When Linda Zimmerman, a CRST Expedited team driver from Sturgeon, Mo., is not out on the road, you may find her wrenching on a 1949 Dodge Coronet that she is restoring with her team driver and husband of 30 years, Paul.
“Both Paul and my dad were mechanics, but I learned it was perfectly OK for women to work on cars from my Aunt Carol,” says Linda. “She worked on cars, built an addition on her house herself, but also made the best brownies. She taught me balance; you can be a lady, but you can just as skillfully do a man’s job. I fix my hair, put on makeup and a skirt—and drive a truck over 125,000 miles each year.”
According to Linda, trucking should no longer be considered a man’s job. “Before World War II, almost every job was considered a man’s job, right? Women came in and proved they could do the job—and now many of those jobs are female dominated. My advice to young women considering truck driving is: ‘gender does not define the type of work you can do.’ One day women will rule the world.”
Linda has a Rosie the Riveter “we can do it” attitude and little tolerance for those who don’t give something challenging a try. And this inspiring approach to life has been life-changing for her son.
Tony was born premature and had 13 surgeries by the time he was two months old—and well over 100 surgeries now at age 32. Tony is blind, has cerebral palsy and several other disabilities, but has worked his way out of a wheelchair, has a job and receives some in-residence care at the home he shares with his roommate.
“Paul and I let him know at a young age that he would have chores and responsibilities and that we believed he could do anything he put his mind to,” says Linda. “He never let his disabilities slow him down—horses, boogie boarding and surfing—he was fearless, never complained and was always happy. He’s shown me to see the beauty in everything.”
Seeing the beauty of America and Americans is one of the reasons Linda loves her job. Her favorite stretch of road is I-84 along the Columbia River Gorge and her favorite activity is planning activities for the husband and wife team’s 10- to 34-hour downtimes while out on the road.
“We’ve swam with dolphins, climbed mountains and went on bear tracking and ghost hunting expeditions,” Linda reflects.
She also feels these downtimes are good times for her and Paul to reconnect. “I’ve always been a night owl and Paul’s a rooster. This works great for our driving shifts but allows us only to coincide with the rising and setting of the sun.”
Linda and Paul drove off into the sunset heading for Dallas to pick up their sixth truck in seven years. When freight is heavy, the couple puts on record-breaking miles and does so with a positive attitude. In 2012, CRST recognized Linda as Truck Driver of the Year. The couple has also won Team Drivers of the Year.
On behalf of CRST, please join us in thanking Linda and Paul for their years of service and Linda for being a CRST Woman of Inspiration.