Driver Spotlight: LaShelle Smith
Driving a truck professionally requires dependability, adaptability, and discipline–none of which were foreign to LaShelle Smith when she embarked on a new career as a truck driver. As an entrepreneur and proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps, she’d faced her fair share of obstacles before.
In high school, she attended a job fair with the intention of meeting with an Army recruiter. As fate would have it, however, the recruiter never showed up and LaShelle happily struck up a conversation with a Marines recruiter instead. The recruiter explained that the Marines were the smallest branch of the military, but the “baddest” of them all. This resonated with LaShelle who is the self-proclaimed “smallest and baddest person around”.
As a Marine, LaShelle served from the age of 18 until 22 as a Hawk Missile Operator and was part of only the third group of women admitted into combat roles. After discharge, she attended Northern Michigan University to study acting and eventually made her way to Chicago where she attended culinary school in hopes of one day owning and operating her own restaurant.
Throughout her 20s, LaShelle made a living working in restaurants without the big break she’d been hoping for. She even found herself homeless for awhile before working her way out and finding a new start in Arizona. Here, she opened her own taco truck, aptly and affectionately named “The Taco Shelle”.
But after roughly two decades in the food industry, LaShelle felt it was time for a change and sought the suggestion of a career aptitude survey that recommended law enforcement, military service, or truck driving. Of those three, truck driving seemed to be the most alluring prospect. She enrolled in a local truck driving school, earned her Class A CDL and found work with a local trucking company covering the westernmost 11 states. Though she enjoyed the freedom and adventure of truck driving, the long hours were not conducive to her growing family and she sought a different driving opportunity.
After some thorough Googling of trucking companies that make home time a priority, she came across Dot Transportation. She joined the DTI ranks in 2021 and hasn’t looked back. She opted for a no-touch position and runs the always popular “4×4” schedule–four days on the road, four days at home–which allows for a predictable schedule and plenty of time with family.
In April of this year, LaShelle made her small screen debut alongside fellow veteran driver Jim Mathews on Lifetime’s “Military Makeover: Operation Career”; a series that spotlights military veterans and the military-friendly companies by which they’re employed.
Based out of Dot Transportation’s Dyersburg distribution center, LaShelle recently wrapped her first year as a DTI driver. LaShelle currently resides in Tennessee with her wife of five years, Alicia, their five children ranging in age from 20 years old to six months, and their two dogs and one cat.
To hear more from LaShelle, check out her recent appearance on “Military Makeover: Operation Career”.