Changing Lanes

OTR trucking is a bit of a “boy’s club.” According to the American Trucking Associations, of the 3.5 million truck drivers in America, only about 5.8 percent are women. But despite the lopsided numbers, Mary Ellen has been driving for 15 years, doing what she calls, “the easiest job I’ve ever had.”

I’ve been a waitress, I’ve been in retail, I’ve done it all, but this is the best job for me.Mary Ellen

Now, of course, trucking isn’t easy. It’s a grind, a challenge of endurance and patience. What makes the job less burdensome for Mary, though, is her attitude. “I’ve been a waitress, I’ve been in retail, I’ve done it all, but this is the best job for me,” she says with a beaming smile to match her demeanor.

You’d never guess that just a few months prior Mary Ellen’s brand new truck, which had less than 800 miles on it, broke down. A busted clutch left her roadside and unable to work. “No miles, no money,” she says, “it cost me a lot. I was stuck for a week.” But the 15-year veteran remained undeterred. With a laugh she says, “I had a good trainer, in fact, that’s the key to being a good driver.” It’s no wonder Mary is such a gifted trainer herself. She enjoys introducing women to trucking, and hopes to one day even out the scales for a more balanced workforce.