Most days at noon, CHS driver Kim Dalin proudly steps into her truck to haul propane and anhydrous ammonia to farmers and businesses within 150 miles of her home in southwestern Minnesota. She checks in with the CHS Transportation central dispatch center to find out where her loads will take her that day. “No two days are the same. I have different loads, different roads, different customers to see. I love the variety in my job,” Dalin says.
Day in the Life
From her home, she heads to a product terminal to pick up her load. There, she sees fellow drivers, friends she’s known for decades. The small talk is typical – the weather, the latest news in town or what the industry is expecting with corn drying or planting. This is where Dalin is most comfortable. “I have trucker blood in me,” says Dalin, whose dad hauled propane and would bring Dalin on his trips and whose husband Jerry is also a driver for CHS. “I feel like I have a lot of big brothers watching out for me, helping me.”
Once her truck is loaded, Dalin heads to the homes and businesses of her customers, many of whom she’s delivered to for her 25-plus year career. “Our customers need these products to run their businesses, dry their corn, heat their homes. I’m proud to provide that service,” she says.
In 2011, Dalin was recognized for driving one million incident-free miles, a feat that requires a focus on safety. Soon she’ll hit two million miles. “Delivering hazardous materials, you have to be prepared for anything. I want to be the best driver on the road I can be so everyone can make it home safely at night,” she says. “Driving hundreds of miles every day, I see every kind of driver on the road, and you have to be aware of all of the drivers and use common sense. It’s my job as a professional driver to be the best of the best on the road.”
A focus on safety is especially top of mind during harvest, when hours can be long and there’s a lot of pressure to get products to customers. “You have to know when to take care of yourself and you have to keep your truck in top shape,” she says.
Flexibility in her Field
Dalin describes truck driving as a career that has fit seamlessly into her life.
She started driving in the 1990s for Western Cooperative (which was acquired by CHS in 2016) with her husband. Together, the two of them split shifts in a truck while their children were young. Eventually, the co-op was looking for another driver and she got her own truck and was able to work days.
Despite trucking being a male-dominated field, Dalin says it’s never bothered her. “I grew up in this industry. Yes, there are challenges but, more often than not, I have felt that the guys I work with appreciate working with me. I take the time to get to know them and ask questions and work with a great group of people,” she says.
“I love being behind the wheel,” Dalin says. “I love the freedom I have in my job to just do the best job I can do and to help our customers grow their business.”