Oshawa’s Mackie Transport celebrating 95 years in business

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Published August 31, 2023 at 4:06 pm

A new home and a succession plan for his kids were top of mind for Dean Mackie as his family trucking company rolled towards a century in business.

Mackie Transportation, which began business life in 1928 when Charlie Mackie started hauling lumber, produce and whatever else needed to be shipped in the North Bay area before taking his fledgling firm south to truck fruits and vegetables from Oshawa-area farms to Toronto markets.

Two years later the company got into household moving – Mackie became part of the North American Van Lines network in 1952 – and eventually bought a Harley-Davidson motorcycle business and became known for shipping high-value loads as well.

All that changed in 2014 when the Mackie began selling off the moving business and high-value transportation side of things, a process that lasted until 2022. That was also the year the company moved into new digs at 290 Cordova Road, a former 10-acre trucking terminal that was completely renovated to house the company.

The company is owned by Dean Mackie and his wife with its focus on general freight, car hauling, roll-tite and reefer loads, with day-to-day operations now handled by their children Shawn and Sara, the fifth generation of Mackies to take control.

 

The senior Mackies could have simply sold the business a decade ago and lived the retired life but both kids expressed an interest in taking over, which set the plan to sell off part of the business and move from their rented facility on the Oshawa-Whitby border to the new headquarters in south-west Oshawa in motion.

“We wanted to have something the kids could carry on with down the road,” Dean Mackie said. “It’s all part of the succession plan.”

Shawn Mackie is focused on operations while Sara Mackie, who became the Toronto Trucking Association’s first woman president in 2022, serves as the company’s Director of Finance.

Both children earned their roles from youth, with Shawn sweeping the parking lots and cutting grass before becoming a truck driver for the company. Sara, who now proudly sports her own AZ license, put in her time in the office as a teen and after a short stint away from the business came back to stay.

The company, which has a staff of about 140 people, runs some 100 trucks and 200 trailers out of the facility, with a focus on general freight – both dry van and refrigerated freight – as well as car hauling, roll-tite and reefer loads.

Auto transportation is one of their specialities and the company ships vehicles across North America in enclosed auto transport, open auto transport, and motorcycle transport.

The closing of the GM plant – which represented more than a third of Mackie’s business, was challenging, as was the pandemic and the subsequent supply chain problems that drove up prices and made life difficult for businesses around the globe.

But Mackie Transportation kept all their employees working through it all and GM is back in business of making cars while Mackie is back shipping them around Canada and the U.S. While recovery has been slower than hoped, Dean Mackie says the company is still busy.

Mackie Transportation is celebrating 95 years in business this year and will be hosting events for drivers and staff during National Trucking Week September 3-9, with an open house for customers and suppliers later in the month.

With 100 years not far away, “moderate controlled growth” in the forecast and the kids running the company, Dean Mackie can finally sit back and reflect on a lifetime in the family business.

“We’ve come a long way.”

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