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Breaking Stereotypes: Jill of All Trades
At CHET and Musket, we are passionate about raising awareness about the many career opportunities in transportation. There is a great benefit to starting your entry into the industry through an AZ training program such as ours. Holding an AZ license opens a lot of doors and it can connect you to operating other heavy machinery and/or starting your own company. Some commercial drivers go on to become owner operators or in Brandi H’s case, owning her own business Forward Motion Maintenance.
Brandi is a part of the Musket Group of Companies as a vendor and usually can be found working at our Container Terminal at 556 Southdown Rd., Mississauga. Like many people in transportation, she was exposed to the industry through a family member. As a WEPs signatory we find it important to share interviews like the one we have with Brandi to help break the stereotypes associated with this line of work. Our goal is to help attract and educate individuals that do not have a personal connection to the industry.
Thank you, Brandi, for participating in our interview and allowing us to shadow you on a typical work day at Musket Transport. Brandi has always leant a helping hand to the marketing department when it has come to cleaning and operating heavy equipment for our shoots.
Before entering the trucking industry, were you involved in any other professions?
Not really, I was young so it was mostly general labor. Cleaning a courthouse and working in an apple sorting and packaging facility.
What initially attracted you to the transportation industry?
My Dad. He drove a truck all of my life. The highlight of my life was the vacations I would get during the school year like March break and the summer. He would take me with him. First locally then as the years went on, weekly trips state side.
How long have you been working in the industry?
15 years.
Over the last 15 years in transportation what were your roles?
I started out as a regional driver running local due to my age. I was not allowed to cross the border in a commercial vehicle until I turned 21. When I did turn 21 I started running stateside. When I started at Musket I was hired as a shunter. I shunted and delivered loads that had no drivers. I helped rolling up cords and shifting reefers. I trained and supervised new students who had just graduated from CHET. When I moved yards within Musket, I became a Jill of All Trades . I shunted, washed boxes, learned how to run a backhoe, front loader, and grader. At that point I had only ran an international harvester farm tractor not heavy equipment. Now I mainly wash boxes and equipment but I help out where I can.
What kinds of licenses do you hold?
I have an ACZ. So, truck, anything with airbrakes and C is the coach bus.
Describe your role and key responsibilities.
To safely and efficiently deliver goods. Maintaining and reporting any issues with equipment. Being courteous and careful to follow instructions when setting foot on customer properties, especially if you have never been there before.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the fact that you are entrusted with an expensive piece of machinery, load, and then cut lose to go deliver it. I like the independence.
What were the greatest challenges you faced?
I’m small. Sometimes physically I was challenged. Sometimes dealing with equipment that large takes either strength or pure determination
What 3 qualities do you think make someone well suited to a career in transportation?
1) Likes to be on the move and not a homebody.
2) Have high stamina, there are plenty of long days, and running long haul they back to back.
3) An eye for detail. Even a pre-trip requires anything out of place to be seen. The logbook and paperwork must be right.
What is the greatest misconception that people have about the trucking industry?
I think people have the misconception that it takes no skill. They think you go to school and bam, you’re good at it. No, it takes years of practice, and trial and error, just like any other skills trade.
As a vendor for musket you successfully started your own company. Can you share more about how you made that transition?

I was just coming off running the highway and needed work. It was managements idea to start by own business. It was fairly easy because I was back in the yard with people I knew.  Anthony Dyal helped me get my paperwork started by helping me out with invoices. From then on I didn’t punch a clock I just keep track of the work and submit it.

Do you have any advice for women considering a career in transportation?                                                                       

If you want it, you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t! There is nothing to say that once your experienced  you can’t be one of the best there is just because of the fact your a woman. It’s a trade and it does take practice. The more you do the better you will get! And don’t be scared to ask questions or for help. Better to ask what might seem like a silly question then look silly later on when your in trouble! The rumor is true, this industry is predominately worked in by men. You need to take into consideration the atmosphere around you is going to require you to have a bit tougher skin than most. Just be nice, try hard and anything is possible!!

(Brandi at the wheel , Southdown Terminal)
In her interview, Brandi sheds light on how even females who are small in stature are capable of doing the job. A commercial truck driver or heavy equipment operator is more of a lifestyle choice. One where you enjoy being on the road as well as that level of trust and responsibility assigned to an individual in this occupation. Even though truck drivers are not currently recognized as a skilled trade on a federal level, it very much requires skill and years of practice to become a professional.

(Brandi Operating CAT )

Our advice to those who may be entertaining the idea of joining the transportation industry or pursuing a second career, consider an AZ license. Always take advantage of any additional training opportunities your employer offers. At Musket, there are many types of equipment to haul and different divisions to serve. The more training you take on and the more equipment you learn to handle, the more valuable your skills become. There will always be a wealth of working opportunities.

(Brandi Pressure washing containers)