President / Managing Partner
Matthew Jonas is a digital marketing strategist with broad experience in all aspects of digital media, SEO & PPC campaigns, PR, social media publishing, display advertising, conversion based marketing, website development, inbound marketing, mobile marketing, email marketing, and online lead generation.
As President of TopFire Media, he is responsible for marketing assessments, consultations and client onboarding, digital media strategies, project oversight and internal team management, monitoring company P&L, and public speaking engagements.
Matthew is a management professional with a record of success in the areas of technologies, Internet start-ups, sales management, and online marketing strategies.
Prior to TopFire Media, Matthew was the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Handyman Online. During his time with the company, he was a part of the marketing and sales teams that grew its network of member contractors to more than 25,000. Matthew also worked as Director of Digital Media for Baseline21, a top-ranked Chicago-based digital media agency, where he developed and implemented integrated digital media strategies. Before his tenure with Baseline21, he worked for One Social Media, as a social media strategist, where he filled roles in sales, project management, vendor relations with social media strategies such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others. Matthew holds an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Harper Junior College.
Digital Media Director
Mark Sharp has an extensive background in digital marketing strategy, content management, web analytics, SEO and PPC campaigns, project management, and team leadership.
Mark manages the digital side of TopFire Media, assisting with creating digital media strategies, project oversight, and internal team management.
Prior to joining TopFire Media, Mark spent nearly 14 years in higher education designing and developing award-winning university websites.
Mark has also served as adjunct faculty at Purdue University Calumet and Valparaiso University, teaching courses in user experience and interaction, web development, search optimization, and online advertising.
Mark has a B.A. in English and an MBA, specializing in Marketing, from Capella University.
Franchise Marketing Consultant
Lia brings extensive experience in franchise marketing, franchise sales, communications, copywriting, and international business to TopFire Media and iFranchise Group. Her background in franchising spans more than 25 years, in the U.S. and abroad.
As the Director of Marketing for iFranchise Group, Lia has overseen the design and production of hundreds of marketing pieces, and also develops comprehensive franchise marketing plans. She collaborates and consults with the TopFire Media team on client franchise marketing programs and their implementation. Lia has also developed market research reports, sales/marketing reporting tools, and has coordinated marketing and advertising campaigns (direct mail, print, and Internet), conducted consultative sales meetings, and created, edited and translated franchise operations and training manuals and other business documents.
In the U.S., Lia consulted with companies including Ace Hardware, Bridgestone/Firestone, Texaco, Payless ShoeSource, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Sears Auto Centers, and many others. Outside of the U.S., she has consulted with franchisors primarily in Latin America and the Middle East. Lia is fluent in Spanish and holds B.A. degrees in English and Spanish from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), and an MBA with a focus on Latin America and marketing from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Jessica Emerson is an experienced marketing communications and public relations professional with a love for working with clients. Her goals are to help improve clients’ return on investment and to provide them with excellent service. Having worked with Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and institutions of higher learning, Jessica has a broad knowledge base and diligently applies her talents to serve TopFire Media clients.
Prior to joining TopFire Media, Jessica worked in marketing communications and public relations for nearly eight years. Her skills include strategic planning, copywriting, website management, media pitching, and event planning. Jessica is also a certified English-as-a-Second- Language (ESL) teacher and has been a university instructor in ESL, English composition, and technical writing.
Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English language and literature from Creighton University and a Master’s degree in technical and professional communication from Auburn University. Currently, she is completing her doctorate of education (emphasis in organizational leadership) from Northcentral University.
Rick brings 20+ years of experience to the creation and development of marketing plans, digital media plans, and franchise sales strategies. His expertise encompasses digital marketing, website creation, and SEO.
As Digital Media Manager, Rick is responsible for overseeing development and implementation of various digital services, including website design and development, LinkedIn marketing programs, SEO services, PPC campaigns, SMS marketing, and email marketing.
Prior to joining TopFire Media, Rick managed the marketing for a multi-unit retail chain and created marketing plans and marketing materials for franchisors. He also trained hundreds of franchisors on franchise marketing and sales. Rick holds a B.A. in Marketing Communications from Columbia College-Chicago.
Brian Trueblood brings over 10+ years experience in project management, customer service, and digital media marketing. His primary goal is to help clients strategize their options to provide the best possible returns on their marketing investments.
As an Account Executive, Brian strategically implements and works with TopFire Media’s production teams to best utilize mission objectives for optimal client success. Brian supervises the development and marketing techniques including website design, PPC campaigns, social media marketing, email marketing, and SEO services.
Before joining TopFire Media, Brian was a Security Forces officer in the United States Air Force. His eight-year experience managing people in various scenarios and situations helped to instill Brian’s strong work ethic and attitude to "get the job done right." Brian is currently completing a Business Administration degree at Indiana University.
Kelly Garver has over 13 years of professional experience in marketing, sales, event planning and business development.
Kelly’s previous experience includes being the marketing manager for an international consumer products company, Minelab, where she drove a multitude of marketing strategies for both B2B and B2C, executed world-wide consumer events and was a project lead on new product launches. Most recently, Kelly was the Marketing Director for PMT Advertising/Dealer HD where she was the marketing lead for strategizing and executing client’s digital advertising and marketing campaigns. Kelly is Google Certified and brings expertise in providing digital marketing strategization for website content development, digital advertising platforms and developing cross-channel communication strategies.
As the Account Director, she works to collaborate with our sister company, Franchise Dynamics’, clients and TopFire Media’s team of experts to develop streamlined experiences and initiatives to drive the client’s brand awareness campaigns.
Kelly holds an associate’s degree in Applied Sciences and is plans to continue her education to obtain her Bachelor in Public Relations/Advertising.
Media Relations Strategist
Amy Kent is an award-winning journalist and communications specialist with experience in a variety of media platforms. Capitalizing on her storytelling prowess, Amy is able to communicate dynamic messages across multiple channels to help generate results for clients.
As an account coordinator, Amy works directly with clients in maintaining a positive brand image and communicating clear messages focusing on business development and growth. By working hand-in-hand with digital account executives, Amy and the public relations department at TopFire Media are able to utilize an integrated approach to establishing and implementing the best marketing strategies for clients.
Prior to joining the TopFire Media team, Amy worked as an assistant editor for a community newspaper in Iowa, covering local, regional, and national beats. In addition to earning statewide recognition for her writing talents, Amy is also an Associated Press award-winning photographer. Amy holds a B.A. in English and communications from Ashford University.
Media Relations Strategist
Herrison Chun is a self-motivated individual who takes pride in bringing out the best in his clients. Throughout his career Herrison has grasped the importance of maintaining a clear and thorough communication flow within a company and with its public environment.
Herrison has assisted companies in restructuring their communication processes to help maintain employee retention and increase productivity and profitability. He is very knowledgeable in database management, social media management, event planning, and corporate communication. Herrison has performed numerous communication audits on organizations and provided invaluable feedback and detailed reports on how to improve communication flow within the organization and with its clients. Herrison has an innate talent for taking individuals to the next step of where they are, to where they want to be.
Herrison is a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving a tour in Iraq, and graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in Communications.
Media Relations Strategist
An adept public relations professional, Rey Perez combines his passion for writing with expertise in brand research to produce effective external messages. With a keen ability to captivate diverse audiences through various communication channels, Rey has developed and nurtured longstanding client and media relationships during the extent of his PR career.
As media relations strategist at TopFire Media, Rey develops engaging content while collecting and analyzing industry trends to formulate targeted outreach plans for a varied base of franchise clients.
Prior to joining TopFire Media, Rey worked in a tech and B2B public relations agency in Chicago, directly managing communications efforts for SaaS based-digital marketing, healthcare, transportation and logistics and human resources clients.
Rey holds a B.A. in Public Relations, with a minor in advertising from Purdue University in Indiana.
Media Relations Consultant
Sarah Frye is a business strategist, accomplished entrepreneur, and savvy marketing and public relations specialist. She has experience creating recognition for businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 100 firms. Her industry experience has been across a variety of sectors, including human resources, leadership development, energy efficiency, outdoor advertising, clean tech, nonprofits and more.
Sarah helps to inspire companies to reach their full brand potential and effectively communicate a client's value to key audiences through corporate planning, partnership development, social media, press releases, web site development, marketing collateral, print and broadcast media. She has extensive experience strategizing and executing local and national campaigns that help to convert prospects into customers.
For TopFire Media clients, Sarah serves as a public relations and communication consultant for a variety of businesses within the franchising community. She has a successful track record managing corporate communications including brand strategy, web content, media kits, newsletters, press releases and other marketing materials. Sarah's specialties include public relations, blog/speech/copy writing, brand advocacy, social media, community outreach, brand, media & content strategies, and strategic planning.
Sarah's published work includes, "Make the Most of Your Energy Use by Clicking the Green Button" from November 1, 2012 and "Energy Efficiency in Apartments Can Save Billions" from June 1, 2013.
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts Cum Laude in Journalism from San Diego State University. She also holds course certificates for Achieving Top Search Engine Positions and Adobe InDesign.
Nykia Tanniehill is a public relations professional with a knack for digital storytelling and content development in the franchise and B2B space.
As an Account Coordinator, Nykia assists TopFire Media's clients to craft dynamic messaging across multiple channels, including website copy, tailored pitches, press releases, contributed articles, and blogs. Her areas of expertise include copywriting, content management, strategic communications, and media relations.
With an ear to the ground for best practices and industry trends, Nykia has previously worked with Viacom and True Value Company amongst other businesses in the retail, entertainment, and nonprofit sectors to develop cutting-edge strategies in traditional and digital communications. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Trinity College.
Carole Sharwarko is a digital content strategist, with 13 years of professional experience in writing and editing. She has collaborated with myriad clients, from community-based nonprofit organizations to international jewelry companies to hospital networks.
With an early career in community reporting, Carole moved to creating custom content in newspaper special sections, before spending five years leading a small custom publishing magazine company as editor-in-chief.
As a digital content strategist, she works with TopFire Media’s entire staff to develop compelling topics and craft expressive, accurate and interesting copy for clients. Carole also helps generate more clicks through higher search results and motivating calls-to-action.
Carole holds a bachelor's of arts degree in communications and a master's of arts degree in media communications from Governors State University in Chicago's South Suburbs.
Don Hommes is an expert at evaluations, diagnostics, and achieving master success levels of optimization for TopFire Media's clients' websites. He has worked in Search Engine Marketing over the last 10 years for eCommerce and digital media companies.
Don’s career began at Experian in the direct mail marketing division, where he worked with many clients including Allstate Insurance, Columbia House, Procter & Gamble, R.R. Donnelly and Time Warner, to name a few.
Don attended Prairie State College and Control Data Institute in Chicago, receiving a certification in computer programming and project management. He is also certified in Google Tag Manager Fundamentals, is a Google Analytics Qualified Individual and a Google Adwords Certified Professional.
Katelyn Houlne is an SEO expert with experience in assisting clients with their organic online search efforts in order to optimize their lead generation strategies.
As a Search Engine Optimization Strategist, Katelyn assesses client campaigns by partnering with in-house account executives to define, analyze and execute SEO goals, both general and keyword-specific. As part of ongoing activities, Katelyn is involved in providing analysis and recommendations to continually optimize clients’ campaigns.
Prior to TopFire Media, Katelyn worked at a digital marketing agency where she coordinated SEO and PPC campaign strategies, content development, and project management.
Katelyn graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in Marketing and a minor in Professional Communications.
Nick Grata is a data-driven digital marketing specialist with a focus on pay-per-click and search engine optimization. His creativity mixed with strong analytical skills allow him to effectively help clients accomplish their online goals and boost their digital presence.
As a PPC Strategist, Nick manages the creation, development and optimization of pay-per- click advertising campaigns at TopFire Media. He strives to bring quality traffic and leads to the client’s website via highly targeted ads, keyword research, and compelling ad copy.
Prior to joining TopFire Media, Nick managed pay-per- click and SEO campaigns at a marketing agency located in South Florida. He has experience working on a number of different projects/clients in several industries, ranging from the home improvement industry to the education industry to cause-based marketing.
Nick holds a B.S in Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Steve’s main focus is on digital media but also has a flair for public relations.
Steve manages TopFire Media’s clients with their social media and LinkedIn marketing strategies for lead generation. He is responsible for the day-to-day client/project management including weekly client updates and month end reports. Steve also assists with content development, including creating blogs.
Prior to joining TopFire Media Steve participated in franchise research and tradeshows for iFranchise Group. He holds a B.S. in Marketing from Purdue University in Indiana.
Social Media Intern
Rebecca Gorka is beginning her career as the new public relations and social media Intern for Topfire Media. She currently attends Governors State University where she is studying Communications and is set to graduate with her Bachelors degree this December.
Rebecca uses her organizational and creativity skills to assist the Social Media Coordinator in day-to-day tasks including scheduling posts to various social media platforms and creating social media calendars. Rebecca has always had a passion for public relations and social media and is excited to be learning skills that will help expand her knowledge and gain experience to obtain a position in the field upon graduation.
Digital Media Strategist
Erin McLeod brings to TopFire Media an extensive client relations background and digital media savviness to help clients improve their digital presence.
As a digital media coordinator, Erin is the touchpoint between TopFire Media's clients and projects by overseeing the development processes. She assists the digital team in email marketing, graphic design, and overall web optimization. Her goal is to communicate effectively with clients on TopFire Media's best practices, strategies, and solutions.
Prior to working with TopFire Media, Erin had experience in print publication and retail management with companies such as Family Time Magazine, The Limited, and Illinois State University's Theatre Department. She holds a Bachelor of Sciences in Apparel Design from Illinois State University.
Jamie Paul is a digital lead at TopFire Media with a background in website design and development, email marketing design and strategy, print and production design, and brand identity and roll out.
Prior to joining the TopFire Media team, Jamie’s enthusiasm for technical problem solving and a passion for detail landed her the role as Director of Web Design and Development at a brand identity firm in Northwest Indiana, where she introduced the web division, email marketing, and tech department within the company. With over eight years of exposure in the branding world, she also possesses an array of knowledge and skill for design and production of promotional materials, print, interior environment design, and technology maintenance, making Jamie an invaluable creative addition to the TopFire Media tool belt.
As the Lead Web Designer of TopFire Media, Jamie’s primary responsibilities include conceptualizing, developing and launching website projects, ranging from splash pages to full websites. She serves as our internal creative production resource, providing creative direction and email marketing insight for ongoing client projects.
Jamie holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Graphics Technology from Purdue University.
Web Designer and Development Consultant
Jeff Carter is often described as a “serial entrepreneur.” He spent much of his career working for start-up companies and new project development. His strengths include marketing, technology and building large, highly effective teams. He has created sales and revenue models with customer service teams that have dramatically altered the revenue and profit models of traditional sales and marketing organizations.
In the late 90’s Jeff recognized that the widespread adoption of the internet could be used to alter the landscape of marketing and customer service integrations. As Founder and Chief Customer Service Officer of an early web based development company, his company wrote one of the first Content Management Systems, and then extended it to include a CMR, E-Commerce engine, Email marketing platform and accounting system. Jeff later became a leader in custom built CRM’s, web based application and marketing system development and integrated email, SMS and social marketing.
As a Senior Project Director, Jeff develops and writes a variety of applications for TopFire Media. His digital marketing integrations of email, SMS and social media tools have frequently been developed into enterprise wide custom CRM deployments. His most often quoted line “Let’s see if we can prove it makes money before we spend like a drunken sailor on a weekend leave” is posted on bathroom walls in many high profile development and advertising agencies around the country. Jeff attended St. Olaf College and The University of Phoenix and majored in Accounting and Business Management.
Fatima Sheremetyeva has a strong technical skill-set and extensive knowledge in web development. She enjoys bringing ideas to life through technology and has a high awareness of industry issues and trends, particularly in regard to accessibility, usability and emerging technology.
Fatima has vast experience covering both Front-end and Back-end web development technologies. Prior to joining TopFire Media, Fatima worked as a freelance web developer followed by a web developer for Phoronix Media working on websites such as Phoronix.com and OpenBenchmarking.org.
Fatima has an A.S. in Computer Science from Triton College and is currently pursuing a B.S. in web design and development.
Vice President, Operations
Judy has more than 25 years of diverse franchise experience. As Vice President of Operations, Judy’s current responsibilities include developing and implementing various advertising and marketing efforts on behalf of iFranchise Group, a sister company to TopFire Media. Judy oversees the company’s budgets, schedules, quality control and systems. She is also responsible for the daily management and administration of the corporate headquarters, including the day-to-day management and production oversight.
Judy also coordinates the company’s marketing and advertising campaigns (direct mail, print, and Internet), and organizes and attends trade shows throughout the country, where she meets with individuals to discuss their readiness to franchise and asses their franchise potential.
Over the course of her career, Judy has developed the franchise marketing strategies that have launched some of the nation’s largest franchised brands including Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Sunshine Café, Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard, A Shade Better, and Starmark Kitchen & Bath. Prior to her role in marketing, Judy assisted franchise with legal compliance issues. She holds a B.S. in Marketing from Purdue University.
Jaimee began her career as an administrative assistant at TopFire Media’s sister company, iFranchise Group.
As the administrative assistant for TopFire Media, Jaimee is a jack-of-all-trades. She is responsible for everything from scheduling meetings, to drafting client proposals, to preparing materials for trade shows. She also assists with digital media assessment. Jaimee is proficient at coordinating schedules and has a keen eye for details.
She is currently attending Lewis University, where she is pursuing a B.A. in Criminal Justice.
Bridget Goedke is a passionate communication professional with experience in journalistic writing and editing and social media marketing. During her time at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, she acted as a Senior Editor and columnist for the school’s weekly publication as well as a student blogger and social media assistant.
As an administrative coordinator, Bridget is responsible for a variety of tasks including scheduling, drafting client proposals and preparing materials for trade shows. She enjoys keeping up with the latest social media trends and industry standards through her work with TopFire Media.
Bridget recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from Saint Xavier University with a B.A. in Communication and concentrations in journalism, online communication and public relations.
Digital Marketing Consultant
A digital franchise marketing consultant with a decade of real-world experience, Kim joined TopFire Media in 2015. Kim is an expert at personally assessing a company’s marketing vision to help determine the best strategies and solutions for brand awareness and visibility. Her assessments include discussions about a company’s objectives and how an integrated digital media and public relations strategy can work together to provide optimal results within a specific budget to create success and meet the clients’ needs.
Kim has been intimately involved in the franchise online lead generation space since 2004, and has worked as a consultant at Franchisegator.com and later as vice president of sales at two other franchise portals. With a solid understanding of digital marketing strategies Kim’s extensive knowledge in the franchise space provides her with the expertise needed to assist clients with their digital and marketing efforts to help them achieve success in the franchise marketplace. Kim holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Humanities from University of West Florida.
A franchise business consultant since 1985, Mr. Siebert founded the iFranchise Group in 1998 as an organization dedicated to developing long-term relationships with successful franchisor clientele. Mr. Siebert has worked with hundreds of franchisors, from start-up operations to corporate giants. He is an expert in evaluating companies for franchisability, structuring franchise offerings, and developing franchise programs.
Specializing in aggressive growth strategies and implementation, Mr. Hood has held senior management and consulting positions within the franchising and retailing industries since 1988. He is an expert in areas of franchise development and implementation, retail management, site selection, international business, and strategic planning.
Since 1992, Mr. Stidham has been involved with over 1,700 franchised business start-ups, multi-unit, and area development agreements in over 45 countries. Mr. Stidham’s experience includes a variety of franchise categories including business and home services, and retail and food concepts for small franchisors and major companies such a MRI Worldwide, Dunhill Staffing Systems, Oberweis Ice Cream and Harris Research, Inc. (parent company of Chem-Dry and N-Hance Wood Renewal), a Home Depot company.
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our working processin 3 steps
TopFire Media knows franchising. We understand how to leverage and optimize digital marketing and public relations to help franchisors launch, renew, or differentiate their concept with potential franchisees.More about us +
planning & strategy
Our team develops plans and strategies that highlight your brand and motivate your target audiences to act.
design & develop
We create customized solutions for all of our digital clients.
test & deliver
Through ongoing communication, we quantify results for our clients and show the ROI of our work for them.