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Archive for December, 2017

WOW! 10 Years!

If you have followed my story on this blog with my first post called “Why Did I Do It” and on twitter , you know I overcame a multitude of obstacles this past decade. It has been 10 years since I became a truck driver but my life changed completely when I began speaking out in social media about what I experienced in the trucking industry.

In 2009, I was labeled an “advocate”. It wasn’t my intention to make my life more complicated, but I felt obligated to expose poor truck driver training since it affects everyone on the highway.

In 2010, the protest group REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. on Facebook was formed by working women truck drivers. Today, the REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. is a 501 (c)(6) truck driver organization that continues to be outspoken on issues that affect drivers.

Sexual misconduct in training carriers, and the lack of safe truck parking have been the two primary issues that I personally have become most passionate. I will be forever humbled to call Hope Rivenburg my friend and to have been part of the “Jason’s Law” truck parking coalition. The tragic murder of her Husband Jason Rivenburg which spurred her relentless pursuit of justice and started a movement, motivated many individuals like myself. Today, a growing number of grassroots truck driver advocates continue to work towards bringing exposure to issues that must be addressed in this industry.

During these past 10 years, I also became a Grandmother four more times, for a total of SIX!

Plus, I graduated from College , formed REAL Women in Trucking into a 501 (c)(6) non profit, started a master’s degree program AND continued to struggle as a company driver.

Despite my college degree… I missed driving.

Initially, I had no desire to be self-employed in trucking. I only wanted to have a job where I could work by myself, get my paycheck every Friday and have some decent benefits. I have never had an interest in office politics or clawing my way up any corporate ladders.

Since part of my responsibility as President of REAL Women in Trucking is to “walk the walk” I spent a couple years doing local driving to get a better understanding of what it takes.

I quickly found that the better paying jobs are very hard to get a foot in the door, even with a clean driving record, there are many places that will ignore your application when the name on the paper is that of a woman.

I was able to overcome this type of discrimination by getting hired on at a truck driver staffing agency. I did everything from local food delivery to flatbed work. I learned a lot and worked very hard. Often when I was sent on a short -term assignment, they were not expecting a woman, but they were happily surprised by my work ethic and I was welcomed to return. Through this method, I was able to learn a lot about local driving jobs and I was offered several full-time positions that I would otherwise not have been considered for if I had relied on the standard hiring practices. Local work is hard! , it is often twice the work for less pay. I hand unloaded everything from imported specialty cheeses to cactus plants. I enjoyed the movement of the work, but it was hard on my body, and … I missed being out on the road.

Over the years, despite feeling rewarded that our RWIT advocacy voice was being heard loud and clear in the industry, I remained curious about becoming an owner-operator. I was not only hesitant because of all the new technology implementations but also my dependence as a company driver to calling for “breakdown” assistance which had rendered me a bit helpless. At 53, I wasn’t sure I was up to biting off more than I could chew along with all my other responsibilities.

Long story short, I got pushed over a cliff and I found out I could fly!

I am now a self-employed truck driver! I have a 2016 Kenworth and a 53 Foot Utility Trailer that I have leased on to a company called “Em Way, Inc.” in Dover, Delaware. I am finally living the trucking dream I had 10 years ago when I thought I would be a good fit for this work.

As I move into a new chapter of my life I would like to share some links where I have found help as I have transitioned from company driver to owner-operator.

If you are considering taking the plunge, make sure you do it the right way. I will write again soon about what I am learning and loving!

The Freight Rate Calculator – Cost Analysis for a Trucking Business by Tilden Curl

The First Time Class 8 Lease Purchase Owner Op Guide by Terry Norris “Rawze”

“Rawze.com”  – Truck Maintenance Help Forum

Lone Mountain Truck

Chad Boblett – Rate Per Mile Master’s on Facebook

AND … Yes! That is ME in the New QuickBooks Commercial

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