“It’s about performance, taking pride in what you do, and family,” she says. “When you drive a truck, you’re not just an individual in a commercial vehicle driving down the road. You’re a part of a family of drivers. Not only do you have to watch out for yourself, but you also have to watch out for them, too. If you see someone who needs help, you stop and help them.”
Sheila describes herself as “baffled” over winning the Woman Driver of Excellence Award for Bennett Motor Express (BME). “I do what I do because I love it,” she says. “It feels like I am just doing my thing and then someone hands me an award. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very proud of it!”
Known for her professionalism, and her impeccable driving and safety record, Sheila is described by BME Fleet Manager Harold Griffith as having a can-do attitude. “There is never a job too big or too small for Sheila,” he says. “When she says she is going to do something, she gets it done. She is a credit to all truck drivers.”
Sheila started out driving a dry van before switching to flatbed, which she describes as her “greatest challenge”. She maintains a clean vehicle, has no CSA points, and is never late for a pick-up or delivery. With aspirations to grow her business, Sheila has two trucks. One of them is paid off and ready to lease. Sheila is also earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.
In addition to trucking, Sheila would like to investigate other business ventures as well. While she loves the adventure of starting a business and the challenge of determining the best ways to make a profit, she wants to use her earnings to help other people.
“I want to put my degree to use so that I’m not the only one that profits,” she says. “I had the kind of life where I had little help, and I know what that’s like. If I see someone else struggling the way I did, I would truly like to be in the financial position to give them a hand up.”
As she is on the road so much, Sheila doesn’t have a lot of time to volunteer in her community, but she financially supports her local historical society. Last year, she won the bid to purchase a historical artifact and then donated it to a historical society. She also promotes historical society events by posting on Facebook.
Passionate about history, Sheila loves reading old newspapers that date back to the 19th century. “It’s fascinating to read the things they posted,” she says. “What you’ll find in history is that what’s happened before is happening again. If you don’t understand where you were, you’ll never have a grip or understand where you’re going.”
Throughout her career as a truck driver, Sheila also managed to raise her son, Nick, as a single mother. He is now 20 years old and has a black belt in karate.