When a college career aptitude test told her she was the perfect fit for truck driving, Tiffney Heaning, now 42, was aghast. She’d heard a lot of the negative stereotypes about truckers and had taken them at face value. So instead, she spent 20 years working in the mental health field.
Then she married a truck driver.
She wanted to spend more time with her husband, Ronny Heaning, by driving team, so she left her job in health care and got her CDL three years ago. She now drives team with him as owner-operators.
“Getting to be with my husband is great. An over the road trucker can be away for months at a time, so in order to see him more I got into trucking with him,” Heaning, of Jacksonville, Florida, said.
Driving has also given her an opportunity to enjoy a favorite pastime.
Photography has always been a hobby of Heaning’s, and she loves to capture images of some of the beautiful things she’s seen while on the road.
“I was a major photographer for a hobby and then one day I started (photographing) weddings. I did a friend’s wedding for free and then my own photography business just took off,” Heaning said. She now does wedding and family photography.
In addition to driving and her own photography business, Heaning also has an in-home health business. She provides private duty non-medical in-home care for aging adults.
“I give peace of mind to family members who do not want to place their loved ones in a nursing home. My presence allows the family members to run errands, go out to dinner, take vacations, etc., knowing that their loved one is in good hands and they can get some much needed stress relief. In some cases, I am a companion for a few hours and play crossword puzzles or take them shopping, etc.,” Heaning said.
Heaning is a jack of all trades. Her side businesses help her deal with missing her husband when she’s home and he’s out driving.
“When I’m not with him on the truck, I like to stay busy so I don’t notice I miss him as much,” Heaning said. “When I stop doing things and I have time to think, then I realize how much I miss him.”
Heaning isn’t spending much time in the driver’s seat at the moment. Some medical issues came up in her family that called her home. Because her husband had been the lifelong trucker and she had been the medical care provider, they decided he would continue to drive while she stayed home and took care of the family.
Heaning misses the road, though, and looks forward to getting back to driving with her husband. It’s uncertain when that will happen.
“When it comes time where I can leave and go back and people don’t need me anymore, then that’ll be the time that we team again,” Heaning said.