Gloria Tapia is a Truck Driver for Texas Materials. Here we talk to her about what got her into this business and what she loves about it.
What drew you to a career in construction? I was always interested in becoming a truck driver ever since I was a kid. We’d be in the school bus and I’d see truckers driving by and they’d honk their horn for us. I remember thinking, ‘One day, I’m going to become a truck driver.’ Now, one of my favorite parts of my job is honking my horn for the little kids I see on the school bus. It’s a great feeling.
How did you get started doing this work? I started out building engines for Caterpillar, so I’ve always had an interest in building and operating equipment. Then a few years ago, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a truck driver. I went to driving school and after I graduated, I started out as an Over the Road driver. My routes took me all over the country and I learned how to drive in all kinds of conditions. Once, I even delivered a trailer full of water as part of FEMA’s emergency hurricane response efforts in Florida. I loved the work, but I missed being home and seeing friends and family. So when a friend of mine told me about Texas Materials, it was a perfect opportunity to do what I loved while being able to work close to home.
What is a typical day like for you? Every morning first thing, I do my pre-trip inspection to check my truck and make sure everything is ready to go. I pay close attention to the air pressure in the tires, check all the fluids – radiator, oil, windshield washers. The washer fluid and blades are especially important because it gets dirty out there when we’re hauling these materials, so we have to make sure our visibility is clear. All of this is extremely important so that we can be safe when we’re out on the road.
From there, we’re assigned a plant to work out of for the day and we haul all types of materials to jobs throughout the city.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I love this job. Every day is a new adventure, never the same thing twice. One day we might be hauling hot mix asphalt, another day it’s sand or gravel, and there’s a new job site to deliver to every day. One day we might deliver asphalt to a Bass Pro Shop that’s being built, and the next it could be for a school, or even a highway. Every day is a new challenge, and I never get bored.
Any advice for women considering a career in this industry? Don’t let anyone tell you that trucking or any other career you want to do is a man’s job. You can do it yourself, I promise. I’m a trucker – I’m living proof of what you can do if you don’t give up on your dream, if you don’t worry about all the ‘what ifs’ in the back of your mind. How do you know what you can do if you don’t try?
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