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Back behind the wheel: Family-run trucking company launches

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Trucking business

Kingsbury entrepreneur Mark Miller, right, and his stepson Drew Trombley pose in front of their Magnet Transport Services trucks. The trucking business is Miller's latest venture, and Trombley is his partner and future owner.

KINGSBURY — Mark Miller’s working life has basically come full circle, and in the process the 64-year-old Kingsbury resident has gotten to share two of those lives with his boys — including his latest trucking venture, Magnet Transport Group.

As a kid fresh out of high school in Randolph, Vermont, Miller said he “needed some direction” and decided he’d become a trucker.

“I also needed to get out of the small town,” he said.

He traveled to Texas as a 19-year-old to start driving big rigs and seeing the country.

He said he was drawn to life on the road back then — and now that love is back.

“I love scenery. I love traveling and meeting new people and seeing new things,” he said in a recent interview. “People say, ‘don’t you get bored?’ and I say ‘no.’ I don’t even turn music on most of the time.”

But the road kept him from home and his wife and young son, Bill. And it was after a chat with an entrepreneurial uncle who gave him a copy of Entrepreneur magazine that he decided to park the truck and open an AmeriClean franchise to start power-washing his way across the region for more than 30 years.

“I couldn’t even say ‘entrepreneur’ back then and still can’t spell it,” he said with a laugh. “But that’s where I learned about the AmeriClean franchise. The business plan for the first few years was dinner. Making enough to provide dinner.”

He stayed with it, however, and in 2013 he transformed that business into Performance Industrial and for years specialized in major industrial power-washing jobs.

But in 2020 he was looking for change.

His son Bill had been working with him for the past seven years and it was time to pass the business down to him, he said, an exit strategy he had hoped for.

And a couple of years earlier, the itch to drive big trucks had surfaced again and he began driving for a friend’s trucking business in Canada after reaching out and telling the friend he’d be willing to do some part-time hauling.

Then his entrepreneurial spirit surfaced again and he decided he wanted his own truck.

He said he asked himself why, especially with access to driving jobs for his buddy whenever he wanted.

“The more I thought about it, the more I realized, I want to start another business, not just a trucking company,” he said.

With Bill having purchased the power-washing business, he turned to his 31-year-old stepson, Drew Trombley, to be his partner.

“It didn’t take many conversations at all and we both decided to start a trucking company together,” he said, adding that the business, which offers large and small trucking services locally and nationally, was launched in December 2020.

Trombley said Miller has been a father figure and “mentor” in his life for 25 years and he shared a passion for trucks, so partnering up in the trucking business was an easy decision.

He said he previously didn’t have Miller’s entrepreneurial drive to own a business, but he has it now.

“And knowing that he has the faith in me gives me quite a bit of confidence,” he said, adding that was something he lacked in the past.

Miller said he only plans to be active in the business for a few years. The plan is to have Trombley take it over, leaving both boys running businesses he created.

Trombley said the prospect of running the business after Miller steps away is a little daunting.

“It feels good, but I’m not going to lie, it’s a little scary,” he said. “But I kind of learned over the last few years that the stuff that scares you or makes you nervous pushes you harder.”

When he does step aside, Miller said you won’t find him rocking in a chair.

He’ll still drive truck for Trombley when he wants to and he said he might help the dairy farmers near his Kingsbury home, do a little camping, and spend time with the grandkids.

As for advice for other entrepreneurs?

“I encourage people to have mentors,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of great mentors in my life.”

Trombley, having obviously heard the word ‘mentor’ a fair amount from Miller, praised his stepdad as his mentor — but said he’s also a real friend.

“I’m thankful to be part of a business with such an amazing mentor,” he said.

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