NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – One demographic group is entering the trucking industry at an increasing rate – women.
While breaking into a once male-dominated profession has presented some challenges, that hasn’t stopped these women and their drive from rising to the top of the trucking industry.
Regina Robinson said she drives her destiny. She owns a trucking company, Prime Time Logistics, LLC., based in North Charleston. She is also a trucker herself.
“There’s something soothing about being on the road,” she said. “I’ve always been fascinated by trucking and logistics. I remember being a little girl seeing the trucks on the road – where are they going? Who told them to go? How did they get there? I have always been fascinated by the industry.
She believes you can truly drive your own destiny, whether you want to drive locally or be all over the road. “It’s not just from a driver’s perspective, but from a financial perspective, you can really control what it looks like for you,” she said.
Robinson is part of a growing group of women.
Ellen Voie is president and founder of the Women in Trucking Association, a non-profit professional organization.
“We have approximately 6,400 members in ten countries. Our mission is three-fold: one is to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, to address barriers that may prevent women from succeeding in the industry, and the third part is to celebrate the success of our members and tell their stories. ,” she explained.
Voie said the number of women entering the trucking industry has increased dramatically.
“Absolutely there is an increase,” she said. “We’ve seen it go from 3% fifteen years ago to 10% now, so there’s been quite a significant growth, especially over the last two years.”
She said that when it comes to pay equity, trucking is miles ahead.
“Women look at this as a second career – a second or third career. You won’t believe the number of women coming out of nursing, or we have lawyers, accountants and women coming out of other careers. The big appeal of coming into the trucking industry, first of all, you don’t have anyone looking over your shoulders and you make the same amount of money as a man. You are not paid a different salary just because you are a woman,” she explained.
The big obstacle: money to start, to obtain a CDL and funds to buy a truck.
But those in the industry say the payoff is worth it. Drivers can start anywhere from $40 to $50,000 right out of school, while owner/operators can earn upwards of $200,000 a year per truck, before factoring in fuel, insurance, and expenses. other costs.
Voie said she hopes more women will transition from drivers to owners. “We need to get more women to start trucking businesses,” she said.
Women, like Marcella Pinckney, who owns a fleet of trucks through her company, MP’s Transport.
“I actually own and operate my own trucking business,” she said. “My husband told me that I shouldn’t own anything that I didn’t know how to work. So that made me go to school to get my CDL, my commercial driver’s license.
Pinckney said when she started her business 13 years ago, many didn’t take her seriously.
“There are people in the industry who think women can’t. It made me go harder. I’m the kind of person that you just have to tell me I can’t and I’ll show you that I can.
She said the job keeps her on her toes because it’s always evolving. And she loves the freedom it gives to be present with her children.
Robinson said looking back, she sees how far she’s come. Now she is moving forward.
“I hope to partner with women in the industry as we grow,” she said. “I’m excited about the direction the industry is taking. A lot of women are entering the industry which used to be a male dominated industry, but you see a lot of women entering as truck drivers, truck owners and also businesses. owners under their own authority. I’m excited about this direction.
The Women in Trucking Association has launched a challenge of 150: Get 150 women to start their own fleet or expand their fleet…and they’re almost there.
They will help women navigate the process of financing, insurance, career choices and other necessary paperwork.