Plover, WI (August 3)—Women In Trucking Association has announced Shelly Hoffman, professional truck driver, as its August Member of the Month.
Shelly cannot imagine doing anything else. When she originally proposed the idea of teaming to her husband, she had just been playfully kidding! But there had been no laughter once the laptop was open and they had begun to look into it. At that point, their professional careers ultimately had led them to disappointment, and now, three years later, their CDLs have been more rewarding than their academic degrees combined.
Prior to driving professionally, the Hoffmans had discovered travel as their mutual passion. A lucky career move allowed them to move from Cincinnati, their hometown, to Switzerland for a few short years, and that had opened up many possibilities for European travel, and climaxed with a long trip home that took them backpacking through Russia, Mongolia, China, and the U.S., their first time ever seeing their own country in the big picture.
Upon returning home to their regular jobs, discontent quietly set in. Following the economic crisis of 2008, traveling professionally was an unobtainable dream. Where was the excitement, the adventure, and the opportunity? Upon discovering the truck team demand, they took the plunge. Once again they were travelers. They started with one of the larger fleets. They were grateful to be hired with no experience, and they trained separately. Three years with a large company, while a fruitful endeavor, it had presented specific challenges. Recently they have moved to a smaller family run operation, M.C. VanKampen, a known classic institution of the industry.
“It’s not the same as being on vacation, but we sure do have a lot of fun out here” says Shelly, “a true traveler enjoys seeing Las Vegas, New Mexico as much as Las Vegas, Nevada, but only the truckers get to see both. In the same day even! Anyone can buy a plane ticket to Boston, sure. But we didn’t have to. Many nights spent in historic downtown Boston after delivering.”
For Shelly and her husband, trucking has cultivated a connection with the greater economy of the country. “You get to see the back door of every business in America,” Shelly says. “Lately we serve the industries of the Midwest by taking their products to the Pacific Coast, and bring back those West Coast harvests to our local markets. It’s Economics 101, pulled by our Peterbilt!”
Through the lens of OTR driving, Shelly sees the immediate demand for safe professional drivers in the U.S. to move things along economically. “There is a lot of pessimism around, but it’s not for me. People will come around to find that truckers don’t necessarily have to fit a certain stereotype.” Shelly is contributing to an online blog started by her husband, to debunk the misconceptions of truck drivers, and redefine the lifestyle. “Eating healthy is a big part; that part gets talked about a lot. But let’s get a culture rolling, of people getting out of their cabs and taking advantage of all they can while out and about!”
Shelly started running to offset the physical effects of so many hours spent sitting while driving. She found encouragement in her sister, an experienced runner, and the Hoffman team has scheduled much of their home time around local races in the Cincinnati area.
Recently Shelly received some admiration by a group of roofers working in her neighborhood, as she was running an errand with a large, extended and borrowed Chevrolet 4-wheel-drive truck. As they inquired about her proficient parking abilities she responded, “This truck? Well, it’s a cute little pickup I guess.”
The Hoffman blog can be found at www.Dieselnomics.com.