Mavis Bobbitt is an 83-year-old Prime operator from Arizona. Before she began driving, Mavis was an electronic technician for 20 years. Until her husband decided it was time for her to quit her job. After quitting her job, Mavis stayed at home cleaning, cooking, and doing other housework. She became incredibly bored, so her husband encouraged her to follow her dreams of becoming a driver. “I wanted to try this because of my uncle. He hauled lumber out of a little town in Alabama called Reform. He got a contract at a sawmill there. I asked him one day while I was there, ‘would you teach me how to drive?’ And he told me that women don’t drive trucks. I told him that I’d show him one day that I would drive.” Mavis began driving in 1987, before you needed a CDL!
As a woman, driving during this time was difficult. No one wanted to give her a chance, until her neighbor came along. Mavis’s neighbor had his own truck and decided to let her drive for him. She drove for him for about six weeks to get some experience under her belt before driving for a company out of South Dakota. She also drove for several other companies after this, but she wasn’t being treated fairly. Companies were withholding pay and sometimes not even giving her a truck to drive. That is, until she found Prime.
One of the guys she’d met at a previous company asked Mavis if she would team drive at Prime with him. She was hesitant at first, but ultimately decided to take the leap. They drove together for three years before they decided it was finally time for Mavis to get her own truck. When Mavis began driving on her own, she was assigned a fleet manager named Steven Wray. At one point in Mavis’s life, she ran a dairy farm and Steven’s dad used to get milk from her! It’s safe to say her and Steven have a great relationship. “The partnership with your fleet manager is very important,” she says. “You get to understand each other’s needs. You find what they want out of life from their business. It is a business.”
Mavis understands this business mindset. She has been an independent contractor since her start at Prime. In fact, when Mavis started at Prime, they didn’t have company drivers at all. Mavis says she used to run all 48 states, but now only does the western states so she can stay a little closer to home. She loves the flexibility at Prime and that you’re not just a number here. When she comes into a terminal, people know her by her name and she never leaves without a hug. Mavis says that Prime Inc. is a great company for women to go to and if she could go back and start her career here, she would.
“I am so proud of all the female drivers coming in and making a career out of it. I just love it for them and I opened the door for them to come in. I feel that I did so fighting the guys off. That was a big challenge for me coming into this industry,” says Mavis. Through it all, Mavis is a true example of what a Highway Diamond here at Prime Inc should be. She’s poised, articulate, professional, and resourceful. If you run across her during your travels, give her a well-deserved hug. It’s women drivers like Mavis that have paved the way for our Highway Diamonds.
Interview by Dee Sova
If you’re interested in becoming a Highway Diamond like Mavis, apply online at www.primeinc.com or give our recruiters a call at 866-290-1568.