PLOVER, Wis. — Ginger Pitts, an automated side loader recycling truck driver for Oklahoma City’s Waste Management (WM), has been named the March Member of the Month by Women In Trucking (WIT).
A native of Oklahoma, Pitts operated a restaurant for nearly two decades before changing careers and starting a business. Her business transported pets belonging to military families across the country, from one duty station to the next, because pets aren’t included in the military’s moving process. During this time, she visited nearly every state in the U.S. before injuring her shoulder while helping a stranded motorist.
While Pitts was recuperating from the shoulder injury, she started training to drive a school bus — and that training put her on the road to becoming a truck driver.
As a child, Pitts said, she always loved watching the trash trucks empty the large metal cans and tossing them like they weighed nothing at all, but she never dreamed that she’d be able to someday drive one of the big trucks.
After earning her CDL, she drove a school bus, and she says she loved interacting with the children. However, the school district was shut down in May 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shortly after that, Pitts saw a notice that WM was hiring and decided to apply. She landed the job, and says she has finally found her niche as a driver.
Operating the truck’s joystick-type controller is like playing a video game, she said, adding that there’s a great deal of skill involved in using the joystick to empty the recycling carts without damaging or knocking them down. Each day her mission is the same, emptying an estimated 900 carts and returning each one to its original place without any damage or failure.
“One of the things that many people don’t know is the unique service offered to senior citizens or disabled individuals in that even with the automated (waste management) trucks, the driver will stop the truck, retrieve the cart, empty it and place it back in its spot. It is so rewarding to help these folks,” she said with a smile.
For Pitts, a big benefit of the job is the smiles she receives from the children on her route, and she always waves or honks the horn for them. One boy on her route even draws pictures showing the recycling truck and all the recycled items. He then leaves the pictures on the cart, and Pitts keeps them in her truck and on her refrigerator at home.
In addition to receiving honors as WIT’s March Member of the Month, Pitts is also recognized in the Oklahoma Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame. She displayed outstanding skills as a shortstop, and played ball for more than 35 years.
Pitts loves her job and encourages other women to join, saying, “Don’t hesitate. Women can do anything! It’s a great industry; jump in and enjoy the ride!”
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.