December 2016 • Shannon Van Roo

Shannon Van Roo

Shannon Van Roo was named the December Member of the Month by the Women In Trucking Association. Shannon is the Marketing Regulatory Affairs Analyst at Acuity in Sheboygan, WI.

When Shannon graduated from high school, she was looking for the chance to travel and see the country. Working as a cashier at a Wisconsin truck stop, she began to make connections with people in the transportation industry and see the opportunity to fulfill that goal through truck driving.

Shannon began learning to drive commercial trucks with the help of friends, and a year later earned her CDL for Classes A, B, and C. At just age 19, Shannon needed an in-state driving job, and one appeared swiftly due to her connections through the truck stop. Soon, she sat behind the wheel of an old Kenworth quad axle dump truck—a shiny, loud vehicle with straight pipes and that “old-school rumble.”

“Mechanically, it was a terrible truck. It had a spring-ride suspension and fell apart frequently,” Shannon recalls.

However, driving that truck taught her an important lesson: perseverance. It took time and experience to master maneuvering the truck into all the odd places it needed to go. Shannon also learned the importance of safety, pre-trip inspections, and routine maintenance. After a season spent driving the problematic truck, she was rewarded with a brand-new Western Star dump truck.

“Everything’s local when you’re hauling with a quad, so my second-year truck was leased to a company hauling to a new road project in Waukesha County,” Shannon says. “It was a grinding loop day in and day out.”

Eventually, she advanced to longer runs hauling lime to farms in Western and Northern Wisconsin and decorative rock back to the Milwaukee area. Shannon greatly enjoyed truck driving and the sense of community it provided.

“There was a whole network of local drivers to chat with and rely on for help if I got stuck in a farm field or blew a tire on the side of the road,” says Shannon.

In addition to gaining friends and co-workers through trucking, Shannon met her future husband. Years later, Shannon—now married with children—found herself co-managing her husband’s trucking company and driving occasionally when she had the opportunity. Learning about regulations, bookkeeping, and recordkeeping was new to her, but was a necessary and an interesting part of running a trucking company.

A few years later, Shannon became a single parent and decided to finish her Bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A friend suggested she apply at Acuity Insurance in Sheboygan and, after graduation, she started in the company’s Marketing department as a regulatory affairs analyst. Acuity immediately recognized her trucking background and invited her to be part of the company’s business segment team for the trucking industry.

“I am very excited to be a part of this team for Acuity’s trucking customers,” Shannon says. “Our team monitors trucking regulations at both the federal and state levels, helps with marketing tasks, and works on implementing products to provide the trucking industry with relevant and necessary coverages and business operations assistance.”

Although Shannon’s career path has varied, it has revolved around trucking—a fact that she hopes many young people will take into account when considering a career in the trucking industry. Trucking isn’t just about driving: it takes many people with a variety of skills and interests to build a successful company. Shannon looks forward to continuing to expand her knowledge of trucking and supporting truckers and trucking companies through the opportunities presented at Acuity.


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