Many drivers work hard to project a professional image, but there aren’t many who have a brand. Jacinda Duran, the Women In Trucking February 2020 Member of the Month, is acutely aware of hers. She takes her mission of inspiration, encouragement and motivation seriously, regularly posting her thoughts and activities for thousands of followers on multiple social-media platforms under the name “Jacinda Lady Truck’n.” She maintains her own website at jacindaladytruckn.com and is registered as her own Limited Liability Corporation in Arizona.
“I have this special gift of connecting with people, and I thank God for it,” she told The Trucker while taking a rest break in Elkton, Maryland. “I’m just chillin’ in my big bunk, playing with my dog and watching Netflix,” she added.
Her big bunk is attached to a Kenworth T680 tractor and pulls an enclosed auto-transport
trailer for Plycar Transportation Group, a family-owned third-generation carrier. Duran runs out of the company’s Torrance, California, facility.
The dog is “Miles,” a female lab-retriever mix adopted from Mutts4Truckers, a group that matches pets needing a home with drivers who need furry companionship. Duran recorded a publicity video for the group.
Duran has been with Plycar for a little over a year now and couldn’t be happier. “By far, what I’m doing now is my favorite,” she said. “Plycar is so good to me!”
Like many of her friendships, her relationship with Plycar began through social media. A grandson of the late Arthur Pliaconis, who founded the company, contacted her on Instagram, telling her that her outgoing personality and mastery of social media would make her an excellent representative for the company. They met in person in Denver, which led to Duran’s hiring as the first solo female enclosed car hauler for Plycar.
Duran’s involvement with trucking came early. Both parents drove trucks, as did two grandparents. She often accompanied her mother on runs. Still, her driving career had multiple stops before she finally went to the big trucks. “I came from trucking and logistics, but I never planned to drive a truck,” she said. “I started as a courier for FedEx, and I also drove limousines and buses once I got my Class B license.” Those busses included charter buses and a “party bus” from one provider. “That’s where the money is,” Duran related, “but you see some strange things!”
As often happens in trucking, Duran’s step up to Class A came from other women in the industry. “At FedEx, some of the women who drove line-haul would ask me, ‘J, why aren’t you driving a truck?’” She went to school and earned her Class A CDL through FedEx Ground, and still stays in contact with her trainers there.
Duran spends a great deal of time sharing her experiences with other drivers through the posting of videos, written blogs and general comments. “I think it inspires people to see that someone like me is successful and enjoying life,” she said. The catchphrase she often uses to introduce her videos is “Lady Truck’n coming at you.” She’s incredibly positive and exudes an energy few can match. Her communications aren’t over-produced, and there’s never a script. “I just share things I like doing,” she explained. “The only editing I do is for length.”
When meeting her, people are often surprised that she is the same in person as she appears in her videos. Her ability to connect helps with her driving, too. “I love getting to know people,” she said. “By the time I get to some of my deliveries, they know me so well that I get a big hug when I arrive, and they invite me in.”
Those relationships, however, often begin with surprise that the person hauling their expensive automobile is a woman. “Sometimes when I go to places, people look for my partner,” she explained.
“It’s like they’re expecting a man to get out of the truck to handle the real work of loading or unloading.” Duran smiles and lets them know she has it all under control.
One thing she loves about her job with Plycar is that she gets to see places that many other drivers don’t. “Drivers kind of joke about seeing the world as driver,” she said, “but I really do. I’m not just on the interstate; we go to less-traveled areas. I’m in people’s neighborhoods.”
Another perk of her job is the beautiful automobiles she sometimes hauls. “I see some amazing cars,” she said. “My first favorite was a late ‘50s Corvette convertible. The sound of the engine was just incredible!”
Many of the automobiles she hauls are electric vehicles. Duran said that while some look amazing, “ I want to hear that roar!”
Duran’s two children are grown and beginning careers of their own. “My girl is in nursing school and will be graduating soon,” she said. “My son is a cadet at the Air Force Academy, and he’ll be an officer in four years.” Although she’s happy they have chosen professions, she knows there is something more important. “They’re good people, and that’s more important to me than what they do for a career. I’m very proud of both of them.”
Faith plays a large role in Duran’s daily activities. Although she doesn’t regularly attend any specific church, she said, “My faith is growing. I’ve always been spiritual. I have like seven bibles in my bunk.”
She shares her faith with other drivers as the opportunity arises. “I connect with others on so many levels; that’s such a blessing for me,” she said. “If someone wants to discuss my faith, I’m happy to share, but we can talk about other things, too.”
As for the future, Duran said she’d like to own her own truck and maybe even her own company someday, but she’s in no hurry. “I want to keep building my brand,” she said. She recently became a representative for Trucker Tools, a load matching and tracking app. She’ll be representing the company at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, this year. She’ll consider other opportunities for representation, writing or other ways to continue encouraging other in the trucking industry.
“Embrace every day,” she said. “It’s a brand-new start.”
Cliff Abbott is an experienced commercial vehicle driver and owner-operator who still holds a CDL in his home state of Alabama. In nearly 40 years in trucking, he’s been an instructor and trainer and has managed safety and recruiting operations for several carriers. Having never lost his love of the road, Cliff has written a book and hundreds of songs and has been writing for The Trucker for more than a decade.