September 10, 2013
Chamber member makes cover
ESJ Carrier's president & CEO Sandy Ambrose-Clark, president of ESJ Carrier, Without a Doubt Specialized Haulers and Without a Doubt Truck & Trailer Repair, was recently featured on the cover of Redesigning the Road, the official magazine of the Women in Trucking Association. Chamber member Ambrose looks to the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber for cost savings on ChamberHealth and Office Depot for her 65+ employees.
Here's an excerpt from Leading the Way: Women in Leadership Roles, by Holli Moncrieff
More and more women are taking control of the wheel as they step into leadership roles in the trucking industry. Sandra Ambrose-Clark, president of ESJ Carrier Corporation in Ohio, has been involved in the trucking industry all her life. "My father was a transport manager. I went to work with him as a little girl and absolutely loved it," she recalls. "I have diesel running through my veins. I love what I do."
Ambrose-Clark's father started ESJ Carrier 28 years ago but suffered a fatal heart attack one year later. Determined not to let her father's dream die with him, Ambrose-Clark took over the business.
Over the years, ESJ Carrier has expanded to include a diesel garage and a landstar agency, as well as the original trucking company. She employs 17 office workers, 30 drivers and 18 mechanics. As a female in the industry, especially one who has never been a driver, Ambrose-Clark struggled with being taken seriously. She opened her diesel garage partly because of necessity.
"In the beginning, we had another garage servicing the trucks. We only had three trucks at that time, so we really needed the trucks on the road," she says.
"Our truck had been at the garage for three weeks and it was a small job, so I went to see when it would be finished. The owner yelled across the garage, in front of everyone, 'The woman who doesn't know anything about trucks wants to know why her truck isn't fixed!' I said to him, 'You never know when this woman who doesn't know anything about trucks will be your competition.'"
Her bold statement turned out to be true. ESJ Carrier is now a direct competitor with the largest independent diesel garage in the city.
"I thought, 'This industry is broken and I can fix it.' This country is made of small trucking companies. A truck sitting costs hundreds of dollars a day," she explains. "We try to get everybody up and on the road by the next day. It's not going to happen with large issues like an engine rebuild, but that's our goal. Treat them better and they'll always come back."
Ambrose-Clark quickly learned that she couldn't let stereotypes or hurtful remarks get under her skin.
"It used to make me mad but I got over that. There are going to be stereotypes out there, but I have an opportunity to help change that," she says. "I laugh it off. Once we have some levity and let it go, it's always funny. My actions defend -- so I don't have to."
Because she will do anything that needs doing, including answering the phone, Ambrose-Clark is often mistaken for the receptionist.
"I had one fellow say, 'I can tell just from talking to you on the phone-you're so happy-go-lucky, you're probably not the person who makes decisions.'
It probably happens at least once a month," she says.
"Because I'm laughing and having a good time, I can't be the person who makes decisions. It's an awkward moment when they realize you own the company. He was thoroughly embarrassed-as red as red can be."
Ambrose-Clark has dedicated herself to giving back to other women in the industry. She provides a safe haven and rest stop that is well-lit and clean for women on the road.
"Because of great organizations like Women In Trucking, there's been an effort to recognize and promote women in the industry. There are all kinds of positions for women and a plethora of opportunities for them, but safety is still a big challenge. Women still need a safe place to stay where they don't have to worry," she says.
"Women don't want to talk about it, but a lot are afraid to go to truck stops. We need amenities. We're not men-we need a restroom we can go to."
She also acts as a mentor to several women each year. Ambrose-Clark recommends Women In Trucking or small trucking organizations as great places to find mentors.
"I love talking to women about their career paths in the industry. I have been blessed to have at least six or seven women come to me in the last year, and I love being able to help someone else. I love giving back to other women," she says. "There are so many wonderful women in different executive roles, and every one of us has our own story. It's nice to see so many other wonderful women out there."