|Lorrie Grant, Manadging Editor Transport Topics, Lisa Mullings, President & CEO NATSO, Linda Caffee O/O, Ellen Voie, President & CEO Women in Trucking
An email was discovered in my inbox that was sent from one of the ladies that works for the Saint Christopher’s fund saying that I was a person of interest. Tara McClelland, executive producer, LiveOnWeb Transport Topics, would like to interview me to see if I could be included on this live panel along with Ellen Voie, president of Women in Trucking, Lisa Mullings, president of NATSO, and Stephanie Klang, driver for Con-Way Truckload. Well I was accepted and now plans were underway to get this country girl to the city!
First problem was that most of the hotels were booked for that night and I finally had to settle on one that was near the airport and take a cab to the ATA Transport Topic Offices along with Ellen who was staying at the same hotel. Next I started my search for a round-trip flight out of Saint Louis.
I really enjoy flying and that to me is part of the adventure of getting to participate in this cool stuff. When I started looking at flights my first consideration was price and time. I knew I needed to be there early enough to get settled into my room and that I needed a flight that left late enough that I did not have to panic getting to the airport.
The perfect flights were found to satisfy price, time, and the adventure of seeing different airports! On my way out I flew from Saint Louis to Midway in Chicago, a new airport for me, and then on to Reagan National Airport also a new airport for me and then on the way back leaving from Reagan going to Love Field Airport in Dallas also a new airport for me and arriving back at the Saint Louis Airport near midnight. The flights ended up being really fun, met some cool people, and also got a lot of cross stitch done, and checked of a few more airports I have been to.
Once I arrived at Reagan National I caught a shuttle to my hotel and found out my reservation had been canceled and they were overbooked. If I was a crying person I would have broke down right then knowing the trouble I had finding this hotel. The hotel operator immediately started looking for another hotel and I also started looking on line and everything was showing booked except for one that was a few blocks from the White House. When I called the Morrison Clark Inn I was very skeptical and the person that answered the phone did not make it much better but I booked it. Caught a cab over to the historic Morrison Clark Inn, on the way I was able to see the Capital and the cab driver pointed out some of the sites along our route, once we reached the hotel neither of us could figure out where the front door was located. The cab driver stopped the meter, I paid up, and then he told me I am not leaving you here till we find the front door and you are safely inside. He walked with me as we tried doors of the old part of the hotel and then realized that they had made a new entrance in the new part of the hotel and once we found this my cab driver waved good by and he was off to find another passenger. What a wonderful surprise this hotel was! They have been remodeling and combining two buildings, a new one and the old one, and I was given a choice of either a Victorian room or in the new section and I chose the Victorian room. I found that my almost break down of having my room canceled at my first choice of hotels was actually great as for the same price I was able to get a very cool room and see some more of the city.
The next day a cab took me over to the offices and we went right by the Pentagon and wow is that building HUGE. I know in pictures it is huge but in person it doubled in size. My cab driver dropped me off at the front of the building with no troubles. With both cabs I had my address in my phone and both of them took an even shorter route to avoid traffic and neither of them used a GPS. I was in awe of both drivers and their ability to navigate the cities and the information they shared about what we were seeing and some of the history.
I met up with Ellen for breakfast and helped her navigate around as she has been using crutches after a nasty break of her ankle and many many pins putting it back together. Ellen's mentorship and guidance has been very helpful to me over the years and she has taught me much about speaking in front of audiences or on panels like this.
Lisa Mullings came in just after we arrived and she is a very interesting person and has done a lot of neat things. In no time at all the staff had us at our respective seats, our microphones were clipped on, sound checked, and we had some time to chat and get comfortable with Laurie Grant, Transport Topics Managing Editor and moderator for this panel. Lorrie was great to work with and she kept everything moving and interesting. I will admit that when Lorrie started the show and was giving our backgrounds my nerves kicked in and I just knew my lips were going to start quivering.... I was remembering that my profession is a truck driver not public speaker but then I calmed down reminding myself that we were going to talk about one of my favorite subjects "TRUCKS"
Before I knew it an hour and almost 15 minutes had passed and we were shutting down. Laurie, Lisa, and Ellen made this an absolute blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Those ladies were very interesting and have a great sense of humor. I hope you will take the time to watch the panel discussion.
After the panel we had a nice lunch and visited some more with everyone. Really I think we could have done another show after the lunch when we learned even more of each other’s histories. Ellen and I were then off to the airport to head back to our respective homes. My flight into Dallas Love Field corresponded with Tropical Storm Bill so we had some turbulence landing and taking off but nothing to exciting and we were on time.
What an exciting two days and I was really pleased when we took a short load the next day and we did not have to drive all night. My motto is to enjoy every minute that is presented, I enjoyed my flights, I enjoyed my hotel, I enjoyed my cab rides, being involved on that panels was something I will not forget soon, and after all of that it was nice to drive home from the airport and reflect back on this great adventure.