Mary Ellen Sheets, Founder

History with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

In 25 years, Mary Ellen Sheets has taken her sons’ small moving business and driven it to an international corporation with more than 1,900 trucks and 300 locations worldwide. After her sons, Brig and Jon Sorber, left for college, the business continued to receive numerous requests so Sheets decided to take it over. She purchased an old moving truck for $350 – the only money she ever invested in the company – and hired two movers. The business grew steadily and Sheets’ entrepreneurial spirit became well known in the Lansing area. Eventually, she quit her state government job (foregoing her retirement) to put 100 percent into her thriving moving business.

She awarded the first franchise to her daughter, Melanie Bergeron, a year later. It was located in Atlanta, Ga.

By 1989, Sheets had developed the business into the first and only local moving franchise in the country. Last year, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc.’s annual revenue was more than $300 million.

Sheets considers herself fortunate to have all three children actively involved in running the company. Brig Sorber is currently CEO. Melanie Bergeron acts as chair of the board of directors. Jon Sorber is executive vice president.

“When I look back, I can’t believe this all happened,” she says. “I am in shock and so grateful. I definitely think this is the American dream. We live in a wonderful country.”

Awards

  • 2005 Ernst & Young International Runner-up Entrepreneur of the Year 
  • 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year by the International Franchise Association for her vision and savvy. She was the first woman to earn this award in its 40 year history.
  • 2004 Michigan Women’s Foundation Women of Achievement and Courage Award 
  • 2002 Athena Award
  • 1999 Working Women’s 500 Congress
  • 1999 Working Women’s Best Employer Regional Finalist
  • 1998 Blue Chip Award
  • 1995 Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year Award
  • 1994 Top 25 Michigan Business Woman of the Year
  • 1993 Lansing Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year.

Community Service

A key portion of Sheets' business model is to give back to the community. Always active in local service projects, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s commitment to the community began with Sheets. At the end of her first year in business, she profited $1,000 and then donated all of it -- giving $100 to 10 different charities.

Sheets established the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Micro Enterprise Fund to encourage fledgling business owners. She is the supporter of many other charities.

Book Mentions

  • What’s Luck Got to Do With It?
  • Start Small — Finish Big
  • Women Entrepreneurs Only
  • The Girl's Guide to Building a Million Dollar Business
  • Masters of Success
  • Glorious Accidents
  • Millionaire Women

Among Her Hundreds of Speaking Engagements

  • Louisiana State University
  • Michigan State University
  • Wake Forest University
  • University of Texas at El Paso
  • Michigan Women’s Attorney Association
  • International Franchise Association’s Franchisor Forum at McDonald’s University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Wayne State University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Shanghai University
  • Australian Franchise Annual Convention
  • Mexican Franchise Annual Convention
  • Canadian Franchise Annual Convention

Features/Publications

  • Pink Magazine
  • The Franchise Times
  • BusinessWeek Online
  • The Detroit Free Press
  • The National Enquirer
  • The Oprah Winfrey Show
  • NBC’s Today Show
  • How I Made My Millions

Boards

  • International Franchise Association
  • Lansing Chamber of Commerce
  • Lansing Regional Business Travel Trust
  • Michigan Chamber of Commerce
  • Michigan Freedom Foundation
  • M-LAW ( Michigan Law Abuse Watch)
  • Sparrow Hospital
  • Commissioner on the Michigan Truck Safety Commission
  • Capital Region Community Foundation
  • Gateway
  • Capital Area United Way (Campaign Chair)
  • Lansing Art Gallery
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Executive Profiles

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