Husband and wife switch careers, operate trucking company 

By Shirley Hawkins

Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES — Teneisha Cephas and her husband McColm, are the owners-operators of T and M Production Management, a Los Angeles-based trucking company.

“Our company used to be located in Texas, but we relocated to California in 2018,” said Teneisha, who is from Trinidad-Tobago and is the chief executive officer of the company while her husband, McColm, originally from West Africa, Liberia, serves as the chief operating officer.

“Going into trucking was definitely a career switch for us,” Teneisha Cephas said. “We previously owned an events company, where we did fashion shows and hosted other public events and we traveled a lot. But we had two small children to care for and I didn’t want to be with them on the road.”

The trucking industry, which provides goods and services to millions of businesses across the country 24 hours a day, continues to boom. Recent statistics from Infotruck report that in 2022, the trucking industry accrued $940.8 billion in gross freight revenue alone.

“Our specialty is transporting containers, which could contain furniture, food supplies or clothes from the Port of Los Angeles to a designated warehouse,” said Teneisha, who said that the company owns an 18-wheeler.

“There is no one specific type of product that we specialize in,” she said, adding that more minorities should look into the trucking industry for its unlimited growth potential.

“We are in a male-dominated business but women are slowly getting into the business,” Teneisha said. “I feel that women should take up space in any industry they choose.

“You don’t see many women of color in this industry,” she added. “I recommend women take up space in the trucking business because there is a lot of room for growth and opportunity.”

When the couple’s truck engine blew out in 2023, Pacific Coast Regional gave them their first business loan to help purchase a truck.

That was followed by business support they received at the Los Angeles Business Source Center, managed by the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation. Their senior business and lending coach Terry Gubatan guided them through securing a business loan from the economic development corporation’s Community Development Financial Institution. The couple’s profit and loss balance sheet was reviewed

and they were able to secure another loan to purchase their truck.

McColm Cephas drives the truck and negotiates the price of the load. He said there are certain regional guidelines that the truck owner-operator should adhere to.

“If you accept to transport a load, you have to make sure that the load will make money because you have to pay for the diesel fuel so you don’t want to take a load to just break even because you have to make a profit,” he said. “It is a unique and profitable business, but once in a while things can go wrong.

“When you accept a job, you have to be attentive and on time. I always try to be at the delivery point 30 minutes to an hour before the delivery deadline,” he said, adding that the company delivers loads throughout California, Arizona and Nevada and that he had just returned from Arizona.

“Sometimes you might have tire problems such as your tire suddenly going flat,” McColm Cephas added. “You might have to use Google to find a nearby mechanic to come fix the flat and it might take 5 to 6 hours just waiting for someone to show up and fix the tire. 

“Then the California Highway Patrol might pull you over. They might stop you to see if you are in compliance with the regional trucking rules. If you’re not in compliance, they can shut you down for 10 hours. You have to be mindful of the rules and regulations of the trucking industry,” he added.

Teneisha Cephas said that there are many resources for minority-owned businesses. 

“I’m a client with the New Economics for Women,” she said. “They helped me to grow and find resources to expand my business.”

Teneisha Cephas said that the vice president and senior business consultant for JP Morgan Chase Bank, Alejandra Fennell, has given her inadvice about her business and now serves as her mentor.

“She has helped me to strategize different ways to grow my company so it can be successful,” Teneisha Cephas added.

The company has no plans of slowing down. 

“We have plans to expand our fleet to 10 trucks by 2030, add dispatching services, and explore warehousing solutions,” Teneisha Cephas said. “This vision for our future growth underscores the expansive potential within the trucking industry.”

The couple say they enjoy running a trucking business.

“I love that I am a part of an industry that is needed,” Teneisha Cephas said. “It feels good when people receive their supplies to run their businesses because you are of service and you make a difference. Plus, we are building generational wealth for our kids. There are so many parts of trucking and logistics that one can go into.”

“I work for myself, I make my own decisions, and I like being able to take care of my family and responsibilities,” McColm Cephas added.

Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at