Faces of Trucking: Renisha

There are over 3.5 million truckers in America, and 3.5 million great trucking stories. This one is about Renisha, check it out!

Renisha Black grew up in the small town of Rosedale, Louisiana. Back then, in the early '90s, as a typical, restless youth, she likely would have called it "bor-ing" Rosedale, Louisiana. She saw little of the rest of the world.

Interestingly, she says, "I considered doing something like trucking, something that was different and adventurous."

The thought passed and Renisha grew up, graduated from high school and began college. Then life stepped in: Toward the end of her freshman year, Renisha learned she was pregnant.

With twins.

Welcome Career No. 1: single parenthood.

Anyone who knows Renisha is not surprised to learn this unexpected turn did not disable her in any way. Quite the opposite. She simply combined Career No. 1 with Career No. 2: management.

"I started as a shift manager, then went on to be an assistant store manager, general store manager, and then a property manager," she says. She worked during this time for Burger King, Domino's Pizza, Dollar General, and Public Storage. All good work—but not such good pay. Despite working long hours, holidays, and weekends, the money fell short.

But the twins were still young, and being home was Renisha's first priority.

By 2016, however, those twins were age 15, and, "I started considering trucking as an option again. I saw it as an opportunity to make much more money," Renisha says.

"I did a little research, and I found that there were not a lot of women in trucking. I knew it was a male-dominated industry. But I was not intimidated by that. I was raised with the conviction that if somebody else can do it, so can I—that I can do anything I put my mind to."

Thus began Career No. 3, when Renisha signed up with C1 Truck Driver Training for a two-and-a-half week course. "Truck driving school was exciting for me. The first time I actually got in the truck and had the opportunity to feel the power in front of me, I was hooked."

After four weeks with a mentor on the road, Renisha was a trucking professional and began driving box trucks and, later, refrigerator trucks. Finally, she has settled on driving tankers. She hauls a variety of chemicals.

And she has made the jump to owner-operator with Quality Carriers, which she is especially proud of. "I am doing a lease-purchase," she says. "Working at Quality Carriers has substantially improved my 'Quality of Living.'"

During her trucking career so far, Renisha has done a lot of over-the-road driving, which, often means being gone for two weeks (Mom helps at home with the twins). This isn't easy, she says.

"The number one sacrifice for anyone in the industry is the time away from home and family. It's bittersweet. I enjoy the travel; I enjoy making a living for my family. But I also miss the kids when I'm gone."

As for the women in trucking aspect, Renisha has seen some increase in women truckers, who routinely refer to themselves as "lady truckers." Some, Renisha says, call themselves "Divas in trucking."

But still not enough women have considered this career—yet. For those who do, Renisha has some words of wisdom.

"On the training side of it, I would say to a lady coming into this industry: Be confident in yourself. Be patient with the process. And never give up on whatever you're learning, however many times it takes you until you get it.

"Know that you are equipped to do this job as well as anybody else. I say this because you do still get a little resistance sometimes, since this is still such a male-dominated job."

In fact, using words like "Ladies in trucking," Renisha says, "is our way of kind of making a statement, because for some, there is still this idea of what a truck driver should look like, and that idea is very archaic compared to the industry in 2018."

"The truck driver industry does not have a particular look to it anymore. There is such a variety of people, personalities, races, and ethnic backgrounds. And for the most part, there is a growing culture of acceptance."

"Overall, I think society has become very accepting of lady drivers."

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