Being on America’s Road Team was her dream

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Updated Feb 13, 2019
April Coolidge, center, has competed in the Arkansas Truck Driving Championship for three years.April Coolidge, center, has competed in the Arkansas Truck Driving Championship for three years.

When April Coolidge started her trucking career she had two main goals: She wanted to drive for Walmart and she wanted to be on the American Trucking Associations‘ America’s Road Team. In the just six and a half years she’s been driving, she accomplished both.

Coolidge began driving regionally for Walmart in October 2018 after spending the bulk of her career driving for USA Truck. She always wanted to work for Walmart because she respected the caliber of drivers that work there and the fleet’s reputation.

“They take very good care of their drivers. Their drivers get paid very well, and it was just a goal of mine that I always worked and strived to achieve, to be a Walmart driver,” Coolidge said.

She checked off her second goal, to be on America’s Road Team, in January when she was named one of 18 new America’s Road Team Captains.

“I just cannot tell you what it felt like to sit in the banquet room that night when they were calling out all the names, and hearing my name called,” Coolidge said about being on the team. “It’s always been my goal to be a Walmart driver, but over and above that it’s always been my dream to be an America’s Road Team Captain.”

As an America’s Road Team Captain, Coolidge wants to help recruit other women into the trucking industry.

April CoolidgeApril Coolidge

“To be a woman and to be as successful at it as I’ve been and to accomplish as much as I’ve accomplished out here, it makes me very proud,” Coolidge said. “I want to demonstrate to women and be a role model that this is not just only a male job, that women can do this and we can be very successful out here.” 

Recent accomplishments aside, Coolidge’s trucking career has been packed with personal successes. She joined the Arkansas Road Team when it was formed in 2015 and has been a member of that team since. Coolidge has also competed in the Arkansas Truck Driving Championship on behalf of USA Truck for the last three years, earning twelfth place in last year’s competition. Coolidge recently moved from Arkansas to Mint Hill, North Carolina. She won’t be able to compete this year due to a rule that says a driver must have worked for their fleet for a year before competing. She said she plans to participate in the North Carolina Truck Driving Championship when she’s eligible.

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“I almost get a little awestruck because these drivers have been driving out here for so many years that compete in these competitions and you’ve got grand champions and drivers that go to the national level, and just to be among that caliber of driver, it just makes me want to be a better drive and strive for excellence like that,” Coolidge said. 

Before her career in trucking, Coolidge worked as a real estate broker until the market bottomed out in 2008. Her father had been a trucker and had been able to provide a great life for their family, so she decided to try out a career behind the wheel. Trucking has allowed her to explore the country, which is something else she always wanted to do.

“I love the freedom and the flexibility that I have being a driver out here on the road. I am my own boss. The only thing that’s mandated of me that’s expected is that I pick up my loads when the company says I pick them up, and deliver them when they say deliver them. Everything else I do in between that is my own time,” Coolidge said.