HERoes of the Highway

A mature Hispanic man in his 40s behind the wheel, driving a semi-truck. He is looking at the camera, smiling through the open driver's side window.

Do you remember when you were a child and someone would ask you what you wanted to be when you grew up? The typical elementary school response was firefighter, police officer, teacher, doctor, pilot, or even astronaut cited by children. For many of you reading this blog, perhaps you already knew you wanted to drive a truck or work in supply chain when you were older. I’m guessing you were in the minority. Most of the occupations children mentioned had high profiles and were considered more glamorous than working in the trucking industry. Professional drivers have often been the “invisible” ones on the road. When you do your job well and are operating in a safe and efficient manner, no one seems to notice you.

It’s only when a motorist thinks you are going too fast, too slow, or driving erratically when they seem to pay attention to the eighteen wheelers alongside them. Folks outside of the trucking industry often tell me they don’t even think about how their products get to the store shelves. They just do their shopping and assume the items on the store shelves just appear there each day. When they fill their gas tanks they don’t make any connection with the tanker on the other side of the station putting fuel into the underground tanks while they fill their own car or pickup truck at the pumps. As you go about your day and keep the economy moving, many consumers just don’t think about how the tractor trailer on the highway relates to them (and their families) in a personal way. The pandemic has changed that, for the better.

When hysteria struck and people thought they wouldn’t be able to obtain needed provisions, they hoarded toilet paper, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. People flocked to their local stores and found empty shelves and started panicking. The cereal aisles were empty, the refrigerated section held coffee creamer and maybe some soon to expire dairy products. Forget the coffee and eggs for breakfast, as they were all sold out. One driver said when he pulled into a store he was greeted by clapping and cheering when the customers learned he was carrying toilet paper. Seriously, how many of you paper haulers thought you would be welcomed as a hero when you’re just making a delivery? It’s about time our supply chain workers are being recognized as “essential.” We’ve always recognized the value of our transportation workers, but now the recognition has broadened and your neighbors are a little more aware (and thankful) for the job you do.

At Women In Trucking Association, we want to extend that acknowledgement and focus on the heroes of the highway for our annual “I HEART Trucking” photo contest. In fact, since we are focused on women in the industry, we’re calling it the HERoes of the Highway. The theme this year is about the professional drivers who have been on the front lines these past few months. You’ve put your own health at risk to ensure the safety of others. You’ve made your deliveries, despite the obstacles placed in your way. You’ve had to compromise when looking for places to eat, shower and when making a delivery. You’ve stayed away from your families to ensure their safety because you’ve been out there doing your job. You are truly the HERoes of the highway! Get your cameras out and send us your photos in your best super hero stance in front of your truck.

You have until August 14 to submit your best snap shot to the Women In Trucking Association. We’ll post them on our website and open the voting to your family and friends from August 17-28. There will also be “Judges Choice” winners in addition to the People’s Choice leaders. The winners will be announced at Women In Trucking’s Accelerate! Conference and Expo September 23-25. Thanks to Hudson Insurance Group for sponsoring this photo contest. Find out more at www.womenintrucking.org. You truly are the super heroes and we want to make sure you are recognized as the HERoes of the highway.