CHICAGO — President Joe Biden’s Trucking Action Plan is designed to create a more sustainable supply chain that has been the source of national shortages and surging prices on various consumer goods.
The plan aims to get more women and veteran’s into good-paying jobs. For Lola Thomas-Albright, she is an example put forth by the White House.
“I was a nurse. I did hospice for about 10 years but I always wanted to be a truck driver,” Thomas-Albright said. “My husband agreed that once our children graduated from high school, I could go into trucking.”
After driving a school bus for five years, Thomas-Albright says she took a job for a trucking company in Hudson, Illinois, driving a big rig. She’s been operating behind the big rig wheel ever since.
“OTR is over-the-road driving. I did that for two and a half years. I just switched to regional but I still do a lot of over-the-road driving,” Thomas-Albright said.
Joining Thomas-Albright for a Zoom interview with WGN News Monday was her granddaughter Lola Ann. When the dangers of the coronavirus surfaced and Lola Ann’s mother couldn’t leave her job, the 8-year-old decided to tag along with her grandmother.
“So I took Lola Ann over the road with me and she was able to do e-learning from the truck,” Thomas-Albright said. “She went to 31 states and that was incredible.”
At a Monday press conference, the pair joined President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
“If you enjoyed the food you ate for breakfast, the clothes you are wearing right now, or the device you might be using to watch this event, you can thank a truck driver for getting that to you,” Buttigieg said.
For grandmother and granddaughter, being on hand for a White House press conference wasn’t their only highlight of the day.
“It has been phenomenal. My granddaughter was able to sit at Vice President [Kamala] Harris’ desk,” Thomas-Albright said. “We took lots of pictures. We’ve met incredible people. It’s just been a dream.”
Thomas-Albright’s advice to any veteran and/or woman interested in trucking is to find a company that matches their needs. Another piece of advice: don’t settle.
More Popular Stories on WGNTV.com:
High on her list, Thomas-Albright says, was safety.
“In some places, there’s not a lot of parking and lighting. So dealing with a company that is willing to pay for reserve parking,” Thomas-Albright said. “My company pays for our reserve parking, so if get somewhere and the light is not the greatest but they have parking in the front, I could use the company’s credit card and pay for parking.”
Thomas-Albright and her husband share six children and 12 grandchildren. Lola Ann now has memories to last a lifetime.
“I remember when we went to Montana,” Lola Ann says, “we got some ice cream.”