Hauling explosives is all in a day’s work for her

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Updated Jun 14, 2018
Company driver Jannie Claypool makes more money hauling explosives for Fleenor Brothers than she did when she was an owner-operator.Company driver Jannie Claypool makes more money hauling explosives for Fleenor Brothers than she did when she was an owner-operator.

Jannie Claypool spends her driving days running a tanker 900 miles from Kentucky to New Hampshire, hauling explosive freight, and then deadheading back.

Claypool, who is from Waynesboro, Tennessee, hauls C4, liquid emulation 1500, and similar substances for Fleenor Brothers’ tanker division. Her company truck is a 2018 Kenworth Icon, which Claypool nicknamed “Lady Luck” because it’s truck number 777. She’s been driving for Fleenor Brothers for three years.

Her husband, Chad, also drives for the same fleet. They do tandem runs, meaning they each are in their own trucks but they’re able to run together. They don’t have to deal with any brokers or load and unload their own freight.

Claypool said she was cautious about hauling explosives but Fleenor Brothers’ training program helped prepare her and make her more comfortable.

“There’s really no bad aspects of it, you just have to be more cautious,” Claypool said about the freight she works with. “The pro is that the money is wonderful. I was an owner-operator for almost 15 years and I’m making more money now than I was as an owner-op.”

Claypool has seen more women coming into the trucking industry since she first started almost 24 years ago, but she has not seen as many women coming into the tanker field. She hopes that changes and has some advice for women interested in hauling tankers or explosives.

Claypool’s company truck, named “Lady Luck.”Claypool’s company truck, named “Lady Luck.”

“Be confident but be cautious. A woman can do it. A woman can do anything a man can do. They don’t need to let anybody intimidate them and say no you can’t, because you can,” Claypool said. “I was told when I started out here a long time ago that this ain’t a woman’s field, this is a man’s job. I proved them wrong.” 

She jokes that she may not have started trucking if people hadn’t told her she couldn’t do it. She enjoys proving people like that wrong.

“This was always my calling. Even if I wanted to walk away I don’t believe I could,” Claypool said.

Finding a good company to work for has been a huge benefit to Claypool. She recommends researching companies before signing on with them so that you know what you’re getting into. Call and ask the fleet if you can speak to their drivers and inquire about what their turnover rate is and the age of their equipment.

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“Just don’t make a jump without knowing the company that you’re going to,” Claypool said.