WOMEN IN TRANSPORT – Shuttle pilot

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 8, 2019

What Caitlyn Lynch lacks in size, she sure makes up for in determination and a positive attitude.

Photo: Determination and a positive attitude will get you anywhere you want to be. Caitlyn Lynch behind the wheel of a Kenworth T401, one of the trucks she drives for K&T Trucking.

At 29 years of age, Caitlyn Lynch is a ‘Coaster‘, born and bred in the town of Greymouth. Coming from a family with no previous history in the transport industry, Caitlyn‘s interest in machinery initially came about while in the dairy sector, where she would use tractors on a daily basis. About five years ago Caitlyn moved across the ditch to the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and started driving 40 tonne dump trucks; not a bad place to start at all! Since the job was on private land Caitlyn wasn‘t required to obtain a licence, which was somewhat of a bonus.

“I worked with a really good crew of people,” said Caitlyn. “I also learned a lot from driving the dump trucks, especially how far you can push a truck to the point of falling over. Luckily this never happened to me,” she says with a cheeky grin. In 2015 Caitlyn moved back to Christchurch and obtained her class 2 licence and also her wheels, tracks and rollers licence. Downers then took Caitlyn on and put her to work driving a tipulator doing the ground work at the new Justice Precinct building site.

While going for a ride with one of her friends to Timaru, Caitlyn realised she wanted to pursue other areas of her driving career so she progressed to her class 5 learners and was hired by Kerry Inns at K&T Trucking. Kerry has since helped Caitlyn complete her class 5 licence and two years later she‘s an integral part of the team. “She‘s no problem at all, always doing what we ask of her and she sure looks after the gear,” says Kerry.

Photo: Caitlyn‘s pride in the gear she operates is clearly evident.

Caitlyn spends most of her driving time jumping between either a T401 Kenworth or a K108 Aerodyne on shuttles between Meadow Fresh and Fonterra in Christchurch. Averaging 55-plus hours a week, there is little time to spend with her fiancé, Mark Opie. We commented on the angle of the dock at Fonterra to which Caitlyn replied, “Sometimes I have bad days (reversing in) but I don‘t let it beat me.” It‘s a physically demanding job for someone slight in stature, but equipped with her trusty hook she manoeuvres the thousand-plus crates of Fonterra product around like a pro. Caitlyn will complete about four loads each day, backloading with empty crates. Sometimes a trip out of town will come up, usually to Timaru or Oamaru, but Caitlyn prefers to stay on her city run. Caitlyn Lynch, a great role model for up-and-coming drivers.

Photo: The Aerodyne Kenworth backed into the dock at Fonterra.

Photo: A skilful operator of the crate hook also. The Christchurch shuttle run is no sedentary job.