News | Pima's Shannon McPhillips Awarded PSR Community College Student of the Year

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by Amy Guzman, USC Political Science and International Relations

We are pleased to congratulate Shannon McPhillips for being selected as the Pacific Southwest Region Community College Student of the Year! In December of 2021, she graduated from the Maneuvers and Driving Program at the Pima Community College Center for Transportation Training.  “It is an exciting time to get started in this industry,” she shares. “There are many opportunities and a great need for students in many aspects of this field!”


Shannon McPhillips in the driver’s seat!
(Photo courtesy of Shannon McPhillips)


Shannon was inspired to pursue transportation by her father, an over-the-road truck driver and trainer for over 20 years. Shannon’s father, she shared, always reminded her that truck driving was the best way to see the country. He was proud of his students, she remembers, who often contacted him to ask for advice or tell him about their adventures. 


Shannon looked up to her father, who was her role model. After a difficult battle with cancer, he passed away and Shannon recalls she felt lost. She notes that she continues to feel the hardship today of missing his guidance and support. However, through this hardship, Shannon believes she has learned a valuable lesson: “Life is short and you must make every moment count,” she advises. Shannon made a critical and challenging decision—to make a change in her life and work toward a career she knows is rewarding – truck driving. Although her father is no longer with her in person, she knows that the impact he left on her will remain throughout her life.


Shannon’s determination led her to pursue interstate transportation. She created her own trucking company on paper and joined the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program at Pima Community College. The program allowed her to gain experience and credentials to then start her trucking company (based on no small part on her early designs), which she named      Wild Horse Hauling LLC.  Shannon handles all business aspects of her company, including driving, dispatch, maintenance, finance, logistics, and operations.


Shannon has advice for students interested in transportation careers: “Sometimes it can be difficult to get started. Don’t get discouraged. Educate yourself as much as possible,” Shannon says.  “Use information from organizations like the Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as a resource. Make safety your highest priority and hold yourself to a higher standard.”


Shannon is quite accomplished – even beyond her studies and her award. These accomplishments include her involvement in the mentorship program of Women in Trucking (, a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry. Shannon also had the opportunity to discuss transportation in a Transportation STEM Webinar for the National Network for the Transportation Workforce. In the webinar, she was able to share her insights and experience with a national audience of K-12 students and teachers and conveyed the fundamentals of the trucking industry and its related career pathways to the students.


Shannon’s semi-truck
(Photo courtesy of Shannon McPhillips)


Shannon looks forward to starting her new adventure after graduation. She purchased her own semi-truck, a 2017 Freightliner Cascadia, and is currently working on receiving the necessary registration and fuel tax agreements. The thought of coming across unfamiliar places, living on the road, meeting new people, and advancing further into the transportation industry to explore what it has to offer captivates Shannon.


Shannon would like to thank everyone at Pima Community College, especially her instructor, Dale. She had a joyful experience learning from him. “I can’t say thank you enough!”  “I can only hope that one day I too can make a difference for people starting out in this industry,” she says.


We are certain that Shannon’s father would be incredibly proud of where she stands today and congratulate her once again on being named PSR’s Community College Student of the Year. Her path to starting this incredible career journey is an exciting one.


About the Author:
Amy Guzman is an undergraduate student attending the University of Southern California studying Political Science and International Relations. She is a student staff writer for the METRANS newsletter and is also part of the METRANS K12 student outreach team.