From gigabytes to gears: Sheryl Fava on career change and trucking

Only 12.5% of all truck transportation workers are women. Less than eight percent are drivers. Despite this small percentage, there is a growing amount of organizations, advocates, events, and resources for women in the industry. For National Women’s History Month, we’re honored to share and celebrate some of their stories.

Dallas-based Sheryl Fava went from behind a desk to behind the wheel, fulfilling her life-long dream of becoming a truck driver. It’s been five years since she made this lifestyle change, and she hasn’t looked back.

How did you get into the industry?

“I was a Geek Squad agent before I got into trucking, but I had wanted to be a truck driver since I was nine years old when Smoky and the Bandit came out. I’ve just always been intrigued by trucks. It was the same with my motorcycle — I always wanted to ride. Ten years ago I got my license and got a Harley. I don’t have a big mechanical background, but the sound of certain engines is thrilling.

I have three children, two boys and a girl. When my youngest finished high school, I decided to go to school for trucking. I got my license have been rolling ever since. I drove for a company for a while and then decided company life wasn’t for me, so I bought my own truck and trailer and got my authority. I don’t regret it at all, and I really like what I do.”

Describe your experience as a woman in a male-dominated field.

“It depends on who you run into. I’ve run across some old-timers who’ve been out on the road for a long time, and they’ve shown me great respect. I’ve also run across plenty of people who aren’t so friendly.

Once when I first started out, I was going through an old country area. There was construction and I was going slowly because it was also a school zone. A guy made a comment over the radio that I needed to pull over or get out of the way, and we had a few choice words. These are known as ‘CB fist fights.’

What advice do you have for other women looking to get into the industry?

“I recommend going to a school or finding a company that will sponsor you. It’s very fulfilling — you won’t regret it. Also, be careful on the road. Make sure you have safety measures in order. Get an alarm for your truck for when you’re sleeping. If you get out in the middle of the night, have your flashlight. If you can have a dog, get a dog. They will definitely warn you if anyone comes near your truck.”

What do you love most about the work you do?

“I love traveling, seeing the different scenery, and meeting people from all over the country. I also like being able to make all my own decisions. Sometimes I think back to when I was working on computers and wonder how would I handle it now if I were trapped in a building all day. I think it would drive me insane now that I’ve experienced trucking.”

The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the individual being featured. Experiences may vary.

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