Welcome to the latest installment of our online series Women in Expediting. As you may have noticed, a common thread runs throughout our stories: women are taking on the roles traditionally undertaken by men in the Expediting industry. They are not merely taking on these roles, they are becoming successful drivers and owners in the process. Women bring much needed talents and abilities to the industry that compliment the team environment, helping to ensure success.
We introduce Linda Polk, who is one-half of the driving team with her husband and business partner Andy Dixon. Since 2011, they have built a successful fleet of four trucks that has helped them pursue other interests that are near and dear to their hearts: Linda is a successful author, while Andy has crafted a successful career as a songwriter, with many songs recorded by various artists and credits on movie soundtracks.
SLN: How did You and Andy get started in Expediting?
Our journey into Expediting began in 2011. Andy was working for a company that didn’t have much integrity. Things got so bad, he finally wound up quitting. He began looking around for a better way to make a living and answered a Craigslist ad as a driver. He and his brother started off driving together but unfortunately, his brother became ill and couldn’t drive any longer. Andy got another partner but that also didn’t last.
As it turns out, the non-profit agency that I worked for at the time offers bus transportation as part of their ministry. They also offered classes that help people get a free CDL in order to drive the buses. This turned out to be a great opportunity and I got my CDL and became Andy’s full-time driving partner on Christmas day 2012. We had always wanted to work together and this just seemed like a great way to achieve this goal.
SLN: Tell us about your other goals?
We started off as contract drivers with Expediter Services, signed on with FedEx as our carrier. We set a goal to drive for a year and save as much money as we could and buy a truck right out. Andy and I had a five year plan to buy a truck every year for five years. Our original plan got side-stepped when we got a call from Jeff Tacker saying that our numbers were very good and that we should consider buying a refurbished truck from Expediter Services’ fleet. The offer made a lot of sense to us and we purchased a refurbished 2008 KW T660, utilizing Expediter Equipment Finance. We got a great deal on that truck. There were a few teething pains at first (read their story here), but ES stood behind us and our truck. We got a lot of good service from that unit and made a success out of that initial investment.
To make a long story short, after a couple of productive years, we sold that original T660 and since 2013, we’ve purchased four slightly used Cascadias (including two custom dry units) from ES’s fleet through Expediter Truck Sales, utilizing Expediter Equipment Finance. This has been a successful formula for us and I recommend this approach to anyone who is looking to grow a fleet of trucks. So, you could say we actually achieved our goal of five trucks within five years. It’s very exciting!
SLN: What are your responsibilities as a team member and business partner?
I drive as much as Andy does. I’m probably not as good at some things, such as pre-truck inspection and maintenance issues, but I’m better at other things like dealing with dock personnel. It just seems to work better that way. Also, we both work on managing the fleet, Andy usually gets the settlements and I make sure they get paid. We compliment each other and we each do whatever it takes to make sure everything that needs to get done is taken care of. Being an Expediting partner is a give and take, and being successful means knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses and building a business together as a team.
SLN: How do people react when they find out your are a Women in Expediting?
There have been a number of women who have told me that they are afraid to drive a truck. But I tell them to do their research and take a class to learn about getting a CDL and to just do it. There’s really no reason to be afraid. Driving a straight truck in Expediting is great way to make a living and to have a career that will let you do the things you want to do.
SLN: What is important about relationships in this business?
When it comes to being a couple (whether you’re married or not), if you have issues in your relationship, they are going to come out. This business is intense and there are a lot of decisions to be made. When you couple that with the amount of time you spend together, there’s always the opportunity for conflict. If you don’t love and respect your partner, then Expediting can become a tough job. It’s important to know your boundaries and assume responsibilities that are complimentary to each other.
Although we aren’t driving at the moment, we still work to keep our fleet happy and productive. The fleet that Andy and I have built gives us the opportunity to do the things we want to do. It gives me the flexibility to visit with family and to pursue my interest in writing. Expediting has given Andy the ability to further his career in music. We’re so blessed to be doing what we love.
With support from Expediter Services, we’re looking forward to seeing where the next five years takes us.
Thanks Linda, for sharing your experience about Women in Expediting with us.
Stay tuned for another edition of Women in Expediting in a future issue of Spotlight News!
Visit our Women in Expediting page to learn about how you can get started today with your new career.