Lisa Bry

By Jena Williams

With 28 years behind the wheel, Lisa Bry is no rookie truck driver, but in August, she’ll be the new kid on the block at the National Truck Driving Championship in Minneapolis where she’ll be competing for the first time.

“I am so excited,” Lisa said.

In June, Lisa competed in the 2012 Washington Trucking Association Truck Driving Championship, which includes a written test, a pre-trip inspection with 10 simulated defects drivers must find and an obstacle course.  Lisa took first place in the Straight Truck category and garnered the most points out of all 135 competitors to be named the competition’s Grand Champion.

“I am just stoked,” Lisa said. “The grand champion, that was a total surprise for me. It was icing on the cake for me.”

Lisa, who grew up near Boston, was still in her teens when she learned to drive a big rig back when there were even fewer female truck drivers than there are now. According to Department of Labor statistics, women made up just 4.6 percent of the truck driving industry in 2010.

“I kind of grew up driving things. I had a dirt bike, I rode horses. When I got out of high school, I told my mom, I think I want to drive trucks,” she said. “I just love trucks.”

These days, she hauls freight for Boeing, shuttling between the Renton and Seattle facilities.

“It’s a dream job,” Lisa said.

For a time, Lisa was a truck driving instructor and she shared with her students some advice she got from one of her instructors.

“He used to tell us, ‘The day you think you know everything, is the day you’re going to crash and burn.’

That always stuck with me,” she said. “You have to trust your gut, never stop learning, and always be just as safe as you can.”

We’ll be rooting for Lisa as she competes in Minneapolis next month and we’ll be sure to post the results here.