Meet Jodi Edwards: A 2-Million Safe Miles Driver with a Million-Dollar Smile

by Women In Trucking Staff, on Apr 10, 2024 2:10:36 PM


Studies show that within three seconds people make many decisions or assumptions about one’s character. Within three seconds, one would be greeted with Jodi Edwards’ big smile and decide that she has a big personality interlaced with a passionate, giving, and caring spirit. Also, within those three seconds, one would see that when she speaks, people listen; that she is direct and honest and wickedly funny; and that she is both an expert at and loves her job.

Jodi is passionate about being a truck driver, a career she has had for the past 33 years. She believes in giving back to her fellow drivers and in being an advocate to women entering the industry. She cares about the company in which she has been employed (J.B. Hunt Transport Services) for the past 25 years. She is a highly regarded Women In Trucking Image Team member and a 2-Million Mile, Collision-Free, Safe Driver, an accomplishment she attained on January 5th of this year.

Becoming a truck driver happened very organically for Jodi and it’s a decision she has never regretted. She reminisces about how she found her path: “I decided when I was 21 or 22 that I wanted to move to California. I spent three months there and I hated it, so I moved back to Pennsylvania. The best part was driving out west and driving back home. I loved seeing the country,” she explains. Soon after returning home, she went to the local library (there was no such thing as the Internet then) to research jobs that involved travel. “I love this country and I wanted to see it. I found a children’s book about becoming a truck driver, and in the book there were little post-a-note advertisements about truck driving schools. I ended up going to a school in Harrisburg that advertised in the book,” she adds.

She knew she had found her passion the first time she climbed into the truck and sat in it. “I could feel the excitement. I know it sounds silly, but you get in that truck, everything is set right, and it becomes a part of you. I know it’s a big truck, and I hadn’t even driven a stick shift before, but it’s an extension of me,” she says.

Shortly after Jodi earned her CDL, she was hired by J.B. Hunt as an over-the-road driver. Within two years, she had visited all 48 contiguous states and Canada, accomplishing her goal to see the country and more. Since then, she has added Alaska and Hawaii to the list, but not in a semi, of course. Within six months she was asked to be a driver trainer, as J.B. Hunt needed female trainers. “Some women don’t want a man to train them. I get it. It can be uncomfortable for some people. I was glad to do it. I was good at my job and a safe driver. I love training. I love teaching,” she says with pride.

Her stint with J.B. Hunt came to an end when, at five months pregnant with her second child, she decided she didn’t want to drive over-the-road anymore. It was a sad day for her, as she left the company and a job she loved. She gave birth to her son and stayed busy raising her boys, James and Zack. Six months later, the tractor-trailer was calling her name. She went to work for a company that offered local routes. One day, she noticed J.B Hunt’s logo on day cabs at the rail yard and around her town. She was so excited to learn they had local positions, so she applied for a job and she was hired as part of the intermodal division.

The rest, she says, is history. She was back home at the company she loved. She got to drive local routes, be home every night, and be the mom she wanted to be. “I didn’t miss anything. I went to all the baseball, basketball, football, wrestling, and volleyball games. We camped on the weekends. I got to spend time with my family, and I had a great job!”

jodi-edwards-cakeToday Jodi continues in her role as a local diver for J.B. Hunt’s intermodal division in Bethlehem, PA, and she is grateful for the work-life balance her job provides. She is able to help care for her aging mother, and she has plenty of time to play with her two rescued fur babies, Kendall and Maddie. She also embraces her sense of adventure with her longtime boyfriend (and “partner in crime”) Nelson, with whom she loves to travel, trail ride on her ebike, and geo cache. “Nelson is the most supportive person I know, and I doubt that I would have had as much success these last 10 years without him,” she says.

When asked to describe a typical day at her office behind the wheel, she responded with, “I haul anything that doesn’t glow or blow. I run from the rail yard, bob tail in, grab a container, hook and go. I’m moving 8-10 trailers per day.” Being a driver has affected her life in many ways. She is grateful for her role as a WIT Image Team member, and as a driver representative for J.B. Hunt. “It’s given me a voice to share my knowledge. I’ve been given an opportunity that others don’t have. It’s given me pride. I’ve always been a bigger person physically and people would pick and say things, but now, I own my life. It’s mine. I earned it. I paid for it. Being a driver is my super-power,” she says with a laugh.

Jodi has been a Smith System® certified instructor for nearly 15 years and has been a driver trainer at J.B. Hunt for more than 25 years, where she continues to share her wisdom and experience. “I love being a mentor and I love helping people,” she explains. Her advice to incoming drivers: Do your research. “If there is something specific you want, like travel like I did or sustainability and self-reliance, you can find it. I am divorced. I live by myself. I have a feeling of independence because I know I can take care of myself. Just know what you want out of it and get the job that aligns with what you want,” she says. “It used to be you had to be an over-the-road driver first to get a local job. You don’t have to do that anymore. It’s the greatest balance to be a driver and to be there for your family.”

Among her many accomplishments, she has been named Driver of the Year for her region, was awarded the J.B. Hunt Million Mile Award for driving 1 million safe miles in 2012, received consecutive safe driving awards at J.B. Hunt, and her recent 2 Million Mile Safe Driving Award which has earned her a trip to J.B. Hunt’s home office in Lowell, AR, at its annual Million Mile Celebration this April where she will be celebrated with all J.B. Hunt drivers who have achieved 2+ Million Safe Miles.

When asked for parting advice, Jodi offered this: “Life is short. If driving is something you want to do, do it! If there is something in this life that will give you happiness, go for it. And, whatever it is, make sure to celebrate those who helped you get there!”


A version of this article will be featured in Edition 1 of 2024 in our official magazine, Redefining The Road. Download the latest edition here.

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The Women In Trucking Association is a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in articles within the WIT Blog are those of the authors/submitters and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Women In Trucking Association.

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