PLOVER, Wis. — The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) has named Melissa Bencivengo, a professional driver for Carbon Express, as its September 2021 Member of the Month.
Bencivengo says her love for trucking began early. At age 6, she was introduced to trucking by her uncle, who drove a big truck. Whenever he’d stop by the house to visit, he would take her out to look at his truck. She was so small she had to stand up on the seat to pull the air horn.
“Uncle Rebel” and his truck captured Bencivengo’s heart and set her on a path to a career as a driver.
That path wasn’t always an easy one. While growing up, she was consistently told that jobs in trucking and heavy machinery weren’t suitable for women — but those comments only made her more determined to pursue her dream. Today, Bencivengo’s enthusiasm is front and center when she talks about trucking.
Her career began in 1999, driving dump trucks and operating big equipment such as well rigs and pile drivers. Ultimately, she earned a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL). She joined Carbon Express in 2019.
While she loves being a truck driver, Bencivengo, a mother to six children, puts her family first. In addition to being a professional trucker, she is a tree arborist and a certified nurse’s aide in the state of New Jersey.
She is one of only a handful of women in the trucking industry driving liquid bulk trucks, and customers often express surprise when they see a woman getting out of a tanker.
“Control the tanker, don’t fear it,” she advises. “Driving a liquid tanker is like driving with a dance partner, only you have to be the dance lead and control the movement of the product in the tank.”
Bencivengo says she loves driving for Carbon Express, and feels she has found her “forever home” as a driver. Because the company only operates tractors with day cabs, overnight drivers stay in hotels rather than in the truck, she noted.
Being a female in a male-dominated industry — and in the liquid bulk business in particular — sets Bencivengo apart, but she says she enjoys being part of the team at Carbon Express. In fact, she added, many of the company’s male drivers have gone out of their way to support, encourage and provide her the information to make her successful.