Pete Birkeland

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Pete Birkeland was named as “one of the top ten minds in small business” by Fortune Small Business Magazine and he has spent his career involved in organizational change, business model innovation, and productivity improvement in multiple industries including energy, bio-power, technology, consumer products, beverages, community banking, retail development and steel fabrication. 


Prior to joining Norton Global, Birkeland was Research Director with Accenture’s Change Management Practice, spearheading an enterprise-wide effort to understand the drivers that accelerate organizational change. He also worked closely with one of the world’s foremost business thinkers, Gary Hamel (author of Competing for the Future, Leading the Revolution, and The Future of Management), to determine how companies create and implement strategy innovation. Birkeland was CEO of a steel fabrication and erection company in the petroleum industry responsible for all operational and managerial responsibilities in the course of a turnaround and rebuilding effort. 


Birkeland is also an expert in franchising and distribution strategies. His book, Franchising Dreams, has won accolades from franchisors, franchisees, and academics and Birkeland has written extensively, given keynote speeches, and hosted an internet radio show on how to create a vibrant and profitable franchise system. 


Pete earned his Master’s (1989) and Ph.D. (1995) in economic sociology from the University of Chicago, focusing on organizational change and quantitative and qualitative research methods. Birkeland continues to lecture on Business Model Innovation at the University of Chicago Graham School. He has been a professor of strategic management and organization at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, and continues to teach in the Executive Education Program.