Shana Barton presenting at the National Safety Conference.

Petty: It's never too late to change direction

March 5, 2024
This private fleet leader found that it's never too late to find a successful career in transportation and logistics.

“Drivers were initially very hesitant about a woman manager,” Shana Barton, director, logistics support at Oldcastle APG, said. “But they quickly learned I was open to learning and had a genuine interest in them and what they were doing. We made great strides in our fleet. I will be forever grateful for everything they taught me.”

Shana Barton was raised in Minnesota as an only child of parents who divorced when she was young. She lived with her working mother, who was a role model for hard work and determination.

“After graduating from high school, I had no structure and no idea what I wanted to do,” Barton said. “I attended a local community college but only for a short time.”

After the birth of her first child when she was 20, Shana tried college again to pursue a career in teaching, but decided to return to work after one year.

“I simply did not have the capacity to work full-time, raise my son, and stay in school,” said Barton. “Several years on and three kids later when they were all in school (by then I was a single parent), I decided to go back to school. This decision was driven by my inability to advance with my employer at the time. I was a branch manager for a local bank. They would not promote me to ‘officer’ with authority to sign documents without having my college degree.”

Barton enrolled in an accelerated degree program in business management/marketing at St. Catherine University. She held a full-time job and attended college classes part-time on Friday evenings, all day Saturday, and half of Sunday.

“My mother took care of the kids when I was attending class and pitched in whenever I needed her. She was a lifesaver. I could not have done this without her help,” Barton said. “As I was getting ready to graduate from college, I had the opportunity to work as an account executive for a retail supply distributor, Diversified Distribution Systems, where my mother was employed. Within a year, I was promoted to project coordinator. This is where my real journey into logistics began.”

See also: Women in Motion: Advocating for the women behind the wheel and beyond

“My mother, who eventually was my boss, became a very special mentor to me,” Barton said. “She has a great work ethic and drive. She set high standards on how to prioritize work and get more things done. Through her inspiration during this time, I found I had a strong interest and aptitude in technology as it relates to logistics and the user experience. This interest continues to serve me well in my current position.”

When the company was sold, Barton moved on and accepted a position with Andersen Windows as a transportation application engineer. She later transferred from Minnesota to Georgia to manage the private fleet operations at the company’s new flagship distribution center in Douglasville, Georgia.

“I remember the drivers were initially very hesitant about having a woman manager,” Barton said. “But they quickly learned I was open to learning and that I had a genuine interest and cared about them and what they were doing. I spent quite a bit of time on the road with my drivers learning the ins and outs, although they would never let me deliver the windows—only the screens and hardware. We made great strides in our fleet operation, compliance, and safety. I will forever be grateful for everything they taught me.”

Barton participated in PFMI when she worked for Andersen Windows. She enrolled for the knowledge and not specifically to become certified.

“I had no idea what I was missing,” Barton said. “When I came to Oldcastle APG, I saw that many of my co-workers were CTPs, spoke highly of the program, and encouraged me to get my certification. While I did not go through the PFMI again, I did take advantage of the CTP Exam Prep Workshop and found it exceptionally valuable.”

Shana graduated with the CTP Class of 2020.

“Our involvement with NPTC and having the CTP certification gives me access to other professionals that have similar core values. I appreciate the networking opportunities at NPTC because everyone is open and transparent. I would love to be a mentor for new CTPs,” Barton said. “I have had the opportunity to be a presenter for the past two years at the National Safety Conference. I enjoy sharing what we have done, what works and what doesn’t, and hope that others will be inspired to enhance their fleet safety programs.”

See also: FleetOwner Private Fleet of the Year contest returns

“I feel so fortunate to be where I am today. I am doing what I love,” Barton said. “When I joined Oldcastle APG as transportation manager four years ago, it was and continues to be a fabulous opportunity and perfect fit for my technology and private fleet background.”

“Within our team, we oversee all third-party carrier onboarding, compliance and safety, private fleet compliance and safety as well as all the technologies that support logistics operations,” Barton said. “The biggest challenge we face is aligning 26 divisions, 260 plus locations, and 2,000 employees that are directly or indirectly involved with logistics. We are very proud that the construction and infrastructure private fleet of CRH Americas/Oldcastle Infrastructure was selected for the 2023 Fleet Owner 500 Private Fleet of the Year Award.”

“My career path has not been clear and direct, to say the least, with many twists and turns along the way,” Barton said. “Somehow, things worked out. Hopefully, I have set an example for my kids, who are all quite amazing. Zach is an electrical engineering graduate of the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Alex is a mechanical engineer and graduate of the Colorado School of Mines, and Anna graduated from Loyola University of Chicago and is pursuing a career in logistics.”

“I’ve learned that wherever you are in life, you can positively change your direction. Roadblocks can make you better,” Barton said. “I’ve learned it’s never too late to be who you want to be.”

About the Author

Gary Petty

Gary Petty has more than three decades of experience as a CEO of national trade associations in the trucking industry. Since 2001, he has served as president and CEO of the National Private Truck Council, the national trade association founded in 1939, representing the private motor carrier industry. Petty is the Private Fleet Editor and columnist for FleetOwner, where he writes monthly articles about successful managers and business models in the private fleet market.

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