Founder of Two Men and a Truck/International, Inc.
Mary Ellen Sheets is the founder of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc., located in Lansing, Michigan. Encompassing 200 locations in 33 states, Canada and Ireland, and including a fleet of 1,300 trucks, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the nation’s first and largest franchised local moving company. In the 1980s, Sheets’ two teenaged sons, Brig Sorber and Jon Sorber, started a small moving business to earn spending money. After they left for college, customers kept calling, so Sheets decided to run the business herself while holding a full-time data processing job. She hired two employees and purchased a truck for the small investment of $350, the only capital she has ever invested in the company. Sheets data analysis experience combined with her commitment to customer service, earned her a spot on a panel for Michigan State University in 1988. This experience sparked an interest in franchising. It wasn’t long before her daughter, Melanie Bergeron, opened the first franchise outside of Lansing in Atlanta, Georgia. Sheets considers herself very fortunate to have her children active in the company. Brig Sorber is president and chief executive officer, Melanie Bergeron is chair, and Jon Sorber is executive vice president. Always active in community service projects, Sheets profited $1,000 and gave $100 to ten different charities at the end of her first year. The system now donates a portion of every move to the American Cancer Society and encourages all franchises to get involved with local communities. In 2006, Sheets was a finalist in the Ernst and Young International Entrepreneur of the Year award. In 2005, she was the first woman honored in 40 years with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the International Franchise Association. She received the Michigan Women’s Foundation Women of Achievement and Courage Award in 2004; won the Athena Award in 2002; was awarded the 1999 Working Woman 500 Congress; was a Working Woman’s 1999 Best Employer Regional Finalist; won the 1998 Blue Chip Award; was named the 1995 Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year Award; and was a Top 25 Michigan Business Woman of the Year in 1994.