There has been a lot of change over the past decade with the Mackie family in Oshawa, synonymous with trucking in Durham Region. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that Mackie Transportation continues to have family at the helm, with the fifth generation steering the company toward its 100th year in business.
Mackie Transportation now has a new home at 290 Cordova Rd., a former trucking terminal and shop that sits on a 10-acre parcel of land and has been completely renovated to house the company. Mackie Transportation today runs about 100 trucks and 200 trailers out of the facility, with 140 drivers and employees.
It’s owned by Dean and Cindy Mackie, and run by their children Shawn and Sara Mackie. The company’s largest customer remains GM, but in addition to auto parts and enclosed cars, it hauls dry van and refrigerated freight for an increasingly diverse customer base.
The company was founded in 1928 by Charlie Mackie, hauling fruits and vegetables from Oshawa-area farms to Toronto markets. It expanded into household moving in the 1930s, a part of the business that was sold to Canada Cartage in 2022. It was part of a succession plan a decade in the making, which has seen the freight transportation business remain in the family’s control.
“In 2014, the company split,” Dean Mackie told Trucknews.com during a recent interview at the company’s new terminal. The local Harley Davidson dealership, household moving and high-value loads businesses were eventually sold. Mackie Transportation with its focus on general freight, car hauling, roll-tite and reefer loads remained owned by Dean and his wife Cindy.
“We’re the last Mackie standing, still in trucking,” Dean joked.
The family has trucking in its blood. Shawn and Sara run the day-to-day business, Shawn focused more on operations and Sara on finance. Dean still works in the company, and credits his children with earning their roles. Shawn said he developed a passion for the industry from a young age, going on trips with his father and uncles. His first roles were sweeping the parking lot and cutting the grass.
“Once that was approved by my grandpa (Ross Mackie) I got to sweep trailers. Then when I passed that approval, I got to sweep the warehouse,” he recalled. After college, Shawn Mackie bought his first truck. “Besides my paper route, every paycheck I’ve earned has been from the family business,” he said.
Sara forged a similar path, but in the office where she began by shredding papers and taking truck trips with father Dean. She left the family business for a while but was drawn back in, and she too eventually bought her own truck.
When the succession plan was put into place beginning 10 years ago, Dean was reluctant to sell the business, given the interest his children showed in running it.
“In 2014 we had a heart to heart,” Dean Mackie recalled. “Both kids wanted to continue on, which helped make our decision easier. We wanted to keep the name going.”
For Shawn and Sara, this has meant weathering some severe challenges, such as the Covid-related pandemic and related supply chain disruptions that made it difficult to procure new equipment. Shawn said the company’s proud it kept everyone employed during the pandemic. And while freight conditions are soft this year, Dean says Mackie has stayed busy.
Another challenge was the closing of the GM plant, which has since reopened. When GM closed the plant in 2019 it represented about 35% of Mackie Transportation’s business.
While the company has diversified, Mackie has been servicing the plant for decades and the family is happy to see it back open.
“It has been a great thing for the city of Oshawa and the many suppliers in this area,” Dean said.
Mackie Transportation is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year and plans a series of events for drivers and staff during National Trucking Week, as well as an open house for suppliers and customers in late September.
Meanwhile, it already has its eyes on its centennial celebrations in 2028.
“We should start saving for it,” Shawn joked.
Looking forward, Sara says the goal is to continue with “moderate growth” and hopefully bringing in a sixth generation of Mackies to help. She has two daughters and Shawn has four sons who already can be found in the yard cleaning out trucks and trailers or taking out the garbage.
Sara recently obtained her A/Z licence, despite spending most of her time at a desk.
“It’s good to have,” she said. “I think it shows credibility, and I have a new appreciation and understanding of what the drivers do every day. My grandpa, back in the day, said anyone who worked in the family business had to get it, so he’s pretty proud. I’d like to do the odd run as well, go on the road and do a trip. I want to experience what the drivers are experiencing.”
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