CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — In 2013, Denise Gray left behind a career managing more than 20 salons in Florida to hit the road in a tractor-trailer as a professional driver.
Nearly six years into it now, she has logged 555,000 safe driving miles, spent time as a senior driver trainer and today holds down a dedicated lane as a solo driver – and all with Covenant Transport.
“I choose to be here because I feel like it’s my family,” Gray said. “It’s where home is.”
She isn’t alone in that regard. More than 450 female professional drivers currently call Covenant home, making up approximately 18 percent of the company’s total driver population – more than double the national average of around 8 percent.
And voters in a recent Women in Trucking poll noticed, making Covenant one of the Top 50 Companies for Women to Work in Transportation. The honor recognizes companies in the transportation and logistics industry that embody a corporate culture that is supportive of gender diversity.
The companies that made the cut were among 150 nominations judged by more than 7,000 voters on criteria such as offering competitive compensation and benefits, continued training and professional development, career advancement opportunities and being flexible to accommodate family and life balance.
“This newly created award is driven by the marketplace, and the sheer number of individuals in the industry who participated in the process is incredible,” said Brian Everett, publisher of Redefining the Road magazine.
Covenant Transport leaders called making the short list a great honor.
“From Day One, our goal has always been to treat people right,” said Sam Hough, Covenant Transport’s COO. “It’s inspiring to see so many of America’s leading transportation companies on this year’s list, meaning we’re collectively making a better industry for everybody, and we’re excited here at Covenant to be part of that.”
Covenant Transport was founded in 1986 by husband-wife business team David and Jacqueline Parker, and currently, the lone member of Covenant’s 120 Club – representing 3 million consecutive miles without a chargeable accident – is Renae Dohrer, an Iowa native with more than 25 years behind the wheel with Covenant Transport.
Covenant Transport also supports an internal group for female employees called Women of Covenant, which acts as a support function for both professional drivers and in-house staff.
Gray, who is counting down the miles until she reaches her first safe driving milestone, believes she could stay with Covenant until she retires.
“They totally empower me to do my job,” she said. “Any woman can come into this business and support herself. Covenant gave me that chance.”
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