Nikki Weaver_Industry Influencers


Nikki Weaver takes the road by storm to spread the positive word about the trucking industry and the importance of safety.

Nikki Weaver, a professional driver for FedEx Freight, has made headlines in 2021 as she became the Women in Trucking Association’s 2021 Driver of the Year. But her start in trucking began while she was in college.

“In college, I was feeling antsy, like I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be,” Weaver explained. “I was paying for school myself, and the thought of getting more into student debt made me feel like I wasn’t going in the direction I was supposed to be. So when a friend had suggested to me that I should consider getting into driving a truck, I realized I had never thought of that before. I always loved driving, but I didn’t know at the time that driving a big rig is something that women did.”

Throughout her time in the industry, Weaver's been on a mission to show trucking’s true colors: a positive community that possesses a wealth of opportunities.

“I felt inclined to have a more visible role as a driver because I felt like drivers aren't necessarily well understood,” Weaver said. “I felt inspired to try to explain to people a little bit about what we do, who we are, and what our lives are like in and out of the cab. To put a human behind the wheel.”

In 2019, Weaver was named an America's Road Team Captain. Through that position, she’s done a variety of advocacy work on behalf of the industry.

“Over the years, I've done events for organizations such as Share the Road and Truckers Against Trafficking,” Weaver said. “I've spoken to college students, commercial driver’s license (CDL) graduates, and also worked with the Pennsylvania State Police talking to their new cadets. That's a really fun experience. I've been in the Harrisburg holiday parade with the FedEx Cares team and traveled to different trucking shows, just to continue promoting the industry.”

The reaction to all of these speaking engagements? “It's always overwhelmingly positive,” Weaver explained. “It's rewarding for me because speaking to these young people, you can see a kind of sparkle in their eyes; they're warm, curious, and excited about a topic they might not feel very familiar with yet. It's fun to get them familiarized with the industry, and the cadets always seem very impressed with the level of professionalism that we bring to our job.”

With more than two million accident-free miles and zero moving violations, Weaver’s dedication to safety is prevalent in all aspects of her life.

“While safety is absolutely the most important aspect of my job, it's not just when I'm on the road itself,” Weaver explained. “It starts before I end up at work. It’s having a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep, eating the right foods, keeping my body and my mind in a place where I can perform the job adequately. Things happen very quickly on the road, and when mistakes are made, it’s important to know exactly what to do.”

According to Weaver, one of the most important aspects of safety is pre- and post tripping equipment.

“Pre- and post-tripping is a prime example of how safety isn't just driving safe in trucking,” Weaver stated. “As professional drivers, we are not just looking out for ourselves, we're looking out for everyone around us on the road.”

With all of the attention Weaver has received over the last three years, her 11-year-old son is starting to see her as a celebrity in the trucking industry.

“When my son was younger, I don’t think he had much awareness about my job,” Weaver noted. “But now, he thinks that what I do is awesome. I keep having to remind him that I’m not a celebrity, I’m a truck driver.”

When Weaver is on the road, speaking to industry hopefuls, her biggest advice is to do tons and tons of research.

“Do the research and figure out where they would like their career to take them,” Weaver said. “Learn the basics of the job, acquire your CDL, find out what skills you need to do the job you want to do. There are an overwhelming amount of opportunities in the industry, so it’s important to gain those skills and start building your resume."

“There are opportunities for everyone,” Weaver concluded. “You can live on the road and take the ultimate adventure, not knowing what city you’re going to be in. Or you can do something dedicated, or something regional, or something local and be home with your family every night. Or if you have the entrepreneurial drive and want to become an owner-operator, you can be your own boss. Do the research and pick your path.”

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  • Transportation Safety