Loving A Career in Trucking at Holland
Debra was 19 years old and not sure about much in her life when a friend of hers who was headed back to college told her about the job she had for the summer at a trucking company. The trucking company would soon have an opening–that Debra stepped right into. And her career in trucking began!
Now, 35 years have somehow gone by. Debra still loves what she does for a living. “Life can offer amazing opportunities,” Debra says, “all you have to do is reach out and take them. I took a chance on something I knew nothing about, and I am living an amazing adventure. I love trucking.”
She’s worn many hats at Holland over the years: supervisor at our Cadillac, MI terminal; Terminal Manager at Decatur; Terminal Manager at Danville, IL; Regional Director for the South; Terminal Manager for Macon, GA; Manager of Business Process; and now Terminal Manager at the Holland St. Louis terminal.
Originally from Cadillac, Michigan, Debra Atkins has done a bit of traveling over the years.
Debra at Work
A typical day for Debra starts out with her walking the dock, checking reports, meeting up with her Assistant Manager and Inbound Operations Manager. At noon, she gathers her Inbound crew and reviews safety challenges experienced. Then, she checks in with Dispatch. Around 3:00 p.m., she talks with her Outbound crew. She has conference calls and capably handles whatever needs taken care of.
What inspires her at Holland? Well, Debra just plain loves the work. She loves trucking. She loves that it’s something different every single day. She loves that the President of Holland or a Vice President will just pick up the phone and call. She loves the communication across all levels of business.
Debra says, “It gets in your blood. You run with it. I don’t know of another job that can be such a different animal every single day–just the weather alone makes each day so different. At work, I’m on top of the world. It’s go-go-go.”
Debra At Home
There’s more than trucking fueling Debra’s life. At work she’s super busy, but home is all about the things that relax her, like listening to her favorite group, “Band of Heathens” sing “Hurricane” (bluesy rock) or just being a “grandma.” Debra has seven children: four she gave birth to, two step-children and one child she adopted. She also has twelve grandchildren and one great-grandchild that she loves hanging out with.
If not spending time with her family or listening to music, Debra enjoys shooting her Mathews Jewel compound bow (designed for women passionate about archery and top-of-the-line performance), hobby-bow hunting, open shots, etc.
She’s joined bow hunting leagues in several of the cities and states she’s lived in, including one in the St. Louis area. She hunts with a bow or a shotgun. Her favorite is pheasant hunting, but she really enjoys duck hunting. Her grandfather took her hunting with a shotgun when she was about eight or nine years old. She started shooting bow (with her brother) about the same time. It’s always been an interest and a skill to improve on. Debra enjoys tackling life’s challenges.
We wish you good luck in your bow competitions, Debra. And we thank you for your many years of dedicated service at Holland, Making Next-Day Happen!