10 inspiring women drivers She Drives profiled in 2018

Owner-operator Donna Brackbill operates Carolina Girl Logistics.Owner-operator Donna Brackbill operates Carolina Girl Logistics.

She Drives Trucks profiled over 40 women in the trucking industry in 2018, with each making their mark in different ways. The following women are just 10 of the great women we had the opportunity to meet this year. They include women who have especially intriguing hobbies and women who work hard to contribute to the trucking industry’s image, including training and recruiting new drivers.

Click on each woman’s name to read more about their experiences as truck drivers and their contributions to the industry:

1. Donna Brackbill: Owner-operator Donna Brackbill has been the driving force behind some big-name Broadway and music shows. Brackbill is an entertainment hauler and has helped move major shows like Hamilton, Chicago, and, most recently, she is the lead driver for Elf: The Musical. Her current freight involves a lot of downtown deliveries in metropolitan theater districts with a lot of difficult docks and street unloads.

2. Ina Daly: XPO Logistics driver Ina Daly has competed in her state trucking championships 25 times and was named the 2018 Arizona Truck Driving Championship grand champion. Daly also won first place this year in the tanker category. She went on to represent Arizona at the national competition in August. Daly has gone to the nationals as part of the Arizona team 13 times. In 2013, she won first place nationally in the tanker category

3. Susie De Ridder: Armour Transportation Systems driver Susie De Ridder wants to help recruit more women into the trucking industry. She frequently travels to high schools and other events to introduce trucking as a career option to the upcoming workforce. De Ridder spent most of her trucking career, from 1984 to 2013, running stateside hauling produce from Ontario to various parts of California. She moved back to her hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick in 2013 and now pulls dry van and reefer throughout Canada’s maritime provinces.

Truck driver Ty Hooks is also a certified yoga instructor.Truck driver Ty Hooks is also a certified yoga instructor.

4. Shelly Erman: Hauling daunting, massive steel coils is just a typical day on the job for owner-operator Shelly Erman. Steel coils are the primary freight Erman works with and it’s every bit as dangerous as people make it out to be, she says. Despite the risks involved, Erman still loves hauling steel because of the challenge. She advises rookie drivers who are interested in hauling coils to work with freight that will challenge them and teach them about the industry.

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5. Ty Hooks: Texas-based driver Ty Hooks doubles as a certified yoga instructor. Hooks is certified in the Kemetic yoga system, an ancient Egyptian style of yoga that focuses on discipline and control. While she drives locally now, she always had her trusty yoga mat with her on the truck when she was still an over the road driver. When She Drives Trucks talked with Hooks in May, she offered up suggestions on how other truckers can start and maintain their own yoga routines for stretching and de-stressing.

6. Kristy Oglesby: As a driver for Unimark, Kristy Oglesby hauls piggyback loads, meaning that she hauls other semi-trucks. Outside of actual driving, a large part of her job involves undecking the trucks. Sometimes someone else will operate the wrecker, but usually, she’s the one also operating the wrecker and doing all of the technical work to get the trucks undecked. While she says not many women work with the same sort of freight that she does, she’d encourage other women to try it.

Delores Petko used her trucking career to lift herself out of homelessness.Delores Petko used her trucking career to lift herself out of homelessness.

7. Delores Petko: Transport America driver Delores Petko was able to use her trucking career as a way to life herself out of homelessness. Petko was homeless living out of a church in Columbus, Georgia when she saw a commercial advertising a trucking school in Florida. She took a chance and reached out to the recruiter. Fast forward to today and Petko has now been trucking for over 30 years. Petko believes trucking could be a good career option for other homeless individuals.

8. Ashley Ristau: New York truck driver Ashley Ristau enjoys making other people laugh which is why she launched her YouTube channel, Lilly Trucker, where she posts trucking-inspired comedy skits. Ristau’s channel has over 1,000 subscribers in its first year. She doesn’t know where she’ll end up going with it but she said it means a lot to her when drivers reach out to tell her she helped make their rough day better.

9. Natalie Shult: Shoreside Logistics driver Natalie Shult creates handmade jewelry in her cab and leaves the pieces she makes in public spaces, such as truck stops and rest areas, for others to find and keep. She does it as part of a nationwide art abandonment project, in which artists leave their work for others to find. Shult said she enjoys jewelry making because it’s a form of expression and she enjoys creating art out of everyday items, like hardware store wire.

10. Jennifer Sterritt-Smith: Millis Transfer driver Jennifer Sterritt-Smith worked as a truck stop waitress before becoming a driver, so she already knew a lot about the industry. She has been a driver trainer since 2004 and enjoys training because it’s an opportunity to meet new people and help them succeed in the industry. When she’s not trucking, she and her husband like to cruise around in their recently purchased 1971 Mustang muscle car.