Driver of the Year Finalist - Carolyn Phillips
In 1976, Carolyn embarked on her driving career when she started working for the local school district as a school bus driver. Her primary motivation was to have a job that allowed her to share the same schedule as her children and spend weekends together as a family. This commitment continued for seventeen years until her youngest son graduated high school. Carolyn's dedication to her family was evident in her career choice, ensuring she could be there for her loved ones.
It was in 1993 that Carolyn discovered a new passion for trucking. Once her children had completed their education, Carolyn and her husband began taking trips together in a truck. During these journeys, she gained valuable experience by driving in the vast open country, and it was at that moment that she realized that trucking was in her blood.
Carolyn and her family relocated to Dexter, New Mexico, where she resumed her role as a school bus driver. However, this chapter of her life was relatively short-lived due to a significant change. In the year 2000, Carolyn's husband faced a life-altering event when he lost one of his legs due to a blood clot. This unfortunate circumstance compelled Carolyn to become the primary breadwinner for her family. Her determination to provide for her loved ones led her to explore new career opportunities.
In the summer of 2001, Carolyn's son introduced her to the world of hauling milk for local dairies and Leprino Foods. Her journey as a truck driver began when Allen Lightfoot provided her with her first opportunity. This event marked the start of her impressive career that would span over two decades. Carolyn's expertise in the trucking industry led her to work for several prestigious companies, including Reynold's Nationwide, Lone Star, and Ruan. Her journey included years of hauling milk across Southeast New Mexico and, as of 2023, a continued role at WDT. Carolyn's commitment to safe driving, professionalism, and outstanding interactions with management and customers led her to receive the Gold Standard Driver Award in 2023.
Throughout the years, Carolyn has faced numerous challenges, including the loss of her husband, who had been a significant source of support and inspiration. His guidance and shared adventures on the road played a pivotal role in shaping Carolyn's career. Her spirit was also evident when she suffered a hip injury while working at home. In less than seven weeks, she was back behind the wheel, doing what she loved most—driving.
In addition to her impressive driving career, Carolyn Phillips has become known as a selfless and dedicated team player within Western Dairy Transport. When the cold New Mexico mornings settle in, she takes it upon herself to start the other trucks on the Roswell yard, ensuring they are warm and ready for the incoming drivers when their shifts begin. She has established strong lines of communication with dispatch, facilitating the smooth flow of operations and ensuring that dairy deliveries are on schedule. Her commitment to safety and compliance has not only provided the protection of herself and those on the road but has also contributed to a positive image for the entire profession. She sets a shining example for all truckers by embodying the values of responsibility and integrity.
As Carolyn continues to hit the road as a finalist for WDT Driver of the Year, she looks ahead to many more years of doing what she loves. Her story is a source of inspiration to all who cross her path, as she believes in making every day count and cherishing the beauty of the open road. Here's to many more years of adventure and fulfillment for Carolyn Phillips, a true road warrior.