be high time to open a CertaPro Hall of Fame and Chris Drucquer would be in the inaugural class for sure.   

A father of seven, Drucquer’s accolades are all the more impressive given the demands he must meet as a proud dad. Below are just a few of the commendations Drucquer’s CertaPro Painters locations have received in the last few years of serving the Ardmore, Bala, Broomall, Bryn Mawr,  Gladwyne, Haverford, Havertown, Manayunk, Merion, Merion Station, Narberth, Newtown Square, Penn Valley, Penn Wynne, Radnor, Rosemont,  Villanova, and Wynnewood areas.  

On January 7, 2012 Drucquer was named Franchisee of the Year from CertaPro—among more than 350 franchisees—based on his locations’ growth, profit, and overall customer satisfaction, as well as the Quantum Leap award for franchise growth.

In January 2014, Drucquer’s CertaPro was named Best of HOUZZ for its tremendous customer service. In June of 2014, Drucquer’s CertaPro was named Best of the Main Line in the category of painting businesses. In August, Drucquer was named on the Philly 100 as one of the 100 fastest growing businesses in Greater Philadelphia.

 Chris Drucquer (third from the right) at the Philadelphia 100 award ceremony

Chris Drucquer (third from the right) at the Philadelphia 100 award ceremony

Now, not even a month into 2015, Drucquer is already adding additional awards to his repertoire. This month Drucquer has been named CertaPro Painters’ People Grower of the Year, in recognition of his efforts to help people within the business, Brand Champion, for growing the CertaPro brand, and Crew of the Year, beating out 3,500 other crews for the distinction. Drucquer’s CertaPro Painters has also received the Best of HOUZZ award for its customer service record for the second consecutive year and is due to receive the Angie's List Super Service Award for interior and exterior painting in February.

 Chris Drucquer with his award-winning CertaPro crew

Chris Drucquer with his award-winning CertaPro crew


Founded in 1991—the year CertaPro Painters became a franchise—Chris Drucquer and his crew at CertaPro deserve the recognition and stand as true All-Stars of the franchisee community. 

For more information on franchising with CertaPro Painters, the largest residential and commercial painting company in North America, visit http://certapro-franchise.com/. 

A Reflection on Veterans in Franchising

Today the country reflects on all that the men and women in service provide for its appreciative populace. We would like to salute some of our veteran franchisees by taking a look at how their unique military experiences have, in one way or another, contributed to their success as entrepreneurs. While owning a franchise pales in comparison to the tremendous good done by those in our armed forces, franchise ownership nevertheless requires the exhibition of many of the same skills, abilities, and traits which are inherent to our nation’s heroes. Below are but a few examples of how such valor is translated from the battlefield to the office.  

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a Gulf War veteran, Steve Taylor, owner of a Floor Coverings International franchise in Pleasanton, California, rose to Lieutenant and is no stranger to making bold decisions, a crucial trait for any successful entrepreneur. But more than just owning a business for the challenge it represented, Taylor was inspired by something quite basic—his longtime hobby as a craftsman. “I’ve always done a lot of home improvement projects around my home,” adds Taylor. “With my own business, I knew I could do for others what I was already doing—and do it better than the competition.”

Since opening, Taylor has worked on projects ranging from replacing water damaged floors, to flooring multi-million dollar homes. For Taylor, each new client offers a unique experience, an exciting prospect for a man used to a life of variety. “I love working with each individual customer,” Taylor explained. “When you work with your customers on a personal level, you can better tailor each project to meet their wants, needs, and desires.”

In the late 1990s, U.S. Air Force veteran Chad Marshall lost his father and three sisters in a span of 18 months. Heightening his grief, his mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease at the time, losing her primary caregiver upon the death of her husband. Yet the tremendous losses did not break Marshall. Instead, the experiences that caused him so much pain served in the end to inspire Marshall to a new calling: that of owner of ComForcare Senior Services at 827 N. Glendale Ave., serving the San Gabriel Valley including Pasadena, Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Monrovia.

Marshall’s opening of his ComForcare location in July, 2009 was the culmination of a journey that was an often tumultuous, yet in retrospect, always tremendous learning experience for the veteran-turned-entrepreneur. A broadcast video engineer by trade, Marshall spent four years of active duty working in broadcast maintenance for the Air Force where his duties included documenting missile launches and fixing television equipment. Upon completion of his four-year tour of duty, Marshall worked for Panasonic Broadcast and Television Systems Company for 16 years. Inspired by what he witnessed as his mother suffered from Alzheimer’s, Marshall turned to ComForcare Senior Services to help care for others in a similar situation. Marshall's experience proves that a member of the military never really stops serving his or her community. 

Window Genie franchisee Dick Stieren in Omaha, Nebraska may not be a veteran himself but he nevertheless has an important place in this story, as he plans to build a business legacy by mentoring and training U.S. veteran Wade Johnson to take over his business. Stieren wants to pass along his knowledge of business and success to someone he feels is capable of taking over his Window Genie. While Johnson works now as a Window Genie employee, Stieren has been imparting his business acumen so that Johnson can take over upon his retirement.

Diverse though their backgrounds may be, the drive, dedication, and resolve shown by these franchisees is consistent among all of the franchisees profiled--and, for that matter, for many military veteran franchisees in general. It's no wonder that franchising is a popular choice for those retired from the military. Franchising allows veterans to continue to use that which they've gained in service, making franchising an appropriate--and oftentimes successful--fit.  

Franchisee Profiles: Dick Carlson, Window Genie

Both of these Carlsons Score Goals: One with the Washington Capitals and One with Window Genie

 When Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson scored the first goal for Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Olympics this February, he did so with a blazing slap shot. As proud father Richard Carlson looked on, he knew that scoring goals had truly become a family affair.  

Though the arena in which the elder Carlson works lacks the manicured ice, vocal beer vendors, and rowdy fans that populate John's workplace, his game is one that nevertheless requires the tenacity and drive of a hockey player. 

When the former corporate healthcare worker was laid off due to restructuring and budget reductions, Carlson took time to reflect and weigh his options. He had, after all, many of them. With almost ten years of experience in health care, Carlson could have rejoined the system in which he had for so long achieved success. Yet it became apparent to Carlson that it was time to do some restructuring of his own and play a different kind of game.  

Ultimately, Carlson decided that it was time to realize a dream he had long held. "I always wanted my own business, so I was determined to see the loss of my job not as a setback, but as an opportunity," says Carlson. After a thorough search for franchises which met his demands, Carlson came upon Window Genie. "I gravitated towards franchising so I didn't have to start with a blank page," Carlson explains. "I looked for a business that was service-related and straightforward. After years of dealing with the complicated rules and regulations in healthcare, I wanted simplicity. Window Genie was the answer." 

In July, 2013, Richard opened a Window Genie location serving Ocean County and Southern Monmouth County in New Jersey and he hasn't looked back since. 

Window Genie is a mobile cleaning services company focused primarily on its "big three" services: window cleaning, window tinting and pressure washing. The company also offers, among many other services, dryer vent cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, chandelier cleaning and gutter cleaning and re-securing. Window Genie services residential customers, small offices and commercial spaces. 

As is the case with any NHL team's arduous 82-game season, Carlson faced challenges as his business grew. Yet just as any good hockey team perseveres from those challenges thanks to veteran teammates providing assistance, Window Genie was able to help Carlson block all the shots he faced. "I needed to learn how to market and advertise," says Carlson. "Management, hiring, those were things I had experience with, but I had to learn not just how to perform the excellent services we offer, but how to make this business an extension of myself. Window Genie was able to help me with those issues and get the word out about all that we could do." 

Carlson's primary clients are residential, either dual-income home owners who have neither the time nor the desire to maintain the exterior of their homes, or retirees who are unable to maintain their homes by themselves any longer. Carlson's Window Genie business has been very well-received by his community. His phone, he says, is ringing constantly and his services are well known throughout the territory he serves. 

"In today's corporate environment people like me are forced out of their jobs quite frequently," says Carlson. "I decided to take control of my career, and it was the best decision I've ever made." For Carlson, repeat business is the driving force that inspires his work at Window Genie. "Every day we're committed to providing quality services at reasonable prices so we become customers' preferred home services provider." 

ComForcare's Kelley Coulter Makes Most of 9/11 Experience

Throughout the Franchise Community, 9/11 Left a Story.

Here is one of them. 

 

No one with a connection to the World Trade Center like the one Kelley Coulter has would be blamed for still carrying the scars 13 years after the tragic events of that day.

The truth is, Coulter himself would probably be the first to admit that the pain he felt that day still resonates.

He has, after all, experienced a lot of it.   

Employed in the World Trade Center for 24 years as a commodity trader, Coulter would lose a number of loved ones as a result of the heinous attacks on our country, many of whom were the same first responders whose stories of heroism would populate the front pages of newspapers and magazines nationwide for years to come.

But what makes Coulter’s story distinct from so many others inspired by 9/11 is what he gained from that day filled otherwise with so much loss.

Inspired by the events, on September 12, 2001 Coulter volunteered for his local first aid squad where he has served ever since.

Experiencing the reward of helping others first-hand, Coulter was motivated to further aid others, particularly the elderly. In September, 2013 Coulter left the trading floor on which he had grown restless and opened his ComForcare Senior Services business in Red Bank, New Jersey.

As he reflects on a year of in business, Coulter stresses the human element of his operation. “My favorite customers are the ones in which they recommend ‘Kelley’ as opposed to the company because I want my clients and employees to know that I care about them and that it’s not just a business,” says Kelley.

As the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks passes and Coulter’s 1-year anniversary as owner of his ComForcare draws near, other franchisees stand to gain a lot from his story.

More than just trite bullet points to fill a stock “Value Statement” hidden in the dusty recesses of his company’s website, Coulter embodies the values he preaches as he helps the elderly and those otherwise incapable of taking care of themselves.

Not all franchises will serve the kind of special clients Coulter serves. Yet whether it’s a senior care service or a hamburger joint, turning adversity into positive motivation and staying true to core values are two habits that can benefit any franchisee.

 

CertaPro Painters' Peter Barkman has More to be Proud of Than his Great Company: See Katherine's Story

Like millions of daughters over the decades, 2-year-old Katherine Barkman told her parents she wanted to be a ballerina. Her mom said studios don’t take 2-year-olds; she’d have to wait until she was 3.

“On my third birthday, I asked my mom if she’d signed me up for ballet, and then got mad that she hadn’t,” says Katherine, who is now 17 and on her way to the 2014 USA International Ballet Competition, June 14-29 in Jackson, Miss.

Leaping out of the Dance Elite Studio in Horsham, PA., Katherine is in elite company: She’s one of 48 juniors ages 15 to 18, and the only person from the greater Philadelphia area, to be competing in the USA International Ballet Competition (IBC) this June in Jackson, MS. Only 109 dancers from around the world have been invited to compete. The competition is an “Olympic-style” event held every four years since 1979. At IBC, dancers vie for medals, cash awards, scholarships and contracts with professional dance companies. The USA IBC is the official ballet competition of the United States by a Joint Resolution of Congress.

“Dancers invited to compete in the USA IBC know they have a chance to test their skills against the highest international standards,” said Sue Lobrano, USA IBC executive director. “The level of artistry and technique that this group of competitors will bring to the USA IBC stage will certainly be thrilling to watch.” “The USA IBC is synonymous with the discovery of new talents and the launching of careers,” says Lobrano.

Of the 99 scheduled to attend, 57 are senior competitors (ages 19-26) and 42 are juniors (ages 15-18). The United States leads in the number of participants (31), followed by Japan (17) and Brazil (9Katherine is in the junior group at 17 years of age.

“She has incredible ability to perform, which is pretty rare,” says her teacher, Nadia Pavlenko, who was trained at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, and knows a thing or two about international competition (she was a finalist in the 1991 International Ballet Competition in Helsinki, Finland). Pavlenko was also a soloist at the K.S. Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater in Moscow.

Mom Darlene Barkman, a Family Consultant at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia – who confirmed with a laugh that Katherine did indeed demand to be enrolled in a dance studio as soon as she turned 3 – said she had no particular childhood interest in dance. Peter Barkman, Vice President of Franchise Development for CertaPro Painters, said he and his brothers grew up playing sports.

“It was kind of a freak thing,” Katherine says. “Neither of my parents danced; there was nothing around me about the art form. I just got this obsession about being a ballerina.”

That obsession comes at a price.

In September 2013, after convincing her parents that it was the right thing to do for her professional ambitions, Katherine began training five to six hours daily, and switched to home-schooling. That regimen means she’s sacrificed the usual high school activities like going to football games or junior proms. Instead, she dances and rehearses all day, does nightly schoolwork, researches ballet history, and visits a massage therapist in Philadelphia weekly to handle and prevent injuries. “My wife and I struggled initially with the idea of Katherine taking such a non-traditional path, but her drive and passion has always been unshakeable, when it comes to dance,” says Katherine’s dad. 

Katherine began training in the Vaganova style at age 14 – late by traditional standards, Pavlenko says, adding her student’s willingness to do the work required to excel is what made Katherine stand out.

“Katherine said she wants to dance, dance more than anything in her life.” Pavlenko says. “We said you have to do that full-time during the day and switch to home schooling at night. She said ‘Okay, if that’s what it takes to be a professional dancer’.”

”I get a lot of satisfaction in seeing improvement in my work even though it is often a struggle,” she says. “It takes a lot of patience…and a whole lot of tenacity to chase this dream of mine.” When asked about her next act, Katherine says she is keeping all of her options open. “My dream is to join a ballet company and travel the world sharing my art” but the USA IBC beckons first.”