Finalist Jackie Wormley: ‘If you apply yourself, you can do this on your own’

Updated May 16, 2013
Jackie Wormley

Jackie WormleyName: Jackie Wormley
Company: Owner/operator leased to Landstar Ranger
Years in trucking: Driving for 12 years
What you haul: Windows on a dedicated run from Iowa to Montana
Truck’s make and model: Freightliner FLD120 (with purple and gold stripes in honor of her favorite football team the Minnesota Vikings)

Jackie WormleyJackie Wormley knew she wanted to drive a truck since she was five years old.

“I made my dad take his bobtail truck to school for show and tell; the kids loved climbing up in the cab and blowing the horn. I’ve just always known this was the career for me.”

Wormley has been driving for 12 years and has always driven solo. “I’ve always wanted to be on my own out here,” she says.

She spent the first 10 years living out of her truck and saving money; she parlayed that into paying cash for her half of the house she and her fiancé Joel recently purchased in Minnesota.

Overdrive: What made you decide to enter Overdrive’s Most Beautiful contest?

Wormley: I’ve been doing a lot of things lately to try to help owner-operators, including working with Kevin Rutherford of Let’s Truck. I used to drive for Covenant Transport and spent a lot of time at the terminals around other women who drove team. They would say how much they admired me for doing it by myself. I want women to know if you apply yourself, you can do this on your own. You can do every part of it on your own. I think this contest is really going to help women coming into the industry see what they are capable of.

Overdrive: What is your definition of beauty in relation to trucking?

Jackie WormleyWormley: I think it’s how you do your work. I think your character and how you do your work shows your beauty. I’m on a dedicated run, and see the same customers every couple of weeks. They always comment on how clean my truck is. I take pride in how my truck and equipment looks, and work hard to be professional.

Overdrive: What was the reaction from your friends and family when you made the top ten?

Wormley: When I first entered the contest, they were shocked. I’ve always been a tomboy. But I told them ‘looks aren’t why I’m doing this.’ Once I made the top 10 they weren’t surprised at all; they said ‘You’ve got this.’ They have been very supportive. I have a great group of family and friends.

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Overdrive: How do you feel about the role of women truckers?mail-3

Wormley: We’re out here to do the job the same as anyone else. I’ve never thought about women being any different, except you need to be a bit safer and more aware of your surroundings because it can be a little dangerous. I grew up in the trucking industry, and my dad only had one kid – me. So he taught me everything I know. I do everything for myself, including truck maintenance and washing/waxing (I was waxing the truck just before this conversation).

I’ve known I wanted to drive a truck since I was very young. My grandma said I knew wrench sizes before I could read. I graduated with honors and had scholarship offers after high school, but I didn’t want to do anything else. No one ever said I could do something ‘better’ – everyone was always so supportive.

Overdrive: What would you like to say to the non-driving public about women driving big rigs?mail

Wormley: I don’t think a lot of people ever look up into truck cabs when they are driving down the road, so they don’t realize women drivers exist. When I get out of the truck, people are sometimes taken aback that a woman is climbing out of the driver’s seat. They probably wonder, ‘Where is her husband, or team member?’ It’s just me out here, and I love it.

Overdrive: Do you have any unique experiences that have happened because you are a woman trucker?

Wormley: One time, early in my career, I was at a Wal-Mart distribution center waiting for my load. I was sitting in my truck doing something in the front seat, and there was a male driver parking a truck next to me. I noticed he was really close to my truck; he almost hit me! He got on the radio and said ‘I am so sorry. I looked up, saw a woman in the cab and was so surprised, I almost hit you.’

Overdrive: What do you wish you knew before you started driving?mail-2

Wormley: I’ve known I wanted to drive a truck since I was very young. My grandma said I knew wrench sizes before I could read. I graduated with honors and had scholarship offers after high school, but I didn’t want to do anything else. No one ever said I could do something ‘better’ – everyone was always so supportive. I didn’t know how much I really was going to love it until I got out here on the road. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t drive. This is my career choice.

Overdrive: If you could fix one thing about the trucking industry, what would it be?

Jackie WormleyWormley: Honestly, I wish the government didn’t have to be so involved. I understand the need for regulations, and I can work within the rules and make them work for me. But I think they are being a little hard on us with electronic logs and speed regulations, etc. On the other hand, it’s the drivers that drive over their log books and get into accidents that cause the need for such regulations. I don’t know what needs to be done there. We wouldn’t have these issues if all drivers made good choices. Additionally, driver image is a something I wish I could fix. I see a lot of drivers in truck stops that look like they don’t care about themselves, and that shows through to customers and people outside of our industry.

Overdrive: Is there a sisterhood in trucking?

Wormley: I don’t know; I’ve never really paid attention. There aren’t a lot of them, but now with this contest I feel like I have more of a connection than I ever have, and we can be a support group among ourselves. We can create a sisterhood out of this awesome group of women. Back in December when I received the email about the contest, I thought it was a great idea. I read the entries, and all of the women are such great people.

Overdrive: What do you like about the way you look?

Wormley: My best feature is my hair. I’ve always been told that – it’s thick and every couple of years I grow it out and donate it to Locks of Love so it can be made into wigs for children with cancer. I like to share with people who are less fortunate.