Life On The Job

Life on the Job

TRUCK DRIVER: Heather Jones

Portrait
Director:  Success Transport Pty Ltd, March 2004 - present
Co-Founder of Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls

Introduction

As the 2nd eldest of nine children, including five adopted children, Heather’s upbringing taught her that helping others was of paramount importance. To this day she is always thinking about
improvements that can be made to make people’s lives a whole lot better, especially in her chosen career as a truck driver.

Growing up, to her mother’s horror, Heather was a tomboy and wanted to be treated the same way as the boys. She started her working life as a legal secretary but found that sitting in an office wasn’t making her happy. This is when she sought out and initiated her trucking career.

Starting out working in mining as a PA she got to know the industry and was open to opportunities. She was offered a driver position in a 100 tonne dump truck. Heather was
ecstatic; this is just what she had been looking for!

A couple of years later Heather met her husband who also worked in the mining industry and they proceeded to have two girls. Unfortunately Heather found herself as a single mum by the time the children were 3 & 4, as well as having the responsibility of a large debt from her relationship, so she needed to find a way to earn more money. Luckily she was offered a driving job where she could take along her children, so for the next 7 years Heather and her two girls lived on the road, with the girls being ‘home-schooled’ in the truck.  (Source: Xplore)

Heather Jones
Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls Co-Founder Heather Jones.

Education: South Hedland Primary School. Newton Moore Senior High School, Perth.

Heather Jones receiving from Volvo chief
In May 2016, Volvo Group Australia President, Peter Voorhoeve, presented a 700hp Volvo FH16 and 685hp Mack Super-Liner to support Heather Jones on her quest to bring female drivers into the trucking industry.
(Source:
Primemovers)

Experience & Opportunities

Heather started her own business in 2004, with her two girls. They gained transport industry awards and had drivers lining up to work for them. Her requisite for any driver was that they were trained properly and were professional when they were out on the road.

By 2009 Heather’s company had 2 yards with 23 trucks and 6 pilot vehicles, business had been doing well, but when her 6th client in a row failed to pay she felt the force of the Global Financial Crisis. Unfortunately it meant that Heather was left with a very large debt and the company had to be dismantled in order for her to pay this debt.

She managed to keep 1 truck and 2 pilot vehicles and went back to driving herself, working 13 hours a day, 7 days a week!

Heather’s resilience is extraordinary. She has faced some daunting setbacks in her life but has always been resolute that she can and will survive anything. Despite her personal losses Heather continues to give back to her community, whether it be in the form of her time or her expertise. She is on 2 boards and continues to push the education and training agenda in the transport industry. (Source: Xplore)

Achievements

A finalist of the 2010 Australian Transport Woman of the Year, Jones loves to be behind the wheel of her road-train truck, stretching 50 metres long, and is undeterred when it comes to lying under the truck to fix a fanbelt or change the 81 kilogram flat tyre. Her daughters, Kersti, 22 [2010], and Chelsea, 21 [2010] take care of the administration and finances when she is on the road. (Source: SMH)

Jones is also on the board of various committees, striving to bring positive change in the industry, including promoting road safety, improving rest and recreation facilities for drivers, educating motorists to safely share the road with trucks and fighting to protect the rights and image of truck drivers.

“We have been successful in getting the Western Australia Owner Drivers' Act passed, which is helping owner drivers get their money from defaulting companies. This has been a fantastic step forward for owner-drivers like me,” she says.

But success has not come on a platter; a life on the road is fraught with risks and entails enduring harsh conditions - the 50 degree heat, the ochre dust that clings to your skin and hair, black flies, bugs and mosquitoes.

Despite the trials and tribulations, for Jones the joy of driving in solitude and the freedom this job offers is unparalleled. (Source: SMH)


Awards: Telstra WA Westpac Business Owner; WA Transport Woman 2005; WA Transport Woman 2007

Did You Know?

Heather won the national Australian Trucking Association [ATA] Award for Most Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Transport Industry in 2015

Heather

(Source: Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls)

There are about 558,000 heavy-vehicle licence holders in Australia, and of those roughly 5 per cent are women.

Up in the Pilbara, it is estimated that as many as 15 per cent are female, and many of those were trained by Jones in her Scania truck. Nearly single- handedly, Jones is dragging trucking into the 21st century.

For more than 20 years, she has been lobbying against dangerous driving, sweet-talking companies into hiring newly trained female drivers, and visiting schools to educate children about trucking
.

Road Warriors
Road warriors: (From left) Rosalie Hann, Heather Jones and Rachael Williss of the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls.
Photo: Tony McDonough


  

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