Our moving company is proud to have a history of excellent customer service reaching back nearly 100 years. Starting as a one-person operation, National Van Lines has become a full-service moving company providing the best in residential moving, commercial moving, warehouse and storage, and other moving services. Originating in Chicago, National Van Lines offers moving services across the country and spanning the world. We’re ready to help make your next relocation experience your best and easiest ever!
National Van Lines got its start in 1901, when F.J. McKee, the grandfather of current CEO Maureen Beal, began using a wagon pulled by a single pony to deliver ice and coal to the Chicago area. Due to his success in the community, McKee began to expand his services, ultimately moving vaudeville sets for acting troupes, including the world-famous Charlie Chaplin. As word spread about the care with which McKee handled his customers’ belongings, even more success soon followed, and by 1916, McKee had built up an entire fleet of trucks to provide more moving services to more people.
Despite the early success of F.J. McKee and National Van Lines, there was also adversity to overcome. A fire destroyed McKee’s warehouse in 1917, leaving him with just one truck. McKee was diagnosed with tuberculosis shortly after that, prompting him to move west with his family to recover. Not one to give up easily, McKee eventually moved back to the Chicago area at the age of 50 and began to assist customers with their moving needs again. Little did he know that later that year, in 1929, the Great Depression would change everything.
Although things looked bleak for business at the time, the McKee family never gave up. In 1931, F.J. McKee decided to pass the business along to his son, F.L. McKee, the father of our current CEO, Maureen Beal. F.L. McKee was well known throughout Hollywood for being a tenor with an amazing voice, and he performed with famous legends including Bing Crosby and Shirley Temple. Despite his success as a performer, F.L. McKee couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join the family business and continue National Van Lines legacy of providing “famously” top-notch moving services.
Maureen Beal, granddaughter of F.J. McKee, was the third-generation leader and CEO of National Van Lines from 1993 until her retirement at the end of 2019. Proud to be one of the few female CEOs in the moving-and-storage industry, Maureen Beal’s guidance steered National Van Lines toward worldwide success with 400+ agents, including our military and domestic partners. Maureen Beal understood moving is about more than simply relocating—it’s about creating new memories and protecting existing ones as you move from place to place.
Tim Helenthal assumed his Chairman & CEO position in January 2020, after serving seven years as the company’s President & COO. Starting with National Van Lines 26 years ago, he was vice president of agency services for sister company, National Forwarding Co., and manager of that company’s Total Quality Assurance Program. When Tim started as a one-man department at National Van Lines, roughly 20 people worked in his division. During his 18 years in that sector, the division grew to nearly 70 employees. Throughout his tenure, National Van Lines has set (and broken) sales records; one division even tripled its sales.