Kat Blackwell wanted to be a truck driver from age 12, when she was inspired by a ride on a stock truck from her family’s beef and sheep farm.

She succeeded with her career choice, driving heavy goods vehicles with trailers for some of New Zealand’s carriers. After years of long-haul driving however, sleeping in a comfy bed at home rather than in her cab became increasingly appealing. 

She still loved truck driving and was reluctant to hang up her keys, so when she saw Sealord’s advert for a cold store driver she leapt at the opportunity of regular hours from a Nelson home base and…the keys to an 8-metre-long truck.

Blackwell loved her new job from the start. Instead of driving up to 900km a day, she now drives between five to 40km a day between factories, cold store, and off-site storage facilities. And when she’s not driving, Blackwell is loading and unloading with a forklift, and helping to keep production running optimally.

“It’s not just a matter of hopping in the cab and driving fish around, it’s working in with everyone as well,” Blackwell says. 

“I have a diary to plan everything so I can keep everyone happy by knowing what they need and delivering it promptly,” she adds.

The diary in mention happens to be sparkly pink and purple, and Blackwell is known for keeping her cab – and her manicure – as tidy as her diary planning. 

A regular day for Blackwell involves delivering the first load of fish to Sealord’s coated fish factory before 4.30am. She then picks up the contents of the blast freezers – which could be anywhere from two to ten loads – and delivers them to the cold store. Before 6am, she has delivered fish to the wetfish factory in time for the team to start their 6am shift. 

Having followed her heart into truck driving, Blackwell encourages others to follow their dreams.

“Give anything a go if you’ve got the opportunity.”

- Story provided by Sealord