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Women Truck Leasing Executives No Longer a Rarity

Sandy Hakes, president and owner of Williams NationaLease, says business and leadership skills are what make a successful trucking executive - not his or her gender.
    DOWNERS GROVE, IL, July 15, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Things have come a long way since Sandy Hakes first sat in meetings of trucking executives as the only woman in the room. Today Hakes - President and Owner of Williams NationaLease - said the ranks of top women executives in the trucking industry are growing. "Yes, some men are still surprised when they see a woman trucking company owner, but there's no negativity involved," she said during an interview with NationaLease staff.

NationaLease, the North American organization of full service truck leasing companies, is running a series on "Women in Trucking" in the months ahead and chose Hakes as its first woman to profile.

"The entire trucking industry, including the full service leasing business, is changing. Some of the older company owners are retiring and now their daughters feel free to enter the business when it used to be only sons," Hakes said. "It's really great not to be the only woman in the room anymore."

Hakes took over Williams NationaLease in 1998 when her father retired. Since then, the company has expanded to three locations: two in Illinois and one in Indiana. Less than 10 years after Hakes took over the helm, the company was awarded the American Trucking Associations' President's Top Trophy for Safety and a few years later, Hakes was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women.

In the interview, Hakes talks about raising her two daughters who are now in the business with her, and the issues of balancing work and family. She states that her daughters have their own style of working and, as she says, "They'll manage in a different way and I have faith in them to make the company bigger, better and stronger."

When asked what advice she would give to other women who want to enter the industry, Hakes provided some thoughts. "Hang in there. Don't give up. Don't be intimidated. This really is a great industry with a lot of camaraderie. We look out for one another. But it's a lot of work. I tell my daughters that we work with pennies in this business (.01 cents per mile). But if you add up all those miles and all those pennies, you can have a successful business."

To read the full interview, visit

About NationaLease

Founded in 1944, NationaLease is one of the largest full service truck leasing organizations in North America, with over 600 service locations throughout the U.S. and Canada and a combined customer fleet of over 125,000 tractors, trucks, and trailers. The company provides comprehensive fleet management services for private fleets and transportation service providers.

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