Longtime truck driver Chanita Ward finds journey to success at Malone
According to a recent report by the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry is slated to hire nearly 900,000 more drivers in order to keep up with a steadily rising demand. This means business is booming, and there’s plenty of work to go around. Still, despite 185,000 trucking jobs added in 2017, just 7% of those truck drivers are women. But why? Despite some pretty played out jokes, women are wholly capable drivers and many have just the right fortitude to thrive in professions that take them to the open road. At Malone, we believe in helping all of our employees achieve their best lives. We hire hard-working, driven individuals looking to make driving their livelihood.
One of those driven individuals just so happens to be Chanita Ward, a twelve-year veteran of the highways and byways. As a flatbed trucker, one of the most commonly heard responses Chanita experiences when she shares her career is, “Isn’t this job too hard for a woman?” She laughs and simply responds with, “If you’re willing to put in the work, it’s not as hard as it looks.”
Of course, grit is nothing new to Chanita. After experiencing a bout of breast cancer and subsequent radiation and chemo just five years ago, she is by any definition a fighter in addition to being a road warrior. “I love flatbed trucking because it keeps me active. It keeps my muscles in action. It’s unbelievable to me even now that I went from going through all the chemo and radiation a few years ago to now being able to lift these tarps up. I’m ecstatic every day to do what I do, and I give praise constantly that I’m able to live the life I have now,” she says.
On the decision to become a truck driver, Chanita says she was drawn to the road ever since she got her license as a teenager: “I’ve always loved to drive. Even on long trips, I wanted to drive instead of fly. I’m just a road person. When I started doing this twelve years ago, I thought, ‘I’m always driving anyway—I might as well get paid for it.’ It’s been a great move for me.”
As a longtime truck driver, Chanita has worked for a few different trucking companies, but has found Malone to be a wonderful fit. Chanita explains her initial reasoning for choosing Malone was rooted in their above-and-beyond treatment of employees, stating, “The team at Malone treats you like family—that was my first reason for choosing to work for them. You’re not just a truck number to them. They know who you are and they want to help you make good money. You’re given all the tools you need to succeed.”
With a teenage daughter at home, Chanita makes it a point to get home most weekends—a component of flatbed trucking that she finds critical to her personal needs. “Flatbed trucking means you can get home for the holidays, too, as many companies we run loads for are shut down then,” she adds. “Malone allows you to set your own schedule. You have the freedom to pick how and when you want to work.”
While women may not make up a huge segment of the truck driving industry, Chanita believes it’s a career choice that allows you to thrive while experiencing many parts of the nation you might otherwise never have the opportunity to see. “I would highly recommend working at Malone—especially if you have that adventurous spirit and plenty of initiative. Let’s just say I’m not going anywhere,” she says.