Johanne Couture is from Brockville, Ontario, Canada. She has been in the trucking industry since 1994, and has been a member of OOIDA since 2005. Johanne is an owner-operator contracted to a Canadian carrier and currently hauls liquid chemicals. She owns a 2011 Volvo 730, pulls a stainless steel tank and runs all lower 48 states and all 10 provinces.
Johanne joined OOIDA because she believes “to see things change, you have to get involved.” Being from Canada, Johanne believes she can offer a new and unique perspective to the board. Regulations and laws are different in Canada – sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. She says she is able to give insight into issue discussions as to how the processes in Canada differ and what she sees as positives and negatives.
Johanne feels that she can also contribute to the board by offering a woman’s view of the industry. Currently, professional women drivers account for 3.7% in Canada and 7% in the US. “I have earned the respect of my peers by being 100% professional. Perception is reality when a positive image is involved,” Johanne said.
One of the biggest problems faced by new drivers to the industry is being exploited by unscrupulous carriers, according to Johanne. We need to find ways to better educate these new drivers so they don’t fall into some common carrier traps. Social media has been successful at increasing awareness.
Johanne believes that three of the most important problems faced by a majority of drivers today are: the lack of safe trucking parking, which can create a dilemma between personal safety and HOS compliance; the lack of proper on-going driver training, our industry as a whole is lacking on training compared to others; and over regulation by authorities who have little accurate knowledge to the reality of our profession, we keep North America moving and supplied.
To be successful in the trucking industry, Johanne says you need to keep close track of your numbers. She has been an owner-operator since 1998. “Knowledge is key. Keeping your books up-to-date, keeping track of fluctuations in your key expenses and not being shy about asking for a rate increase to match the cost increases. For too long this industry has played the undercutting game. Stand tall and proud about the valued service you provide.”
In her spare time, Johanne volunteers as a truck show organizer, and enjoys winter travels to the Caribbean. She is fluently bilingual in French and English, both official languages in Canada.