Mackenzie Melton was named December Member of the Month by the Women In Trucking Association. Compared to many truck drivers, Mackenzie is relatively new in the transportation industry. She began her professional driving career with Garner Trucking, Inc, in her home town of Findlay, Ohio, nearly three years ago.  

Deciding to attend a truck driving school took more courage than anyone else could understand. When Mackenzie was only eleven years old, she had been involved in a fatal car accident which took the lives of both of her step-brothers. Snow and icy conditions were a factor of that tragic event. The memory of the accident left her with a fear of riding in vehicles for several years after. Even as a professional driver, it adds another layer of focus when weather conditions become severe.   

Being a single mother, Mackenzie found herself working several dead-end jobs as she struggled to provide for herself and her young child. As she labored in a factory to barely made ends meet, Mackenzie described her situation as “dirt poor” and nowhere to go. While she was working at the presses day in and day out, it was a driver who unknowingly gave Mackenzie an inspiration. The driver made a daily delivery to the facility where Mackenzie worked.  She noticed his professionalism, his pleasant demeanor, his confidence and pride in what he did for a living. Mackenzie had never spoken to that driver, but began to admire the job he did. “Why can’t I be a truck driver and happily come and go instead of standing at my press every day?” was what began going through her mind.  

Family members were split over her career decision. The man in her life, who is now her husband, has been nothing but supportive since the very beginning. He helps make her home time quality family time with her two children. Another family member expressed her fear of dangers on the road that a woman could encounter. After nearly three years, none of those fears have proven to be valid and Mackenzie stated that she is so glad she didn’t allow the fears of others to hinder her decision.

It was time for her to begin a new career that would provide a good life for her family. Driving truck promised to be financially stable and offer some adventure too. It would have taken a life-time to save enough for tuition for truck driving school; so, she sought assistance. She found an agency that would invest in someone who was willing to work hard, had a good employment history and could fit classes into her weekend schedule. She took a little longer to graduate than some, but with her job and family, she could only be in class one day each week; however, Mackenzie has no regrets of the choice she made! Mackenzie considers herself very fortunate that she found a career that gives her so much satisfaction. Since becoming a driver for Garner Trucking, Mackenzie says, “I feel no other career would be as fulfilling. Every day I take pride in my job. Everywhere I go my goal is to change the way people perceive truck drivers in general. Admittedly, there are some truck drivers who perpetuate the general opinion of the occupation as grumpy, angry and complaining people. But I have met some truly nice people out there. Truck drivers are some of the most reliable, friendly, and helpful people I come across.”        

Mackenzie states that being a lady driver does create a few challenges. When someone sees her drive into their lot for the first time, occasionally, they will stand and watch to see if she can do her job. Once she backs in and proves she can handle the truck and trailer, she gains their respect. As her professionalism extends to paperwork and communicating with shippers and receivers, they are glad to have her return to their facility.   

Mackenzie’s clean safety record, on-time deliveries and other criteria that calculates into the formula for company driver awards, certainly paid off for her. “In 2016, I was selected as Garner Driver of the Quarter,” says Mackenzie, “and that was a big surprise since I was not a long-time employee!”

“Stories like Mackenzie’s fill my heart with joy!” says Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, owner of Garner Trucking, Inc, Findlay Ohio. “Mackenzie is special and I am fortunate she has found a career at Garner. I think, sadly, there are more women like Mackenzie out there that don’t or can’t realize their financial and career potential. How do we find them? How do we get them behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler? I’m so thankful Mackenzie takes pride in her career and talks to others about facing their fears head on!” 

Recently, Mackenzie has shifted her focus at Garner Trucking. She is now a Recruiting Specialist where she is able to share her excitement for the industry and her experience on the road with others. 

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