CAMBRIDGE, Ont. – April 4, 2017 – Shelley
That’s why in 2014 she founded the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada, which recruits and mentors women in a profession that
The federation has about 50 members, including men, and a handful of corporate sponsors, including the Highway Western Star dealership in Ontario. The group includes professionals who hold non-driving jobs in the trucking industry, such as dispatchers, managers and parts technicians.
“We really want to encourage more women into the industry. It’s a good job and there is a definite need for more truckers,” she said. “It’s a man’s world, but it’s coming around.”
She compensated by driving a school bus; once her children were grown, she graduated to a motor coach, then a straight truck, and has been driving a Class 8 truck for 17 years. For the past 13 years, she’s driven for Sharp Transportation, a pharmaceuticals carrier based in Cambridge, Ont., that serves Canada and most of the United States. Her regular runs include Georgia, Florida,
As a senior driver at Sharp,
“I love it. There is so much room and it’s a smooth ride,” she said. “I’m only 4’ 11”, but I can see over the hood and I can actually see out of the hood mirrors into my blind spots.”
A solo driver for a long time, she now teams with her husband, Chris, who earned his CDL so he could join her on the road.
“There is a lot of interior room for a team. I really like the bigger refrigerator and its location. It’s literally a home away from home,” she said.
She also praised Detroit™ Virtual Technician™, which comes standard on the 5700XE. The integrated remote diagnostic system records critical vehicle performance data immediately before, during and after a fault occurs. Within minutes, Virtual Technician gives drivers and fleets a preliminary diagnosis, recommendations and, if needed, directions to nearby service locations with the available parts.
“I highly recommend Virtual Technician,” she said. “It’s nice to know exactly what the codes mean, if I need to park immediately, need a tow truck or if it’s safe to get to a dealership.”
She also likes the attention the Western Star attracts: “It doesn’t matter where we go, people are always taking pictures of my ride and asking questions about her, even when I’m fueling. Quite often, I pop the hood so they can look at the engine.”
She’s put 191,000 miles on “Destiny Star” in her first year, and she appreciates it more than ever.
“It’s my first Western Star, but I wouldn’t want to drive anything else,” she said.
When her husband is behind the wheel,
Women truckers can do a lot to encourage newer drivers by mentoring them and becoming fleet and school trainers, she said: “They’ll get a wealth of knowledge from all angles.”
Western Star Trucks Sales, Inc., headquartered in Portland, Ore., produces tough custom trucks for highway and vocational applications. Western Star is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets Class 5-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.