Jody White didn’t grow up with dreams of joining the trucking industry.
In fact, she was working towards a B.A. in Music when she more or less stumbled into the industry. Shortly after she and her husband had their first child, Jody decided to take on a part-time job to help with the bills. When her husband saw that a local trucking company was hiring, he suggested she try it out.
Nearly 40 years later and Jody continues to build on a long, successful career in the trucking industry. Today, she works as the Linehaul Supervisor at our Fort Wayne, IN terminal, where she juggles the many, daily complexities of fleet management.
“It can be challenging,” said Jody. “But there’s no better feeling than knowing that all our equipment is fixed and ready, and that all the drivers are matched with their own tractors. It might sound like a small thing, but it’s all you can ask for in a day’s work – being able to look back and say that you did your job well.”
Unfortunately, not all the barriers Jody faces are within her control. Jody explained that perhaps the toughest challenge she faces in her work today is securing manpower.
“15 to 20 years ago, you could hardly find a job as a truck driver, the field was so competitive. Now, the entire industry is facing a driver shortage, and it doesn’t seem to be going away. We need to find ways to get more young people interested in driving as a career.”
The Mission to Make Holland Better
Although the forces behind the driver shortage are many and complex, Jody feels that some of it can be attributed to the negative stereotypes surrounding truck drivers. She feels that creating a more positive image of drivers, and heightening their visibility, will help attract new people to the industry.
And while her ability to change that image is limited, she is a firm believer in the power of Truck Driving Championships (TDCs). For over a decade, she has been one of Holland’s most vocal TDC proponents. Jody explains that TDCs are an excellent way to combat the stereotype that truck drivers are dangerous and reckless behind the wheel. She also firmly believes in their ability to elevate the company’s image, and demonstrate safety and professionalism.
“It’s such a good organization,” said Jody.
Jody first joined Holland in 2000, after a brief hiatus from the industry to pursue a Master’s in Teaching & Learning from The Ohio State University. She started as an Outbound Supervisor out of our Columbus, OH terminal. Later, she was promoted to the position of Terminal Manager for our Lincoln, IL facilities. It was then, in Lincoln, that Jody first began promoting TDCs.
Every year since, she has rallied her drivers to participate and represent Holland at the events. This year, Jody already has 9 Fort Wayne drivers registered for the Indiana TDC! And she doesn’t just encourage others to take part – for nearly a decade, Jody has been traveling to the state championships herself to set up the Holland tent and cheer on our drivers.
With her passion and commitment, Jody has inspired dozens of Holland drivers to participate in the TDCs over the years. And those strong Holland turnouts have undoubtedly done immeasurable good for both our company, and our industry at large.
Jody At Home
But Jody doesn’t spend all her free time around trucks. Above all else, she enjoys spending her free time with family. After being transferred to the Fort Wayne terminal in 2013, Jody and her husband decided to buy a home in the area. As most homeowners know, a new home inevitably comes with a lot of new responsibilities. So, in their free time, Jody and her husband have been settling in, fixing up the lawn, and preparing for the wave of summer visits from their grandkids…all 8 of them.
Thankfully for Jody, they don’t all come at once. The grandkids range in age from 0 to 12, and all of them look forward to a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s in Fort Wayne.
“My son and daughter both had four kids each,” Jody said. “So, the grandkids have become a very big part of our lives. We go out to visit them at any chance we get in New Jersey and Cincinnati, and they each come spend about a week with us every summer.
“We’re both very proud of our children and love having the grandkids around.”
We wish you luck with the little ones this summer, Jody! And we’d also like to thank you for your years of service, and for helping to make The Holland Difference!