At Prime, we don’t accept the idea that women “just don’t like” trucking. In fact, 12% of our truck drivers are women, double the national average. Women drivers make up an integral part of our Prime family. When it comes to representing the best of women in trucking, Pamela Wilday is the perfect example of someone who respects and understands the value of the trucking industry.
At this year’s third annual Highway Diamonds Gala, Pamela Wilday was honored with the Highway Diamond 2018 Excellence Award. She was nominated by her fleet manager after he received an email from a domestic abuse victim who was escaping with her two children. Pamela gave the children sundresses, showers and took them for a meal. Her sincere compassion, paired with her commitment to her career and devotion to Prime’s values, led to her receiving this prestigious award.
Pamela shared with us about her experience being a woman trucker and how she came to choose Prime.
How long have you been driving for Prime, and how long have you been a truck driver?
3 years [and] 6 years counting 18 years ago.
Tell us about how you decided to become a truck driver. Why did you choose Prime?
I grew up in this industry, and I said my whole life it was what I really wanted to do. I did it for a short time a long time ago, but I was a mommy, so I had to hang it up when my kids started school. I wasn’t sure I would pick it back up, so I went back to a standard license.
My husband and I were kinda tight on finances. I suggested to him that – since he loves driving, and I’m definitely not a stranger to the life of a trucker’s wife – he should get his Class A and go OTR. When he went looking for places, he would run them by me. When he came across Prime my exact words were, “Well, I can tell you that, 18 years ago, Prime was a prestigious company that wouldn’t just take anyone…I think they are a top rated company so you should try them,” and so he did. We came up with a plan that I would return to the road [too], we would go lease, and then we would alternate our time at home so [we could] get as much time with our youngest daughter before she graduates and leaves us on her own adventures.
I came to Prime in 2015 back through the Student Driver Training Program since, at that time, 16 years had gone by between [my] CDLs. Our oldest daughter stepped up to be with our youngest while going through the process, and here I am three years later back to doing what I absolutely love!
What is your favorite thing about being a truck driver? What’s the biggest challenge?
I don’t have a single one favorite thing. To me, everything about this career is amazing, even those days we all have of forcing ourselves outta bed and behind the wheel. Every night when I watch the sun go down on different states, I am reminded of such a beautiful world God has blessed us with. And though sometimes you have jerks out there, for the most part people are good, and I know I’m doing a great service for our entire country, so I push on with a smile.
[As for challenges,] it’s not going to be the answer you think. Sure, I’ve heard of women who say being a woman in trucking is a challenge itself, but I never see it. 9 out of 10 of my male counterparts are watching out for me. Truly, they see us as their little sisters and they do all they can to “protect” us.
So, to be truthful, my biggest challenge is being away from my husband and daughter for longer than I’d like sometimes. But we make do, and my husband and I make sure when it’s most important to her, we are both home.
What makes truck driving a great career for women?
The same thing that makes it good for everyone and that might be the point. The job does not care if you are a woman or a man or any other label society wants to put on you.
Can you deliver on time? Can you do it safely? Can you watch your expenses? Can you see yourself as a professional even when others don’t?
This is the ultimate equal opportunity for success, professional and personal independence and a feeling of pride knowing you’re doing something great for others!
What is your advice to new female truckers?
Hold your head up. You’re in a profession that not a lot of men can even do. Pride yourself on that. We need a special license to do our career same as a doctor [or] lawyer, so the fact that you did it is incredible.
But stay humble, do it for all the right reasons, and I promise you will get out of it far more than you feel you’re giving when you give it your all.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? What’s that? I’m a mommy, and a grandma, and a wife, so basically my spare time is spent doing just that. With the occasional relapse of not being able to stay out from behind a wheel, so I bring Robert’s abandoned trucks back to their rightful owner!
If you’re a woman interested in the field of trucking, Prime can get you on the road in no time.
Start with our student driver training program and get ready for a trucking career, no prior experience required.
Apply today and a recruiter will reach out to you shortly!