Million Mile Mama - Sonya Randle-Wise
I had the pleasure of meeting Sonya Randle–Wise at the Mid America Truck Show last year during the Women In Trucking event. She was there along with her husband Jim to receive an award from the association for over a million safe miles achieved thus far in her career. My dear friend, Kim Grimm introduced me to this remarkable woman.
Sonya has been trucking practically her whole life. She is the 6th of 7 children born to her parents, 5 of whom are girls, yet she was the first daughter to express an interest in the family business. She was always a tomboy so it didn’t surprise anyone when she became the first to learn to drive the big trucks.
Sonya’s mother, the first Sonya, taught her daughter how to drive along with many other things. She was a business genius according to her namesake, and taught her girls how to tie down loads properly in order to avoid the extreme costs of damaging freight. She showed them how to use a breaker bar and a 4’ cheater pipe to secure the DOD loads they hauled. Sonya says that with those tools, she could do anything!
The first Sonya had begun driving herself years earlier in order to cut costs and she came up with the idea of running ‘round robins’ with their drivers in order to do the job yet still be at home with her children during the day. (A ‘round robin’ is what we today would call a ‘meet’ or ‘turn around’, where one driver leaves from the north at about the same time one leaves from the south and they meet in the middle, drop their trailers and switch with one another, then head back to their original location with the other drivers load.) Since they primarily ran intra state this worked out well, creating the ability to be home every day while getting the job done. As Sonya and her sisters got older and became mothers themselves, this type of running became their way of doing the same, being able to be at home every day with their kids. The sisters would cover one another as mama duties dictated.
Sonya (the second) pulled those government loads on flatbed trailers, doing all her own securing using the methods her mom had taught her. It’s truly amazing to think about that since it is such heavy physical work and Sonya is maybe a hundred ten pounds dripping wet!
Sonya earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business/marketing while driving and did take off for 3 years following the corporate path but never gave up dispatching and writing contracts etc., for the family business. She and her siblings would step up and drive trucks whenever needed just keeping their skills honed. Today Sonya and Jim run their own trucks under the company name “Anchor Transfer Service” which is a derivative of their old family business name “Anchor Transportation”. Sonya’s truck is a 2001 Peterbilt 379 equipped with a 36” sleeper. She usually pulls an end dump but does switch with Jim occasionally pulling his transfer.
They have 3 children, all teenagers today. Matthew, 19 and ‘Mimi’ (Sonya the 3rd) do all the books for the company, following in their mothers’ footsteps and both know how to drive the big rigs already. Amy, the youngest daughter will surely fall into the family tradition. It is truly a family dynasty.
Congratulations to Sonya for her achievements, which include driving more than a million miles safely. Quite a feat considering most of her running has been within California! (As a former fellow California driver I understand just how difficult it is to do all those miles within the state, let alone do it safely!) I am sure Sonya the 1st is extremely proud of her daughter today, watching over her from heaven. I know Sonya the 2nd is proud to be living the legacy her mother left behind, blazing the path for many who had doubted a woman’s ability to perform certain aspects of the job.