Alumni Profile: Mike Teso ’03

Spread the love

Mike Teso standing in the Liberty Trailers factory

Credit: The WELDER and  Retrograde Photo. Mike Teso in the Liberty Trailers factory. He bought Liberty Trailers in February 2020.



By Beth Murphy, Director of Marketing Communications

Mike Teso has traveled a long way from Scecina since graduating in 2003.

While he was in college, his innate business acumen and work ethic caught the attention of the owner of Tru-Flex, which manufactures flexible metal hoses used in industrial and exhaust applications. He started working in the business even before graduating college.

“I never was a stellar student,” he acknowledges. “I was street smart. I can make sense of things quickly.”

He eventually entered into a private equity partnership to buy Tru-Flex in 2009 and then sold it four years later to HBM Holdings. He continued to work for HBM Holdings and Tru-Flex, leading international strategy and acquisitions, which eventually took him to Poland for nearly two years.

Now he’s back in Indiana, where he is the president and CEO of Liberty Trailers in Fillmore, Ind., in Putnam County, a company he bought in February 2020. He’s also president and CEO of Teso Development Group, which specializes in designing and constructing commercial real estate, specifically properties that are distressed and in need of capital infusion to become more profitable. He owns two patents (one of those, an internally insulated exhaust, he says, was successful).

His success, he says, comes from his “willingness to learn and dive in deeply to whatever I was interested in.”

He credits Scecina for giving him many lifelong friends as well as several mentors who helped him at different times in his life. He named a few inspiring people at Scecina:

  • From football coach Ott Hurrle, he learned “the importance of remaining disciplined, to perform not only on the football field but in life.”
  • Father Peter Gallagher, he said, was “always there to listen, and he brought a wonderful sense of humor to school each day.”
  • Teacher Sheryl Bevan took him under her wing to help him pass accounting after he lost interest in his senior year after his mother died. “She spent countless hours helping me,” he remembered.

His mother’s death had a deep impact at that stage of his life. She was killed in an accident while they were on spring break. Teso clearly remembers coming home to find friends from Scecina already gathered at his house, ready to comfort him.

“That was really incredible,” he said, shaking his head.

Teso said Scecina’s tight-knit community, strong academics, and infusion of work ethic left a deep impression on him. He said he still works to “give that little extra.”

He says you also must be willing to fail and try new things.

“I’ve tried and tried and failed and spent a lot of time and money” on various projects.

Although it took him a while to get through college, he graduated from IUPUI and later earned an MBA from Franklin University.

His advice to current students is to “be persistent and disciplined. Follow where your true interests lead you and then be a sponge and learn everything you possibly can.”

His Catholic education gave him a faith foundation that forms the basis of how he treats employees, he said.

“Treat people with respect, just be a nice person in general. That’s the only way in my mind to do it.”

Liberty Trailers builds a variety of trailers for individuals and businesses of varying sizes from landscapers to larger operations, including the U.S. military. When he bought Liberty, the company finished 2019 with $6 million in annual sales. In less than two years, sales now exceed $21 million annually.

Success has allowed him to expand Liberty operations, adding buildings and land improvements and hiring more people. Liberty shut down in the spring of 2020 because of COVID-19, he said, but came back in three weeks because it was considered an essential business for supplying the military and Miller Pipeline based in Crawfordsville.

Despite his tremendous success, Teso continues to work hard every day at Liberty.

“You can’t be hands-off and achieve great things,” he said.



« Back to News