A Targeted Approach

The franchise industry offers unique nuances, opportunities, and challenges that create advantages in hiring executive leadership on an as-needed or project basis.

Fractional Leadership

Fractional executives or integrators are leaders who fill a part-time C-suite or Management role. The right part-time or project-based leader can have the same impact on a business as many full-time staff. They bring their experience and skill to a business and may lend a certain amount of credibility to a company. Often, these fractional executives benefit start-ups, small business, emerging brands, and help fuel growth.

Why Use A Fractional Leader?

There are areas where fractional executives or integrators can help build a business. They may be more experienced in business or the industry than many fulltime employees. They can add a fresh perspective to a business and team.


Leadership is challenging and at times overwhelming. Fractional leadership can bring support, coaching, proven track record and improve chances of success.


One of the biggest challenges with a growing or emerging business is the decision on when and how to grow. The right fractional executive can help make the best decisions about growing a business.


Fractional executives may cost more per hour than many other employees however, the right fractional executive is a sound investment bringing a positive impact on guiding and supporting business successful.

Coaching & Mentorship

Fractional executives can leverage their expertise to coach and mentor both the business owner and key team members building a sustainable path for business, professional, and personal growth.

Fresh Perspective

The right fractional executive will offer a fresh perspective and help business owners solve problems. They have a wide range of reference points providing informed input.

Areas of Focus (Services)


  1. Franchise Leadership
    Leadership and day to day management for start-up, emerging, and seasoned franchise brands. Expertise in sales, operations, marketing, support, communication, franchise relations, training, events, franchise development, regulation, financial management, brand standards, accountability, and shareholder communication.
  2. Franchise Development
    Executive sponsorship and management of recruiting, approving, and onboarding successful franchise owners. Guide and advise FranDev managers, development directors (recruiter), coordinators, and appointment setters. Provide team management, training, team building, accountability, and execution. Advise in resale transactions, funding methods, franchise brokers, and franchise development marketing.
  3. Strategy Planning
    Facilitate results-oriented business planning focused on setting priorities, allocating energy and resources, aligning teams and stakeholders, identifying leading indicators (key success factors), and insuring execution and accountability. Leading highly effective teams including annual and quarterly planning sessions, effective leadership meetings, one on one accountability session, and driving results.
  4. Coaching & Mentoring
    Individual coaching and mentoring for executives and leadership team members designed to boost confidence, improve work performance, providing a safe place to gain perspective, build personal awareness, and improve specific skills.
  5. Board of Director
    Provide fiduciary responsibility steering organizational sustainability by adopting sound, ethical, legal governance, and financial management policies. Provide oversight and promote overall policies that support the organizational mission and vision.

The Team

DARIN HICKS, President

Darin formed Crest Consulting to provide fractional leadership to companies and individuals focused on driving results and growth. He previously served as the Chief Operating Officer with City Wide Franchise from November 2015 through April 2020. Prior to City Wide, he served as the Vice President of Operations with AlphaGraphics, and the CFO/COO with Basecamp Franchising. He has been a trusted key player in the success, growth, and strategy of the companies he served.

Darin is a graduate of the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. He continued his studies at the University of Utah where he earned a Master of Business Administration. His experience in business strategy, sales, operations, marketing, finance, and accounting give him a unique and versatile set of business skills. He has executive, management, and consulting experience in various industries including franchising, print, automotive, business to business, and retail. He has developed a solid basis in business practices and a versatile view of business opportunities.

Darin has enjoyed the opportunity to teach several college-level courses including marketing, management, operations, accounting, and math. He values education and finds fulfillment in assisting others in their academic pursuits.

Darin has had the opportunity to serve in the United States Marine Corps, local elected/appointed governmental offices, various religious/community volunteer positions, and coaching youth athletics. He and his family have participated in a variety of activities including sports, performing arts, travel, outdoor activities, and community service. Darin and his wife Wendy have four children.

CHAD STEWART, Senior Consultant

Chad joined the Crest Consulting team in 2022. He has spent a career in business innovation and new-thought leadership. Early in Chad’s career he pioneered one of the first small business website WYSIWYG editors and e-commerce shopping systems, empowering thousands of small businesses to advance in the early e-commerce days of the Internet.

Chad was instrumental in leading AlphaGraphics, Inc. from a traditional print franchise into a prominent Marketing Service Provider and world-class communication brand. Chad’s first-hand experience in the world of Franchising has served as a catalyst in his desire to build structure and best practice disciplines in other areas of business including as President of Orbit Medical, a multi-state Durable Medical Equipment Brand and later as an executive at Big Leap, where he deployed an integrated sales and marketing approach through Account Based Marketing which saw both brands see substantial growth in revenue, market share and EBITDA. Chad has been the executive sponsor over areas of finance, operations, marketing and sales. Chad has enjoyed consulting in a variety of fields including Learning Management Systems, SAAS and CRM which has lent him to working with brands in a wide variety of vertical markets.

Chad is a proud father of 5 children and married for more than 24 years to his wife Jennifer. Chad enjoys volunteering for his local religious community and is an alumnus of the University of Utah where he is the recipient of multiple degrees and can be found passionately rooting at all their home football games.

PAOLA FLORES HALL, Franchise Development Coach

Paola joined Crest Consulting in 2022. She is passionate about helping people fulfill their business ownership dreams through franchising. She has spent her career as a Counselor for non-profit organizations, a Business Data Analyst, Franchise Development Coordinator and Support Manager for a print franchise.

Paola has earned her Certified Executive Franchise (CFE) designation and is fluent in Spanish. Her experience in leadership, CRM management, operations, franchise development, creating and facilitating training, and interpersonal skills bring unique and versatile opportunities for clients and strategic partners.

She is considered a trusted and analytical contributor in all her ventures as she is committed to excellence and integrity.

Paola is a proud mother to her son and married to her husband Dane for close to 20 years. She is an active member of her community leading a non-profit organization. Paola enjoys connecting, mentoring, and empowering women find their passion and calling in life. She finds much fulfillment in supporting and cheering for her son on track and field events, trail running, strength training, and exploring the outdoors.


I’ve worked with many people in my life, and I can confidently say there are very few people like Darin in our world. He was part of our executive team for four years, and I was always amazed at his ability be a friend to all, yet keep his focus on the visions he had for the company. His mind is exceptional and a loyal person to have on any team. I am so grateful that our paths crossed both personally and professionally. Darin is just flat out a great person, he is a great father, a husband, son, sibling, church member, coworker and friend. He gives his time and talent like no one else I know, has unlimited energy, loves the Lord unconditionally, has all of his priorities in the right place and is someone who I aspire to be more like.

Jeff Oddo

CEO/Owner, City Wide Franchise

It was my pleasure to work alongside Darin at AlphaGraphics, Inc. Darin has an ability to inspire others as a leader. He offers an excellent mix of expertise that extends into nearly all the business disciplines. His passion for franchising as a business model is contagious. It makes great business sense to reach out to Darin as a trusted associate and adviser.

Chad Stewart


For almost 3 years, I had the honor to be lead and developed by Darin Hicks as City Wide Franchise Chief Operation Officer. Darin lead all aspects of running the day to day operations at City Wide Corporate and 65+ Franchisees across the United States and Canada. While leading these operations, he continued to support and coach our National Business Development team in signing and on-boarding over $17 million in 2019. This was unprecedented at City Wide and his leadership opened the possibility that our Franchisees and Home Office could support this growth and new business from National Sales. Darin Hicks knows how to develop people, build trust with Franchisees and create systems and processes to make a franchise organization reach its full-potential.

Jeff Hawkins

SVP Sales and Marketing

Darin Hicks is a person of exceptional energy and depth. He is a gifted marketer, an operations-minded strategist, and has the fortitude to see any project or startup from idea to inception. I had the great pleasure of working with Darin during his tenure with Basecamp Franchising. I’ve seen first-hand his ability to create teams, gather people around a vision, and roll up his sleeves and get to work. Darin brings with him personal qualities of sincerity, candor, charisma, and most importantly caring about people and the big picture. His roots are in accounting and operations, but he can grasp hearts-and-mind issues as much as he can the bottom line of any initiative.

Matt Bullock

Vice President of Marketing

Darin is one of the brightest and strategic leaders I have worked with. He is a valued member of my Vistage group and is much appreciated for his insight, caring and intelligence. One of the most competitive leaders I have ever met who works hard to win but puts culture, kindness and fairness ahead of everything. A terrific leader, a great friend and a wonderful man. It’s an honor to know him.

Jeff Hutsell

Master Vistage Coach