Denise Blaisdell awarded the 2023 Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward Scholarship

The rain was pouring on a gloomy Thursday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana – which it’s known to do around those parts – as Denise Blaisdell made her way to work.

She had already forgotten her phone at home to start the day, so she was a bit rushed. She also knew there was an announcement being posted that morning on the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® International Facebook page, but she didn’t know what it was about.

She kept refreshing the page at each stoplight. Nothing. What was it?

Confused as to why nothing was happening, Blaisdell continued her journey to the office. As she opened the door for what seemed like a normal day of work, her life instantly changed forever.

Standing there with a check for $50,000 was TWO MEN AND A TRUCK President Randy Shacka and in that instant, Blaisdell knew what was happening. She was being announced as the winner of the 2023 Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward Scholarship program.

“I can let this sit for a minute because you just put in six, seven months of amazing work to represent the [Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward Scholarship program],” Shacka said as members of the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Baton Rouge office looked on. “This program is based on grit, hard work, but most importantly, amazing people like yourself.”

“Congratulations, we are so happy for you.”

With one simple announcement – which was being streamed via Facebook Live – Blaisdell’s career path changed. She was now the winner of the scholarship program and will become a franchisee in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK system. After years of experience as the Regional Vice President of Operations for the TWO MEN AND A TRCK Baton Rouge and Mobile, Alabama offices, she will be taking the next step and becoming a business owner.

Her reaction in the moment said it all.

“Sheer joy. I’m overwhelmed, happy, proud of myself and my team,” Blaisdell said. “I’m so blessed to be in an organization that does something like this. I can’t believe that my life has led me to TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and that I’ve had this opportunity. I’m just overwhelmed.”

“I worked so hard for this. We worked so hard for this. It’s been a team effort.”

The tears flowed from Blaisdell’s face, and her team members embraced her with hugs and congratulations as the news set in. In preparation of the surprise – which a few members of the office were tipped off about to help facilitate the announcement – they decorated a special room to celebrate. It had snacks, balloons, and even celebratory champagne.

As Blaisdell tried to gather herself and her thoughts, she immediately began to reflect on her journey through the company and the scholarship program and reflected on how all the work she put in had finally paid off. Like any business owner, plans were already going through her mind.

“The first goal is to open in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and I’m really looking forward to getting up there, building the brand, diversifying the business, and becoming a name in New Jersey,” Blaisdell said. “But additionally, I’m really looking to continue growing my team – our team. They need to continue to move through the programs, too.”

Eventually, she wants her team to experience the opportunities she had with programs like the scholarship program, which taught her so much over the last year.

“It’s just been such a great learning opportunity,” Blaidsell said. “Regardless of me winning or not, I would have gained so much information and so much knowledge that you can’t put a price tag on.”

After a little business talk and thoughts on opening her franchise in New Jersey, Blaisdell shifted back into the moment. There would be plenty of time to talk about franchise opening plans, building a team, purchasing moving trucks, and spreading brand awareness in her new city.

The rest of the day was about celebration. Her team was ready to help and she was ready to participate.

How was she going to enjoy the day?

“Well, I think there’s going to be champagne. I’ll call my mom, my aunt, my sister. My phone has been blowing up,” Blaisdell said. “I think we might celebrate with some cake. It’s been a lot of work, and it’s going to be nice to kind of have that released and enjoy it for a day. Then, we’ll go right back at it tomorrow.”

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

2019 scholarship winner opens his first franchise in Texas


After a long journey and experience at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® over the years, more than year of course work and tasks, a dramatic celebration, and months and months of business planning, Juan Gallegos’ dream finally came true last week.

Gallegos – who won the 2019 Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward Scholarship award – opened his first franchise in El Paso, Texas, last week, helping to continue expanding the footprint for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and giving us another chance to make an impact in the Lone Star State. Gallegos is ready to get to work right away on his franchise, and is looking forward to the opportunity to run his own business. Continue reading

Juan Gallegos announced as the 2019 Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward® Scholarship Winner


Written by Erik Sargent

When Juan Gallegos arrived at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Quad Cities, Iowa office on Wednesday morning, he assumed it would be like any other day of work.

He knew he had a few meetings. Payroll also needed to be submitted, and he knew that was going to be a big chunk of his day. He also knew his franchisee, Bob Christensen, was stopping by to talk business, so that would come first. Continue reading

Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward® Scholarship candidates reflect on their journey through the program


-Written by Erik Sargent

As we get closer to the fall announcement of the 2019 Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward scholarship winner, candidates are making their final preparations and taking time to reflect on their journeys.

This week, remaining candidates in the program were at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Home Office location in Lansing, Mich., where they delivered the final interview portion and presented their business plans.. Each of them stopped by to talk about the lessons t they’ve learned throughout the past year and how the scholarship program has made them better employees overall. Continue reading

2018 TWO MEN AND A TRUCK scholarship winner opens her first franchise in the state of New Jersey


-Written by Erik Sargent

Moving forward – it’s a theme that is talked about often in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK family, and one we love talking about when it comes to our employees and franchisees.

This is evident in all levels of the company, especially with our Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward Scholarship program, which was designed to take managers in the system, and put them through training and educational programs, ultimately choosing a winner at the end  to be awarded $50,000 toward their own franchise. This is a great opportunity for people to elevate their careers, and our 2018 winner, Liz Friedmann, recently opened her own location, in partnership with the franchisee team she was part of, and is settling into her new role. Continue reading

A mutual connection and perfect timing set Tommy Watts on the path to franchising with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK


-Written by Erik Sargent

The TWO MEN AND A TRUCK brand has always put a heavy emphasis on moving employees forward in their careers, whether that’s people who started off on the frontline as a mover or someone who came from an entirely different background.

For new Franchisee Tommy Watts, his introduction to the brand was – in his own words –fate. A mutual connection between his wife, Elly, and TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Franchisee Charlie Allen would end up creating a path for Watts that led to him opening is own business this spring. Continue reading

Manager Juan Gallegos expanding his career through Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward® Scholarship Program


-Written by Erik Sargent

Like many team members in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK family, Juan Gallegos found an opportunity at a time in his life when he was looking for a change.

He wasn’t sure what kind of change exactly, but knew he wanted something different. He had recently moved to Rockford, Ill., and around that same time, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK opened a franchise in the area. One thing led to another, and soon Gallegos found himself in a mover position.

“I was in a place where I wanted something more,” said Gallegos, who is now regional manager at the Quad Cities, Iowa, franchise. “I had just moved to Rockford, and found TWO MEN AND A TRUCK. It has been a huge blessing and a great learning experience for me. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK is one of those special companies – if you want more, it’s there, you just have to exceed your own expectations.” Continue reading

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK General Manager works to fulfill a dream of business ownership through scholarship program


-Written by Erik Sargent

After working nearly 60 hours a week in a factory, Jarrod Brooks decided it was time for a change. He didn’t know what he was looking for, but knew he needed something new in his life.

Growing up on a farm, hard work and manual labor was something that was second-nature to him and when he saw a posting for a position with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, he thought it might be a welcomed change.

“I saw the posting for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and the thought of manual labor excited me,” said Brooks, who is currently the general manager for the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Lincoln, Neb., franchise. “This company has taught me to live outside my comfort zone and by doing so, it has taken me to new heights and taken me to places I never thought I would go when I walked in on my first day.” Continue reading

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Manager Blake Casey looks to become franchisee through scholarship program


-Written by Erik Sargent

What started out as a simply meeting through a mutual contact would end up putting Blake Casey on a path of business success – one he’s hoping will culminate with becoming a franchisee of his own TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchise one day.

Casey – who is currently the franchise manager for the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Grand Rapids South location – didn’t have much experience with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and had only seen the brand around town. Through a family member, Casey was able to meet Rob Felcher – the Grand Rapids South location franchisee – and learn all about what the brand had to offer. He was instantly intrigued. Continue reading

Operations Manager Shawn Abram takes next career step with Mary Ellen’s Moving People Forward® Scholarship Program


-Written by Erik Sargent

Shawn Abram left his old job to pursue a new career with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, and it was one simple reason that motivated his career move – he wanted more of a challenge.

Nearly nine years later, it’s safe to say that Abram has taken that challenge head on and certainly made the most of his opportunity with the brand. After joining as a mover, Abram has held just about every frontline position available, working his way up from mover to driver, then leader to driver, safety coordinator, training manager, and now operations manager for the Pittsburgh Southwest and Northeast locations. Continue reading