Everett and Shirley Elder Hooker’s journey to becoming professional Contract Drivers began about the time of the economic down turn in 2008. They had recently moved to Louisiana from Florida, but work was scarce. It was then that they set their sights on Expediting. They signed on with a carrier and began driving for a fleet owner. This opportunity lasted about three years, and according to Shirley, their situation wasn’t ideal, to say the least. “Our carrier began going through some changes at that time and the fleet owner we worked for was very unprofessional. To say he wasn’t a very nice person was an understatement. We knew it was time to make a change.”
The Hookers soon began talking to some friends in the business and they recommended Expediter Services. “At the time, we were really unhappy with our circumstances, so when we heard about ES, it sounded like a good opportunity,” said Shirley. “I made the call and spoke with one of their recruiters. They had a truck available immediately, so Everett and I made arrangements to pick it up — then my father passed away. I had to immediately travel to Canada for the funeral and to settle his affairs. ES was very good about it and understood that family comes first. About three weeks later, when I was ready to get back to work, ES had another truck for us and we’ve been with them ever since. We soon had the opportunity to go to FedEx Custom Critical and it turned out to be a good fit. It’s been a great ride.”
Support, Freedom & Satisfaction
“Our experience with ES has been very good from the start. I often tell other teams about how they operate and about their level of support. I think the most important things ES gets right is the fact that they let us do what makes us happy. We love to drive! And they let us do just that. ES doesn’t tell us what to do or what loads to take. We run our business the way we want to run it. If we need help, ES is there, but they give us the freedom to do things our way. Another thing that sets ES above the pack is that they take care of their equipment. If we have a problem, they are there to help us get it fixed and back on the road quickly,” said Shirley.
“Over the years, ES has approached us about taking the Path to Ownership. But Everett and I are satisfied just where we are. We’ve thought about becoming owners, but honestly, we are much happier being Contractors. All of the maintenance is taken care of by ES and all we have to do is drive and get paid. There’s no judgement on ES’s part, they’re happy to support us no matter what we do, and we like it that way.”
Success that’s Real
“As we travel around the country and talk to people in the business, I’ve run into folks that say Expediter Services is a great place for new drivers, and they’re right! But ES is much more than that. It’s a great place for any team that wants the opportunity to be their best. Our success is a result of working hard, loving what we do, and having a knowledgeable and flexible group of people behind us. At ES, the opportunities are real and our success is real. You just have to take advantage of the offerings available and follow your dream, said Shirley”.
A Woman in Expediting
We also took the opportunity to discuss with Shirley her experience as a Woman in Expediting. She was able to give us some insights into what has made her a success and she was happy to share her story with other women looking to get into the business.
SLN: What is the reaction from people when they learn that you’re a women trucker?
People who aren’t in the industry think being a women in the trucking business is really kind of cool. Many women even mention that it’s something that they may want to do. Within the Industry, it’s a little bit different. For instance, at truck stops, sometimes the cashiers seem to be a little more attentive to the male drivers. Often they will automatically ask them for their fuel card, where with me, I have to start the transaction by presenting my card to them first. But overall, with our customers (shippers & receivers), I’ve never ran into any kind of problems. I’ve never been treated any differently than anyone else. I attribute that to a couple of things: I am a professional and act accordingly; the other factor is that more women are realizing that they can make a living in this business, and people are becoming more and more accustomed to seeing women in these roles.
SLN: Do you see any barriers to women in the Industry?
The way I see it, most women are as capable of succeeding in trucking as well as anyone. My advice for women who are looking to get into the business is to do your homework. If this is something you really want to do, sit down and figure out what you really want out of an Expediting career. For example, do you want to be out on the road, or do you want to be home every week. It’s important to know what you want and what you want out of the business — then start looking for a company that can help you achieve these goals. If you get on with the first company you see and you wind up not liking it, you’re going to wind up quitting. I would recommend that every woman looking to be in Expediting talk to Expediter Services. They have the knowledge and resources to help you decide if this is the right career path for you and tools and services to help you succeed.
We were fortunate to have found Expediter Services when we did. I only wish we had known about them when we first started out. But it doesn’t matter if you’re new in the business or if you’re like us and have an established track record. ES can help you if you want to drive as a career, become an owner or even a fleet owner. If you’re a woman (or a man), I would recommend doing your due diligence and ES should be a part of your research into getting into and succeeding in the industry.