Driver Appreciation Week: A Brief Interview with Casey, Female Truck Driver since 2012

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Driver Appreciation Week: A Brief Interview with Casey, Female Truck Driver since 2012

It is no secret that the trucking industry is facing a driver shortage and is struggling to implement effective incentive programs in an attempt to minimize economic impact. In addition to tuition reimbursement and 401k programs, companies have begun to target women in their recruiting efforts. According to Derek Leathers, President and CEO of Werner, the most challenging factor is convincing women that the industry is receptive to them. “There have been a lot of stereotypes over the years about the independent, male truck driver in a macho industry, a macho career”. “That doesn’t work in favor of attracting women to the industry. … It’s just the simple idea of us making it very, very clear that we want them.” [1]

As part of our celebration of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week at A.M. Transport, we have interviewed local drivers and family members to learn more about how they balance their personal lives with life on the road. Today we spoke with with Casey, a local female driver who was unable to come in for a video interview due to her work schedule; however, we were able to snag a great phone conversation!

casey-female-driver

The following interview was conducted by Stephanie Vancil, AMT Carrier Manager:

Tell us about your decision to enter the trucking industry:

My mother was a truck driver. Even though I had always told myself I would never be in the trucking industry I found myself in truck driving school and surprisingly enjoyed it.

How long have you been driving?

I’ve been driving now for 4 years total. I have been at my current company since December.

What were you doing before?

I was in the Army.

What do your family and friends think?

My friends and family are supportive. I know that they worry about me. My husband worries a lot. I know there are not a lot of truck drivers my age (30) that drive solo. It would be even harder if my husband and I had kids right now. 

How does being a driver impact your family and social life?

It affects my life very much. I am usually not around for family events, festivals etc. Our plans are affected by my work schedule. Right now, my schedule is set up so that I am home on the weekends. So I get home on Saturday and then I leave again on Monday.

Do you see your experience being different from that of male drivers? In what way(s)?

Absolutely, but honestly, I have had a very positive experience. There are some people out there that are under the impression female drivers do not have the skills to be in this position. So I must always be a step ahead. People tend to be kind of shocked when I tell them I am a truck driver.

What advice would you give to females looking to get into the industry? Are there certain personality characteristics that are important to have?

You must love to travel and expect that kind of lifestyle. Being away from home is very hard for men and women and that must be something you take into consideration. I wouldn’t recommend mothers with children. They might want to wait till their kids are grown before deciding to go over the road. In terms of deciding where to work…do plenty of research on the best company to find the one that is the best fit for you. I used to work where I was out 6 weeks at a time and that was very hard.

What do you do during your down time or time off to relax?

I bring my stuff with me on the road to crochet.  also bring my laptop so that I can watch movies and such.

Do you have a CB handle?

GIJANE is my handle. I don’t really get on the CB anymore. Mostly because there is a lot of negativity on the there and LOTS of cussing ha!

Anything else that you would like to add or let readers know about a career in driving or being a woman in a male-dominated industry?

Women just need to stand their ground. If you don’t feel safe doing something speak up. You are responsible for yourself.

Thank you for your dedication to driving and for representing women in the industry, Casey, and Happy Driver Appreciation Week from all of us at A.M.Transport!

 

[1] Brennan, M. & Stern, K. (2015). The next big thing in US trucking: Female drivers. CNBC. Retrieved from: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/16/the-next-big-thing-in-us-trucking-female-drivers.html

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