4th-generation driver in the trucking business for the long haul
It's already been a week since another successful Mid-America Trucking Show, and it's gratifying to think about all the Customers who stopped by the Love's booth at the Kentucky Exposition Center. We enjoyed talking to each and every one of you!
And if there's anything we've learned at these shows, it's that every professional driver has a story.
Take 22-year-old Shannon Pyles from Salem, Oregon. She's an owner-operator who runs under her dad's authority, and she's a fourth-generation trucker. Shannon hauls reefer product across the country in her '95 Freightliner FLD Mini Condo with her 7-month-old blue and white brindle pit bull terrier named Lily.
Pyles plans to be in the transportation business for the long haul.
"It's not a job; it's a lifestyle. Your life revolves around that truck," she said.
Pyles only got her big rig in December, but despite her relative youth, she's no newbie to the highway.
"I've been in a truck since I was 2 years old. I always wanted to be like my dad and drive," Pyles said.
Eric Pyles, Shannon's father, has been a professional driver for 27 years. He would give Shannon a chance to get acclimated behind the wheel by doing laps in empty parking lots, wherever empty lots could be found. Shannon Pyles recalled her first time driving, at 16 years old, negotiating laps in an abandoned movie theater parking lot.
So when it came time to get her CDL in May 2015, Pyles was ready to go.
"I was out in a truck so much that when I went in for training, I just treated it like I was out with my dad," she said.
The trucking industry has been a family affair for the Pyles' for four generations, and Shannon has learned the ins and outs of the business, including what she's looking for from her travel stops.
"Quickness is really important. There are all sorts of things slowing us down, so the faster we can get in and out, the better," Pyles said.
The My Love Rewards member said she also appreciates cleanliness.
"The bathrooms at Love's are always clean, and they are always very busy," she said.
Among her observations and compliments, Pyles also has wisdom for drivers new to the business, especially on the topic of staying healthy and in shape.
"Try to stay away from the sugar. That helps. And when there's a fast-food restaurant, understand that they also have healthy options," Pyles said.
While Pyles is admittedly not much of a coffee drinker, she does imbibe a blueberry or cranberry Red Bull from time to time. It's pretty impossible to avoid all sugar, but Pyles did say she tries to stay away from conventional sodas, diet or otherwise. Most of the time, she chooses water, Gatorade or nutritional juices such as those made by Odwalla.
It's all part of a longer-term strategy to make sure her experiences today as a fourth-generation driver and owner-operator become the foundation for a highly successful trucking career.