Workforce WindsorEssex interviews different professionals for an inside look into their work.

Published Nov 2018, and updated July 2020.

Truck Drivers are extremely in demand in Windsor-Essex. You can learn more about being a Transport Truck Driver through our detailed Career Profiles.

Holly is a transport truck driver with AMEX Freight, a trucking company here in Windsor, Ontario. AMEX is dedicated to technology and providing their customers with a low-cost, high quality transportation solution. We met up with Holly to tour her truck and learn about what it’s like to be a transport truck driver.

What does an average day look like for you?

My morning starts between 5-6am. When I get to work I get my dispatch and paperwork, then I do a pre-trip inspection on all my equipment. Most days I travel across the border and I work anywhere from 8-12, sometimes 14, hours a day. I enjoy working, and I average 50-60 hours a week but can legally work up to 70. Typically, I do 2-4 deliveries and/or pick-ups a day. I meet a lot of new people from all over Ontario, Michigan, and Ohio daily.

How did you decide you wanted this career?

A career as a truck driver allows me to work more hours than the average person. I feel secure in knowing that my career is nearly recession proof and I always have a lot of options in work. When I got my AZ licence I also got my DZ (dump truck) and C (coach bus). I find it exciting to learn a new and unique skill, so this was a great fit.

What training/schooling was needed for this position?

Training/schooling started with getting the air brake endorsement (Z) which is a course taken over 2 weeks. Next is the A or CDL course over a span of several months at any accredited and certified trucking school, there are several in Windsor. After I completed the schooling and written tests I took the driving test in a semi truck at the Drive Test Centre.

I also went through additional training after I was hired at AMEX. This included backing practice, driving responsibilities, safety protocols, paperwork, elog system etc. This took about a month before I was ready to drive in my own. I find my company has done very well with their safety and training protocols, I felt ready to hit the road.

What is your favourite part about the job?

I love meeting new people. I enjoy having a lot of “me” time when I’m traveling alone. My favourite part is having such a skill that allows me to drive an 18 wheeler. I take a lot of pride in this. I don’t know of any other female my age, who does what I do. Gives me lot of confidence and a great sense of pride.

What is challenging about your job?

Being a very young female driver can be challenging in a male dominated field.  Some people assume that I don’t know how to do certain things, and are sometimes patronizing at times towards me. I know a huge part of it is also because of my age. I also feel like some people see me as fragile and incapable at first glance and that can be because I’m female.  I truly love proving them wrong.

Even though there are some negative thinkers out there, I would say that the majority do give me respect at first glance because I am a female driver and there aren’t many drivers like me. That’s a great feeling.

Other things that can be challenging at times are: adapting to so many external factors such as weather, other drivers, new and unfamiliar roads and cities.

What advice would you have for someone looking to go into this line of work?

My advice would be to get as much schooling and training as possible. Experience behind the wheel and backing as well. Keep a positive attitude and it will help to reduce and stresses that a job as a truck driver may have. Always take your time and be safe for yourself and others.

UPDATED JULY 2020 – ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS ASKED DURING COVID-19

How would you say COVID-19 has affected your day-to-day work?

I start every day by sanitizing the inside of my truck with bleach wipes. I make sure all my PPE is stocked in my truck and I head to the bridge. I find the border wait times have been quite long. I cross 4 times a day and spend about 3 hours at least waiting in border lines. Masks are mandatory crossing the border. Security has been really tight the last few months as well. After I cross I go to Romulus and pick up my trailer from our warehouse. Masks are required at the warehouse when you are within 6 feet of others. On route I only stop at rest areas for fuel or bathroom breaks. I haven’t been eating from such places or eating my packed lunch inside. I typically take my break in these rest areas but now I just stay in my cab. Any time I have to stop I have masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer; I also make a habit of washing my hands with soap and water while stopped for refueling.

What has it been like to be an Essential Worker during a world-wide pandemic?

It’s been a lot of 14 hour days and a lot of extra precautions. I do my best to continue my job in a safe manner. To be quite honest at times it’s stressful. I assume everyone has been under added stress with this pandemic, but working through it you have to make sure you keep your morale up to keep on track and continue serving the community. Both Canada and the US for me in particular. Back in March and April I was a lot more scared. Now that I have an established routine that I know keeps me safe and healthy I feel a lot better.
I have had some unfortunate events where I was denied service by businesses because I am a cross border trucker and that was difficult to deal with at times. But at the end of the day I take pride in being able to provide an essential service to my community.

Could you touch on how being an essential worker during the pandemic has made this more personally fulfilling career?

Absolutely, enduring the added stress and unknown fears has made me a better trucker. Knowing that I was needed (all truckers and essential workers) in a time of crisis and I was able to fulfill my essential job has given me more pride in my line of work. I see how essential importing, exporting, and hauling goods is, not only in Canada but the US as well (and all over). Transportation and logistics is a huge pillar of our economy and plays an important role in everyone’s lives but may have been underrated before the pandemic.

Thank you to Holly, and thank you to all Essential Workers during this difficult time.

Questions or Comments? Please email sfram@workforcewindsoressex.com

Are you an Essential Worker? Would you be willing to share your experience with us? Please contact info@workforcewindsoressex.com, Subject: Essential Worker Portal.