Grassroots mobilization and galvanizing voices

Newly elected OOIDA Board Member Linda Allen is no stranger to advocacy and the work it takes to make your voice heard.

June 2019

Wendy Parker

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Linda Allen was 46 years old when she climbed into the driver’s seat of a commercial truck for the first time. Hard times during the 2006 economic recession forced both Linda and her husband out of work and into a career she never imagined or considered having.

The Workers Investment Act allowed Linda to obtain her CDL training using federal grant money. She credits her own sheer stubbornness and determination in passing her driving test after her driving instructor let her know that “women have no business behind the wheel of a truck”

Not only did Linda pass the test and get her CDL, she and her husband used the last of their retirement funds to start their own business, Hardcore Trucking out of Spring Hill, Fla., and they never looked back.

Along with the past 10 years of wheels-on-the-road experience, Linda brings a bachelor’s degree in political science and previous volunteer lobbyist work. Her time as a state legislative director at a motorcycle organization provided Allen years of experience in grassroots advocacy.

Q&A

When did you get your commercial driver’s license?

“In 2008. I utilized the WIA (Workers Investment Act) to attend truck driving school in order to earn my CDL and start driving a truck to support our family.”

What kind of freight do you specialize in?

“We log 13-15 thousand miles a month hauling Klondike bars, Ben and Jerry’s and Good Humor ice cream cross country in our 2017 KW W9 we nicknamed ‘Elvis’ and a 53-foot reefer for National Elite.”

Why did you join OOIDA?

“Less than a year into my trucking career I heard about OOIDA from a fellow truck driver while shopping for competitive insurance rates. OOIDA’s mission and purpose hit a strong chord with my background with nonprofit organizations, grassroots mobilization and legislative work. OOIDA was an organization I could believe in. I quickly realized I could trust the organization for sound advice, solid and truthful information, and help navigating through the mire of burdensome and confusing regulatory compliance all while giving me a legislative voice. Joining OOIDA was the single most important and best business decision I have ever made.”

If you could make a significant change in the industry with a snap of your fingers, what would it be?

“A year ago I would have said the electronic logging mandate in a heartbeat, but the ELD mandate simply highlighted and exposed the real culprit – inflexible and unrealistic hours of service. A one-size-fits-all, computer-designed HOS can’t tell when I am tired, when I am hungry, when I am stuck in bad weather or when I simply want to avoid Atlanta rush-hour traffic and get out and smell the flowers.

“A close second would be to change and revise new driver training requirements. I know that I was not qualified or competent to drive an 80,000-pound truck after two short weeks of truck driving school, most of which consisted of classroom hours. Every day I see new drivers on the road who don’t possess the skill, knowledge or common sense needed to maneuver a big truck down our highways. New hires fresh out of truck driving school are thrown behind the wheel to sink or swim with very little guidance and no experience.”

What legacy do you hope to leave?

“Margaret Meade said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’ I have tried to live my life by this quote and hope to leave a legacy and be remembered by my dedication and conviction to systems change through grassroots mobilization and galvanizing voices around the issues that truly matter.” LL

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Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.