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Freedom to Be the Best She Can

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Mikki BurnsThe freedom of the road is what lured Mikki Burns to truck driving. A local driver with Gardner Trucking in Phoenix, Mikki especially enjoys the quiet of early mornings on the road.

One of Mikki’s favorite morning routes is the three-hour drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas. At that time of day, there’s not much traffic, and she may be the only driver for miles. “I like the freedom where I can be by myself in the truck,” she said.

Mikki started at Gardner’s Pacific Northwest location. She drove a truck in that region for five years before moving down to Phoenix three years ago. She’s devoted to safety.

“Safety is No. 1. I get home knowing I did my job safely,” she said.

Love of Trucking Started in Childhood

Mikki grew up in logging country in Washington state. Her father was a truck logger, and she would ride in the truck with him every chance she had as a kid.

She was a front-seat witness to her father’s work ethic. She describes him as a man who was determined to do his job safely and would regularly inspect and maintain his equipment. He was a devoted family man whose goal was to get home safely to his family each evening, Mikki said.

Those safety traits are ingrained in Mikki, too, and her colleagues can see that she brings them to her trucking career. “It isn’t often a driver rises up in promoting the safety consciousness of the entire terminal,” said Troy D. Agema, safety, compliance and recruiting manager for Gardner. “Thank you, Mikki, for being the best at what you do and for the reasons you do it.”

She wasn’t always a truck driver, though. Mikki tried a few different careers, but the experiences she had as a child with her dad remained with her. She obtained her CDL in 2005.

Challenged for the Better

As a professional truck driver, Mikki embraces the daily challenges of her career. Her work ethic and determination help her get the job done.

In a male-dominated industry, she said she was judged a lot in the early days. She felt like she couldn’t make a mistake. “I felt like I had to do everything right.”

Striving for perfection helped Mikki to become a better driver, she said.

And these days, people are more accepting of women in the trucking industry. She encourages other women to consider it as a career.

Her advice to women considering truck driving? Take it slow, never stop learning and don’t get discouraged.

Mikki is a role model for other women drivers and for her three children.

She tells them: “Be whatever you want to be. Set a goal, reach for it and keep on going.”