Shannon Smith Puts Female Drivers In The National Spotlight
August 1, 2012
Women In Trucking Member Featured In Oprah Magazine
In 2008 Shannon was interviewed by Career World magazine where she talked about her childhood desire to drive a truck. The story was discovered by Jeanne Marie Laskas, who is writing a book about people who work in the unrecognized jobs that support America. Laskas wrote the article for O Magazine that appears in this month’s (June 2012) issue.
Shannon runs solo for a small fleet leased to Landstar Inway. She hauls everything from caskets to ketchup with her International 9400 Eagle, but her dream is to drive Navistar’s Lonestar model.
Shannon joined Women In Trucking Association because she enjoys meeting fellow members, who she refers to as her sisters. She makes it a goal to attend the annual “Salute to Women Behind the Wheel,” at the Mid-America Trucking Show each spring.
The number of women who are professional drivers consists of only five percent of the industry, or about 200,000 and the number of black female drivers is even smaller. “I consider everyone the same, regardless of whether they are black or white, male or female, or young or old,” Shannon said. She feels that as long as everyone is doing his or her job, they should just be considered the same.
As a child, Shannon watched the trucks along the highway in her home state of Georgia, and she imagined herself at the wheel of one of those rigs, tugging on the air horn to the delight of the next generation of children. “One day I’m gonna blow that horn,” she said.
Shannon’s dad, a diesel mechanic, advised her to learn how to fix an engine if she wanted to drive a big rig, so when a recruiter called her one day, she asked him if the Army could teach her to fix trucks. He said they could, so she spent the next six years with the Reserves as a heavy-duty mechanic.
At the age of 23, Shannon attended truck-driving school and began her career as a professional driver. She currently lives in Cleveland with her boyfriend, Michael, and her two cats.
“Shannon’s story has done more to show women that they can have a great career as a professional driver by sharing her story in O Magazine than this industry could have imagined,” said Ellen Voie, Women In Trucking’s President/CEO. Watch for Smith’s story in Laskas’ upcoming book, “Hidden America,” to be released in September by Putnam.
The article can be read at http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Shannon-Sputter-Smith-Female-Truckers
Women In Trucking was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as sixteen percent of its members are men who support the mission. Women In Trucking is supported by its members and the generous support of Gold Level Partners; Bendix, Daimler Truck NA, Frito-Lay North America , Great Dane Trailers, Hyundai Translead and Walmart and Silver Level partner: C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. For more information visit www.WomenInTrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.