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Inside NFI: Jerrice’s journey as a female trucker

April 30, 2024

Welcome back to our series, diving into the world of trucking, where we continue to explore the stories that shape the transportation and logistics industries. 

Check out part one, which explores truck driver empowerment and recruitment with insights from NFI’s Recruitment Marketing Team.   

Meet Jerrice

Jerrice, a trucker based out of South Bend, Indiana, defies convention when you imagine who is out there driving the big rigs. Her story is not just one of a job, but of resilience, female empowerment, and being true to yourself. As part of our ongoing exploration of NFI, a New Jersey-based supply chain solutions provider, and a valued WEX customer, we delved into Jerrice’s experiences as a female trucker in the industry.

From working in a nursing home to the open road

For Jerrice, the path to becoming a trucker was not a traditional one. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to reevaluate her career. While working in a nursing home during COVID, she saw the pandemic take 58 residents’ lives. Like many, a career change was the answer in the face of fear and loss during the crisis.

It was during this time that a friend introduced her to NFI, sparking her curiosity about the trucking profession. And as she learned more about the job and with the promise of adventure and opportunity, Jerrice seized the chance to embark on a new chapter in her life.

Navigating training challenges early on

Despite her determination, Jerrice encountered challenges along the way. The brief training period provided by a Commercial Truck Driving (CDL) training program, while a critical educational experience, didn’t adequately prepare her for the complexities of the road. As she quickly discovered, real-world driving is often different from the textbook scenarios taught in class. There are factors like driver behavior, vague rules, and confusing roads that differ per location. 

Jerrice advocates for companies hosting their own tailored training programs that address the nuances of specific regions and road conditions, giving drivers the information they need to drive safely and confidently.

She saw a leap in her skills when she began training with a female instructor at NFI named Melinda. It was during this training period that Jerrice honed her skills and finally understood the elusive aspects of maneuvering a big truck. Under Melinda’s mentorship, Jerrice finally figured out how to park her trailer—a task she had frustratingly struggled with.

“She is the one who fine-tuned me. With her, I finally figured out how to park my trailer. It must have been a woman’s touch and the verbiage we use to communicate that finally made it click.” 

Transcending gender bias in the trucking industry

In her experiences as a female trucker, Jerrice witnessed first-hand the gender biases within the industry. According to Zippia, today women only make up about 15.7% of professional truck drivers in the U.S., a slow but steady growth since 2010 with 11%, but an indicator that men still dominate the industry.

Having previously worked in other traditionally masculine fields, such as steel working, she was no stranger to the skepticism and prejudice that comes with being a woman working a man’s job. Through her strength and resolve, she proved time and time again that gender is no barrier as long as you are doing what you love.

Embracing the freedom of the open road

For Jerrice, the allure of trucking lies in the freedom of being outside. Despite the dangers of driving, she revels in the opportunity to be outside – to see the changing landscapes and experience the seasons. 

That freedom attracts many different types of people to the profession. While she noted that a lot of truckers she works with have been in the profession for a long time, she also sees a lot of people like her – people whose lives were turned upside down during COVID, driving them to make a change. 

The pandemic gave many the opportunity to reevaluate their career aspirations. Many trucking companies provided free training for new drivers to get a CDL, which helped prospects more readily make the decision to  enter the trucking profession. With more freedom and more time spent outside of an office building, for many, driving is the most liberating career.

Every day is different when driving, so monotony is not a concern for most. In fact, Indeed recently revealed the top factors that truckers loved the most about their jobs. Most loved the travel, self-supervised work, variety, and the purpose of the job. Trucking is an essential service impacting many industries globally. Being an integral part of a business’ operations comes with a sense of importance and responsibility, which many truckers find gratifying. 

Jerrice takes that responsibility especially seriously, doing her best to be safe and considerate on the road. As a former school bus driver for over 16 years, she has maintained a safety-first mindset.

Squashing misconceptions and stereotypes about trucking

One of the biggest truck driver misconceptions she hears is that the job is simply driving. As the operator of an 18-wheeler, it’s the driver’s responsibility to be alert and aware for the entirety of any given trip. They need to be able to react in a split second. They also need a certain level of ingenuity to problem-solve while on the road. 

“You sometimes have to be your own mechanic, GPS, or manager. It takes independence and creativity to navigate the challenges that arise when you’re on the road.”

Finding belonging and a supportive community at NFI

A big part of what has made Jerrice’s journey meaningful is her affiliation with NFI. At the start of her trucking career, she researched and quickly found many aspects of the company she liked. She came to appreciate the company’s family values, inclusivity, and their philanthropic initiatives, such as their work with the American Heart Association. 

Jerrice particularly likes the SheDrives campaign, which warmly welcomes female truckers at NFI, providing a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Jerrice is actively involved in online communities and social media groups, where she can connect with fellow female truckers, share advice, and seek support.

Advice for aspiring truckers

As Jerrice reflects on her trucking journey so far, she offers words of encouragement to those considering a career in trucking: “To anyone thinking about a career in trucking, don’t let anything or anyone get in your way. Go for it, fight for it, and know that you can succeed at anything you put your mind to. Stay true to yourself.”

Jerrice’s journey as a female trucker at NFI embodies the spirit of empowerment and resilience that defines the modern trucking industry. Through her experiences, she challenges stereotypes, overcomes obstacles, and inspires others to pursue their passions fearlessly. 

For more trucker stories and information on how to better manage your over-the-road fleet, visit:

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