March 2005 : Franchising World
Mary Ellen Sheets
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Two Men And A Truck
First presented in 1982, this award is conferred upon an individual who is currently building a successful business venture. The recipient need not be an IFA member, but must exemplify the “entrepreneurial spirit” that franchising represents. He or she must demonstrate innovative management skills and be a risk taker in a franchise that has been in operation for at least three years, while remaining active in his or her community.
In the early 1980s, Mary Ellen Sheets' teenaged sons started a moving business with a pickup truck. After they left for college, customers kept calling. In 1985, Sheets paid $350 for an old moving truck and officially opened Two Men And A Truck. When she first sketched the now-famous company logo, a simple graphic of two stick men in a truck cab to catch readers’ attention, she never guessed it would lead to entrepreneurial success.
Sheets’ focus on the customer, along with a thorough understanding of data processing, quickly garnered her a reputation as an up-and-coming businessperson, which, in turn earned her a spot on a panel at a Michigan State University graduate business seminar in 1988. One of the panelists asked if she had ever considered franchising. The comment inspired Sheets to seek a franchise attorney. In 1988, she franchised the company and in 1989 Two Men And A Truck awarded its first franchise. There are now 150 locations in 27 states.
Sheets is a member of the IFA board of directors, the Franchisor Forum and Membership Committee. She serves on the boards of Lansing Community College, Michigan Freedom Foundation, Michigan Law Abuse Watch and Edward Sparrow Hospital. Sheets was the United Way Campaign Chair for 2004. She has won various awards, including the Athena Award, Michigan Top 25 Women Business Owners, Lansing Business Person of the Year and Ernst & Young Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS
YEAR WINNER COMPANY
2003 Russell Umphenour RTM Restaurant Group
2002 Steven J. Greenbaum, CFE PostNet International Franchise Corp.
2001 David G. McKinnon Service Brands International
2000 Sidney Feltenstein Yorkshire Global Restaurants
1999 Robert Funk, CFE Express Services
1998 Frank Belatti AFC Enterprises
1997 Richard B. Rennick, CFE American Leak Detection
1996 Anthony W. DeSio Mail Boxes Etc.
1995 Abe Gustin, Jr. Applebee’s International Inc.
1994 Julie and Bill Brice The Brice Group
1993 Shigeharu Komai Duskin Co.
1992 Joseph Francis, Sr. The Barbers, Hairstyling Inc.
1991 U. Gary Charlwood, CFE Uniglobe Travel Inc.
1990 Anthony Martino, CFE MAACO Enterprises
1989 Al Copeland Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits
1988 Fred DeLuca, CFE Subway Sandwiches & Salads
1987 W. J. Hindman, CFE Jiffy Lube International Inc.
1986 Thomas Monaghan Domino’s Pizza Inc.
1985 John Brown, Jr. KFC Corp.
1984 J. Willard Marriott Marriott Corp.
1983 Frank Carney, CFE Pizza Hut, Inc.
1982 Kemmons Wilson Holiday Inn Inc.