Local Woman Wins National Award for Big Rig Safety
Brown One of Only 14 Nationwide
Ingrid Brown of Zionville remembers when she was five years old she used to sleep on the armrest of her father’s motor grader while he was pushing snow. Even then, she just knew she’d always work in trucking and construction.
That early intuition has not only become a reality, but recently she received a national award for her work with big rigs, as only one of 14 female truckers nationwide who has driven three million miles safely—“no accidents, no tickets, no nothing,” she said.
The award came from the Federal Motor Carriers Association of Washington, D.C. in cooperation with the Women in Trucking organization during a banquet for the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. in March. Sixty one-million-milers and 28 two-million-milers—all women—were also honored.
When Brown started out in the trucking business, “less than one percent of truckers were women. Now they are around five percent,” she said.
“We drive 18-wheel trucks and travel 48 states and Canada,” said Brown. “I own and operate my own business and there are others that do also. We are a huge backbone to our area as well as all areas of the U.S. Look around and see if there is anything that you can reach out and touch that wasn't on a truck at sometime.”
Brown calls her company Rollin’ B. Cartage, because she’s “old school.” The name comes from the time when people used to “cart” things around, not “haul” them, she explained. She does everything from sales to trucking, billing and accounting, public relations and a lot more besides.
From her mother, Brown belongs to the Hartley family, one of the original settlers of this area. Her father owns local builders Brown Brothers Construction. She credits him and her brother, Blake Brown, the Town of Boone’s Director of Public Works, for encouraging her to enter this still-male world.
Besides her over-the-road haulage business, Brown is proficient with other heavy machinery like backhoes and dozers, and having “grown up” beside the track at the Daytona 500 because of her family’s involvement there, she also now works at NASCAR events, having most recently spent the Memorial Day Weekend working with a NASCAR team in the garage area and the pit.
“It’s tough being in a man’s world,” she said, adding that her fellow workers sometimes wonder if a lady, which she adamantly calls herself, can actually do not only heavy tasks, but mechanical ones. So she lists just some of the things that are second nature, like changing alternators, belts, lights, hoses and tires.
“I may have to find a different way [of doing something] because I am not as strong as a man, but I will find that way,” she said.
“It is a tough life if you choose to look at it that way,” she said. “But I choose to look at it as a wonderful one. There is no time to sightsee, [but] it is making sure you and others have what you need or want, and there is food on your table and clothes on your back.”
Through the Trucker Buddy program, Brown is a mentor to school kids and sees herself not just as a local modern-day pioneer and role model for other women, but also as a cheerleader for them.
“There are ladies who are sitting in Boone and the surrounding areas…[and] there is no reason that they can’t in these hard times [go into trucking]. The companies pay for their training,” she said.
She constantly expresses gratitude for coming “from Boone and [being] recognized for this kind of work and [living] in the most beautiful place that God has given us.”