Gina Vargo – Truckismo
BURNS HARBOR, IN…. Gina Vargo started right into heavy haul when she began her trucking career twenty-nine years ago. She has pulled multi-axle, stretch trailers, RGNs, as well as general deck open trailers. She has also run walking floors, dump buckets, and roll-offs. Gina has been an owner-operator for the past 27 years, and in that time has owned 8 trucks. Her favorite, and hopefully last truck is her current rig – a two-tone 2004 Kenworth W900 4-axle with a custom built 850 horsepower CAT, which of course is also purple. The 335-inch wheelbase includes a 20,000 pound lift axle, 2-speed 3.90/5.32 46,000 pound Eaton rears with a Weller 18-speed transmission. Being “ole school”, Gina added modified and of course polished tool boxes and a huge headache rack. Showing that night shine, she has over 200 clear LED chicken lights, and the latest LED headlight assemblies. Her favorite “dress ups” are the purple powder coated fuel tanks, air cleaner straps and valve covers, and her bullhorn themed, specially made purple and black bug screen and tank end covers.
Gina named her company GMR Heavy haul, LLC, which stands for Gina, Matthew and Rachel, her two children. She feels that they have a vested interest in her company and her success. They have spent their entire lives “putting up” with her job. As young children, they spent too many long days and nights in the shop chasing tools, riding shotgun with her, or having their “nontypical” Mom pull up to school functions in her rig covered in dirt and grease. They were always supportive. Now as they are grown, they are still very involved and always jump when Mom needs help loading or tarping, delivering parts, or giving her a ride home when the old Kenworth decides to break down. Gina now has her first grandbaby, Peyton Lee, who is 9 months old. Grandma can’t wait to take her granddaughter for her first semi-truck ride!
Miss Dixie Bell, Gina’s almost 10-year old Blue Brindle Pit Pull, has been in the purple Kenworth since she was 6 weeks old. Gina says that Miss Dixie Bell is her “protector and companion.”
Gina was introduced to the owner of a very small, newly founded “heavy haul” company shortly out of high school. He saw something in her, and against everything truck was about in the 1990s, he gave her a shot. She fell in love with the challenge and “heavy haul” became her passion.
Over the years, Gina became acquainted with Tim Norfleet, another heavy-haul trucker. Tim always spoke highly of Burns Harbor, Indiana based Trans-United, so when things changed at the company she was leased to, Gina decided to lease on to Trans-United. She has been with Trans-United for a year now and is loving it.
“I have always liked small companies and at Trans-United, I am a name and not a number. They are family-oriented, and I feel like I am part of the team. I was looking for a home and now I have found one at Trans-United. It is a good place for me.” She still sees Tim occasionally as he now runs the maintenance shop for Trans-United in Burns Harbor.
“I love heavy haul,” states Gina. “It is a totally different way of trucking. I enjoy the challenge and the people that I meet. I started doing super loads before women were involved in specialized trucking and it made me who I am!” Gina runs from the Dakotas and Texas East primarily but will go anywhere the big loads take her. She is making a very good living while logging 50,000 to 60,000 miles per year. The home time changes with the loads, but she gets to go home anytime she wants, and she doesn’t mind load securement and tarping. Gina has always been proud to be a woman working in what used to be a man’s world and she had this advice to other lady truckers: “If I can do super loads, anyone can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”
Trans-United is a specialized hauler that operates flatbed, stepdeck, RGN, Conestoga, and Stretch Trailers. Trans-United is currently hiring/leasing company drivers and owner-operators with Class A CDLs. Drivers are needed for all positions, including Dry Van, Flatbed, Specialized, and Super Loads. Pull Dry Van and train to do Flatbed to advance your career. Flatbed drivers are welcome and Trans-United will train you to advance to Specialized and Super Loads if you like. For more information, call 877-384-3312.
See Trans-United at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree in July and GBATS in Joplin, Missouri in September.