A former Wagga publican is continuing to prove women can do just about anything as she starts her new career as a truck driver.
After moving on from North Wagga’s Red Steer Motel in early April, Barbara Konstantakis signed on with Ron Finemore Transport and is now the trucking company’s second female driver based in Wagga.
Ms Konstantakis said she was very excited to get behind the wheel for her first solo run to Melbourne on Friday morning.
“The first run will always be a little bit nerve-wracking,” Ms Konstantakis said.
“Finemores are big on having to having female drivers – they're very big on that – and they sponsor the Women in Transport conference.”
Despite some pre-show nerves, Ms Konstantakis said she had a few weeks of intensive safety training that left her feeling very prepared.
“We had induction, which was three full days down at their depot in Wodonga going through everything, the safety features on the truck, and fatigue management, which is exceptional,” Ms Konstantakis said.
“They are excellent – their priority is on driver safety, and all the trucks have fatigue management cameras in them.”
Ms Konstantakis will be driving refrigerated trucks to Sydney and Melbourne, mostly carrying fresh meat to the two Woolworths distribution centres.
Her husband, Shane Bourke, is also joining her at Ron Finemores, but will be driving B-double trucks instead.
General manager Scott Finemore said he was very happy to now have the pair on board.
“We're a family company and we're looking for people who have family values – we've got a number of people who work for us where their fathers and grandfathers also worked for us,” Mr Finemore said.
“That’s why Barb and Shane’s relationship works so well for us.”
Mr Finemore he hoped Ms Konstantakis would encourage more women to reach out and join the company.
“I just need the job done – I'm not caught up in gender – we've had women drivers and we have women in all our areas of our business, be it management, administration, or operations,” he said.
“Women in transport are important for balance – women are good listeners, by default they’re good planners, and they’re normally good teachers, too.”