Veteran driver honored on cruise and at MATS

Idella Hansen is on a roll.

The veteran truck driver has been honored not once but twice for her long and outstanding career recently.

Idella Hansen & Sandi Talbott at 2016 Great American Trucking Show (Photo by Story Corps)Idella Hansen & Sandi Talbott at 2016 Great American Trucking Show (Photo by Story Corps)

Last Friday, March 24, Hansen was honored as one of TA/Petro’s Citizen Drivers for 2017 during the annual awards luncheon at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. Then, during Real Women in Trucking’s inaugural conference/cruise, she was recognized as one of two Trucking Industry Trailblazers.

Hansen, who drives for IBI Secured Transport, will have the TA/Petro Travel Center in North Little Rock Arkansas named in her honor. There will be a dedication ceremony later this year.

“This is the Academy Award of truck driving,” said Hansen after the announcement at MATS. “This is about the whole person.”

Idella Hansen (left) with other Citizen Drivers at TA/Petro ceremony at MATSIdella Hansen (left) with other Citizen Drivers at TA/Petro ceremony at MATS

Hansen said she got started in trucking early. She was just 18 in 1968 and her husband’s family owned a Union 76 bulk plant in Lake Elsinore, California. She started cleaning equipment and eventually began driving a truck. She went on the road locally in 1973 and her career behind the wheel progressed from there.

When asked if she enjoys what she does, Hansen said, “I love it. It’s me. I knew at 11 years old, the first time I sat behind the wheel of a car, I knew it was all I ever wanted to to. It’s too much fun. I’m going to be 67 years old and it’s still fun.”

Hansen offered some advice for women considering trucking as a career: “Be professional. Keep your mind on what you’re doing, and service. Service. Service. Always be polite.”

TA/Petro started the Citizen Driver awards program to help create greater awareness of the contributions truck drivers make both on and off the truck.

During the Real Women in Trucking cruise, Hansen and longtime friend and fellow trucker Sandi Talbott received the organization’s Trucking Industry Trailblazer award. They were recognized as part of RWIT’s Queen of the Road awards.
Hansen and Talbott told their stories to NPR’s Story Corps program at the Great American Trucking Show last September.