Lightbridge Academy appoints former Dental Care Alliance VP as new chief development officer

Lightbridge Academy on Monday said it hired Craig Murray as its new chief development officer, with the hopes of him building on its franchise development momentum and to ensure incoming franchisees have the support they need to thrive.

Murray brings 15 years’ experience as a real estate developer in the dental industry, where he worked for three major dental organizations, built over 300 dental offices in 20 states and managed a $180 million book of business. Murray’s most recent role was as a divisional vice president for Dental Care Alliance, where he helped the company scale its operations by establishing best practices across over 100 offices.

Murray will lead and oversee Lightbridge’s franchise development team, leveraging his experience to create a repeatable, best-in-class development process that enables the Lightbridge Academy brand to scale in a responsible manner.

As one of the nation’s leading early education and child care providers, Lightbridge has experienced impressive franchise growth this year, expanding into both new and existing markets with eight unique signings for a total of 14 new locations to date.

“It was all about timing — I was looking for a chance to apply my operational and development experience and help to bring an organization to the next level,” Murray said. “Over the past 25 years, (Lightbridge) has done a great job expanding responsibly throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Now that it is time for the brand to grow nationally, I am excited to be in a leadership role that allows me to help advance the company’s growth plans.”

Murray brings outstanding broker relations, the ability to identify prime site selections and effective lease negotiation skills, along with a successful track record of reducing lease expenses, to his new role.

“We can bring a new speed to market by tapping into long-term relationships across the country with developers, real estate brokers and construction firms in order to build best-in-class educational child care centers for our franchisees,” Murray said. “As soon as we sell a franchise, my team will be there step by step to walk them through the people, processes and systems that are in place to move them from signing of an agreement to opening their center.”

By the end of 2022, the Lightbridge team hopes to add 15 new centers across the country and is targeting several markets primed for growth, including Texas, Virginia and Florida.