Thu November 17, 2022
Mark Miller has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. It's what led him to start a new business venture, Magnet Transport Group, in 2020, following 34 years of owning and operating an industrial cleaning, painting and epoxy flooring company.
"My dad was a truck driver, and I drove a truck for several years after high school before entering the industrial cleaning industry. When I grew my cleaning business [Performance Industrial] to the point it could operate without me, I started driving trucks part-time for my friend Greg Liebl, owner of High Road Transport. I've always had an interest in heavy equipment and enjoyed the opportunity to travel the country as a driver," Miller said.
"At age 63, I wasn't ready to retire, but I was ready for a challenge in starting a new business. So, in 2020, I sold Performance Industrial to my son Bill and daughter-in-law, Karen, and started Magnet Transport Group with my stepson Drew [Trombley]," Miller said.
According to Miller, warehousing, construction and other commercial industries in Upstate New York requiring transportation services were growing rapidly, creating the perfect market conditions for Miller and Trombley to enter the trucking industry.
During the fall of 2020, the Kingsbury, N.Y.-based company purchased its first truck — a Kenworth W990 equipped with a 76-in. sleeper, 505 hp engine and 18-speed automated transmission from New England Kenworth — Burlington, Vermont.
Magnet Transport Group specializes in hauling oversized loads on flatbed and step-deck trailers in all 48 states and also transports general freight in dry van trailers throughout the Northeast. Miller gained valuable experience hauling oversized freight while previously working for High Road Transport.
For Miller and Trombley, the decision to start a company with Kenworth's latest long hood was an easy one.
"Drew and I have both driven W900s in the past and we really liked that model and the quality of trucks Kenworth produces," said Miller. "We also have some friends that own trucking companies and operate Kenworths and they advocated for us to go in the direction of buying a Kenworth.
"When it came down to choosing the model, as a new company, we wanted to build a uniform fleet with new model trucks. And since we like the classic style of trucks, the W990 made sense. We expected it to be a step up from what we experienced driving the W900, and it sure is."
Since purchasing its first W990, Magnet Transport Group added a W990 day cab in 2021 to better accommodate growing regional delivery demands. Trombley is the full-time driver of the W990 day cab and the company hired its "first" driver this past summer. Before, Miller and Trombley would split time operating the W990s.
"Now that we have a full-time over-the-road driver and Drew handling regional driving, I have more time to focus on growing the business," said Miller.
"We're very active in prospecting new customers in our area to work with; developing working relationships with other trucking companies in Upstate New York; and in browsing load boards for freight to haul. Our goal is to add another W990 next year and add several more trucks in the following years to meet demands. As we grow the fleet and hire more drivers, Drew will phase out of his role as a primary driver and spend more time running the business."
Prior to joining Magnet Transport Group, Trombley drove for a regional beverage carrier, where he gained valuable driving experience. Over the course of his career, he's driven a variety of trucks, including Kenworth W900s. According to Trombley, the layout of the cab and driving experience of the W990 compared to the W900 is a significant step up.
"I have a lot more legroom driving the W990 compared to the W900 and the seats are more comfortable," said Trombley. "The visibility over the front of the hood and through the side mirrors are noticeably better as well, which makes it an easier and more enjoyable truck to drive."
On the road, Trombley credits the W990s improved turning radius and fuel economy over the W900 as key performance differences between the two models.
"By design, the W990 is more aerodynamic than the W9 and we definitely notice the W990's improved fuel efficiency at the pump," said Trombley. "The new model also seems to have a smoother, sharper turning radius, which is especially helpful in navigating tight job sites and industrial facilities."
Magnet Transport Group was an early Kenworth W990 adopter, and there weren't many on the road when the company started operating its first one.
"Now we see quite a few of them," said Miller. "We receive compliments all the time about the look of our trucks, which are a direct representation of our company. We keep them nice and clean to support our image as a quality and professional company."
As Magnet Transport Group has its eyes set on growth, Miller said that the W990 will be its choice of truck to continue building its fleet.
"Just like some people become tied to one car brand, like Ford or Chevy, Drew and I are now Kenworth people," said Miller. "We look forward to the opportunity to continue to grow our family business and the W990 will definitely be a part of it."
For more information, visit www.kenworth.com.