We’re All In This Together

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The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) has announced Roberta McKenna as its February 2022 Member of the Month.  She is a professional driver for Clean Harbors National Transportation.  Roberta is one of the few women in the company who hauls loads of hazardous material across the country.  It’s no easy feat, but this is her happy place.  Much like the roads she traverses daily, her journey to a successful career as a female driver was not without bumps, but now that she’s found her way to Clean Harbors, she is happy to say, it feels like home.  Growing up in Malaga, Ohio, Roberta spent much of her childhood on her family’s farm.  At an early age, she operated tractors, bulldozers, and trucks to assist with the farm.  It was then that she fell in love with driving.  It wasn’t until Roberta was in her mid-20s that she would encounter the harsh stereotypes and challenges of being a woman in the industry.  As a single mother, Roberta saw trucking as a means to support her family.  After earning her CDL at the age of 28, she began driving dump trucks for a paving and construction company in Maryland.  The company consisted mostly of women, and with the comradery and support from her female coworkers, Roberta fell even more in love with making driving a lifelong career.  In 1985, Roberta began driving for a new company, but unlike the paving job, Roberta often experienced discrimination.  Every day, Roberta’s male counterparts taunted her and made derogatory comments.  Unwilling to put up with disrespect, Roberta changed jobs, this time landing at a major manufacturer.  Conditions, however, did not improve.  She continued to struggle with gaining the respect of her male coworkers.  Fueled by the desire to provide her son with the best possible life, she powered on, speaking up when her male coworkers made discriminatory remarks, and demanding a fair work schedule.  Her efforts didn’t always result in change, but she could be proud of herself for demanding the respect she deserved.  Then, in 2013, Roberta landed a new role with Clean Harbors, which recognized her talents and celebrated her as a woman making strides in a male-dominated field.  With more than 36 years in the transportation industry, eight of which have been at Clean Harbors, Roberta feels that much of her experiences have made her who she is today – strong, powerful, and determined.  She has helped pave the way for future female drivers and will continue to advocate for those, no matter their gender, who want to make a career out of driving.  “Be yourself, love yourself and the skin you are in,” she advises other female drivers.  “Make the day what you want of it and never give up.  We are all in this together, and together we are stronger!”  Women In Trucking, Inc. is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.  Follow WIT on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.  For more information, visit www.womenintrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.

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