On International Women’s Day, TMAF Celebrates Women of Trucking
Today, on International Women’s Day, and throughout the month of March, TMAF is celebrating the more than 200,000 women of trucking. Ahead of International Women’s Day, TMAF interviewed several women in the industry to learn more about what drew them to the trucking industry and why they love it.
Rebecca (Pohl) Liette
Rebecca (Pohl) Liette is the Vice President of Marketing at Pohl Transportation, a family business started by her father. Growing up in the industry, Rebecca says, “The smell of diesel and oil are smells of my childhood!” Rebecca, who’s been working in the industry for 14 years now, says that what she’s always loved most about trucking is the wonderful people that come into your life and comradery with peers across the industry saying, “It is such a special industry to be in!”
Rebecca believes that more women need to be aware of how much potential there is in this industry. She says, “I think when people hear the word transportation, they strictly think of driving a truck. Yes, women can drive, and we love our women drivers, but there are just so many facets to this industry. In the office alone there is dispatching, billing, safety, women can be mechanics, and then you can step to the other side of it and work the docks, work in the shipping/receiving department, and then you can look at fuel stops, working the desk, etc. There is honestly something for everyone in this field.”
Patty Lopez, from Grand Junction, CO, has been working in the professional truck driving industry for nearly 16 years. She’s driven reefers, box vans, flatbeds, oversized, military HET’s (heavy equipment transporter), tankers and heavy haul, overseas in Iraq, Kuwait, and the U.S. and is currently working as a lead hazmat driver for Pilot Flying J. What Patty loves most about her current position is driving her LVC (long vehicle combo) which is 95’ plus long and weighs 109,000 lbs loaded with fuel. She says, “It’s not just the adrenaline, but the people I meet and places I go.” She takes great pride in her job, “The service we provide is so important. Without fuel, America would come to a standstill!”
When Patty is on the road, she wants to inspire and empower all generations of women to follow their dreams and not be afraid. She says, “Since she started driving trucks in the year 2000 the number of women out there driving as definitely increased.” She also says, “When the kids see it’s a female behind the wheel, their eyes get huge! I hope to open their minds to think outside the box!” She encourages them to do the research, ask questions, meet other women professional drivers and follow their heart. The possibilities and opportunities are there for women in the trucking industry.
Amy Bryant, a wheeled vehicle mechanic at Pilot Flying J, has always loved vehicles. While she was growing up, she attended many car shows with her parents and grandparents. Prior to joining Pilot Flying J, Amy served in the U.S. Army after being inspired by her grandparent’s stories of war and their sense of pride while serving. Amy, who graduated as an honor grad in her class of soldiers at Ft. Lee Virginia, wanted to be the first female in her family to serve. Amy says, “I have always admired women who step out of their comfort zones and try something new, especially when everyone doubts their ability to do so. To me, that makes the reward all the more fantastic when accomplished.”
Amy believes that her job is well received by most truckers in the industry. She says, “I love being able to help drivers get their trucks back on the road. I take pride in diagnosing trucks and explaining the issues to the drivers to help them understand what happened and why.” Amy went on to say, “It would be wonderful if more women decided upon this as a career or even as just to get to learn the basics just for common knowledge. Not every woman needs to call a man when her car breaks down. Some may even be able to fix it on their own.” Amy believes that more women should consider joining the industry. All you need is “a will to learn and be in an industry that is ever changing.”
Cari Baylor is the President of Baylor Trucking, a family business started by her grandfather in 1945 with one truck after he served in World War II. Cari, who started working in the office at 14 years old, says that “Trucking is a way of life, not a job.” What she loves most about the industry is the passionate people. Cari says, “Every day you will have people that will work so hard to make a difference. Whether they are delivering a birthday present, an anniversary gift, an iPhone or medical supplies, they will make it happen. The people are also first to volunteer to help each other or communities during natural disasters.
When asked about the opportunities for women who are interested in joining the trucking industry, Cari says, “Trucking has opportunities in every aspect of fulfilling careers! Accounting, Sales, Account Management, Marketing, Safety, Driving, Maintenance, IT, HR, whatever is your skillset and talent you can contribute with advancement opportunities in this industry.” She says, “Each day is different. Each day is a challenge. If you enjoy problem solving and having the ability to make a difference, this is a terrific industry.”