FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) Janet Parsons’ red trucks are as well manicured as her nails.
The former BB&T vice president keeps her fleet as sharp looking as the power suits tucked away in her closet.
Even though her corporate clothes have been replaced by jeans and comfortable shirts, her approach to business has remained smartly focused since starting DJP Trucking Inc. in 1998.
She spent 23 years in the banking industry as a programmer and assistant vice president. It’s a job she is still proud of, as seen by the plaques displayed on her office walls, but it was not everything she wanted.
Her dream was to do something for herself.
Parsons knew there was a need for a truck broker in the area. She said trucking was a business that was relatively easy to get into, so she bought a truck and recruited her husband, Doug, to be the company mechanic.
Those first few years were filled with several learning curves, especially for a woman in a male-dominated field.
Dressed in a black suit and heels, she would meet with contractors, construction owners and truckers. Parsons quickly realized this was a business where only the down-to-earth got hired.
“I was a banker, I didn’t know any other way,” she said now with a chuckle. “They giggled at me, and I told them that they would someday need me. And they did.”
She retired her banking attire and approached the business the only other way she knew how, with bold honesty and integrity.
“In banking, there is zero room for mistakes. I run this company that way,” she said.
Within a year, she had bought another truck and started recruiting individual drivers to work on regional projects. She is now up to five trucks, has brokers jobs for 65 truckers and wants to grow.
Parsons’ first big break was with Barnhill Contracting Co. based in Tarboro.
She was hired to haul a million yards of dirt for the Greensboro bypass and 125,000 tons (113,000 t) of stone for Fayetteville’s outer loop.
Those deals led to others, and soon DJP Trucking was landing major contracts with the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the city of Fayetteville.
Her trucks have hauled gravel, sand, dirt and asphalt for the Hope Mills bypass, Fayetteville annexation projects, widening of N.C. 87 between Tar Heel and Elizabethtown, and the city’s initiative to pave its dirt roads.
Once a relationship and reputation are established, the government and companies will go with someone they know will do a good job, she said.
So Parsons worked hard to make a name for the company and convince those in the field that a woman could handle tough jobs.
In a short time, she succeeded.
She now sends out 45 trucks a day, five of her own and 40 individual truckers, to job sites. She is on the phone starting at 5 a.m. when the trucks head out to the quarry in Lillington. Her days end around 10 p.m. when she wraps up scheduling for the next day. In all, she has a pool of approximately 65 trucks for jobs all over the Cape Fear region.
“There is a lot of stress,” she said, but she manages the job by being efficient and straightforward.
“We take a lot of pride in our work,” Parsons said. “Our background has everything to do with what we are doing and where we are going. A man is only as good as his word.”