Million Mile Mama - Wendy Hoggard
By Heather Hogeland
This month our ‘Million Mile Mama’ is a lady who runs single, who has run single her entire career in fact. Wendy Hoggard has been a driver for 19 years; the last 17 of which have all been with Estes Express out of Richmond, VA.
Wendy is a ‘line-haul’ or ‘meet’ driver meaning she leaves out of her terminal every night in Marietta, Ga. and heads east, through Atlanta, to Duncan, South Carolina. There she meets up with another Estes driver and they drop, switch and hook sets, then head back to their respective terminals.
Doing this kind of running it takes much longer than usual to reach a million miles but reach it she did, in fact she has thus far accumulated 1.5 million SAFE miles with her carrier. Estes presented her with a million mile safe driving award about 5 years ago. That is quite a feat considering she has to run right through Atlanta 5 nights a week, TWICE!
When Wendy was 22 and working as a secretary she quickly found that her salary was not sufficient to support herself or her young son, Travis. She told me that while she was driving one day she heard a commercial on the radio for a truck driving school and thought, hmmm, I could do that! Her Dad and many of her male family members were truck drivers already so it didn’t seem beyond her reach. As she said, when you are 22 you think you can do anything!!!
She enrolled in the school and a few weeks later got her first job driving. That entry-level job didn’t pay much but she stuck with it to gain experience and when she was hired on at Estes a year and a half later she took that job and never looked back. She and Johnny married not too long after she began working there but they each continued running solo as their schedules of running all night 5 nights a week afforded them the opportunity to have a ‘normal’ home life.
Since she was a mother, Wendy had made the decision to only work where she could be home every day for with her kids. Trevor, their younger son, was born a few years later and with her mother’s help she was able to continue her career driving at night and being wife and mother during the day. She drove through 8 months of her pregnancy and returned to the road when Trevor was about 3 months old. Wendy told me that one of the very best things about her job has been the fact that she has never missed a single event in either of their sons’ lives. Her schedule has been key to accomplishing that.
She loves the independence that goes along with her job, the knowing that she is not only capable, but able to support her family on her own if need be. In the meantime the fact that she and Johnny both drive full time (for different carriers) allows them to take fantastic vacations as a family and to give their sons their time and attention. Wendy’s mother lives next door and has allowed her daughter the freedom to work nights without having to worry about her boys; she said she never would have been able to do it without her!
Both their boys, as well as their Dad, think their mom is pretty cool and are very proud of her and her abilities. Wendy is a member of Women In Trucking and hopefully will be able to join us in Louisville next year for the annual ‘Salute To Women Behind The Wheel’.
Blessings to you!