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OWIB alumnae updates: Normandin now leads a Hopedale trucking empire

A photo of Cynthia Normandin Photo | Courtesy of Braun’s Express Alumnae updates: Cynthia Normandin, Class of 2009

When her husband asked her to leave her job as a seventh-grade math teacher to help run his growing trucking company, Cynthia Normandin responded with pluck. She had young children, and it seemed like the right time to help run the family business.

“I consider myself a constant learner, and I said, ‘I can do anything!’” said Normandin.

That’s certainly proven true. Today, she serves as president and CEO of two Hopedale companies: Braun’s Express and Normandin Transportation Services, a nationwide transportation and logistics company. As her husband planned his partial retirement, Normandin became CEO of Braun’s Express in 2018. Yet she’s owned Normandin Transportation Services since she acquired it in 2008, a move she insisted on. David Normandin finally relented, she said, and it’s been her company ever since.

Normandin has had an integral role in growing the business to what it is today. With a niche in freight services for the flooring industry in the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic, the two companies now employ 236 people and operate 161 trucks and 342 trailers out of eight facilities.

While the trucking industry is nothing if not male-dominated, strategically growing the company based in the small town of Hopedale has been a labor of love.

“I actually love the industry. It is one of the largest and strongest industries (and it’s) not appreciated by the general public,” said Normandin, noting most people don’t think twice about how goods get from Point A to Point B.

Being an owner and becoming an expert gives Normandin street cred, even if she still sticks out as a woman in the trucking industry. Yet, she said the field is becoming more diverse in general. She pointed to the industry group Women in Trucking as a force behind creating more gender diversity.

One day, she dreams of her own daughter, Danielle Cann, stepping in as president of Normandin Transportation Services, even if it’s just a dream. Like her mother, she’d have to leave behind a career as a teacher. Normandin laughs at the idea that history could repeat.

Meanwhile, Danielle’s husband, Matthew Cann, and brother, Stephen Normandin, are standing in as the second-generation company leaders. Matthew Cann is senior director of operations, while Stephen Normandin is vice president of strategy, leading technological investments he urged his parents to adopt from the time he was an undergraduate engineering student at Tufts University in Medford.

Stephen Normandin is the planned successor to his mother. But in her 60s, Cynthia Normandin says she’s still an Energizer Bunny and happily working alongside her son and son-in-law, both 38.

“My wisdom and my experience is what I'm giving to this next generation,” Normandin said.

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