A fearless driver turned entrepreneur, challenging stereotypes in the trucking industry and giving back to others every step of the way.
The first time Angelique Temple experienced bias against female truck drivers was on the same day she decided she wanted to be one. A young girl of just 12 years old, living in Queens, New York, Angelique was on a drive with her father when she spotted a tanker truck and fell in love. She told him she wanted to drive one for a living and he quickly dismissed the idea. Back then, stories about how horrible the industry was for women ran rampant. Angelique’s father told her, “Oh, no, no, no. No daughter of mine’s going to drive a truck.” But a deep passion had already begun to take root in Angelique’s heart.
Ever determined to follow her dream, at 21, Angelique embarked on a journey to Virginia where she would attend driver’s school and earn her commercial driver’s license. She also obtained her HAZMAT certification, affording her the opportunity to dive into her career driving that beloved tanker truck. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Angelique to discover that the bias against women did, in fact, run deep in the world of trucking. “There were not many women out here. A lot of people back then did not want to see women at all,” she recalls. But Angelique would not be swayed. As a mother of six, she had no choice but to push forward. As a tough and strong-minded woman, she wouldn’t have had it any other way, regardless.
Angelique began hauling gasoline, a difficult material to handle. According to her, she started off pulling hazardous materials simply because it was a passion. “I wasn’t afraid,” Angelique declares. “I didn’t have that fear, I just had the curiosity.” She also had the skill. Her first day on her own, Angelique’s dispatcher gave her four loads. She remembers the day well. “When I returned after delivering them, he said, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘Nothing, I’m finished.’ He was shocked. He told me, ‘There’s no way. Let me see your paperwork.’ So, I gave him all my sheets and he said, ‘I’ve never seen anyone turn loads like this before. I’m going to call you Tornado from now on.’ And I’ve kept it ever since. It’s become part of my personality.” A part that has stuck with her for over 20 years, influencing every aspect of her life.
A fearless driver, Angelique continued to challenge the way women were perceived in the industry when she stopped carrying gasoline and started carrying other highly hazardous materials, including acid. Extremely safe and meticulous in her work, within just a few years, Angelique earned her first safety award, a feat she repeatedly accomplished year after year for well over a decade. With far more than 2 million incident-free miles under her belt, her record continues to remain spotless.
A natural leader with a true talent for the job, it wasn’t long before Angelique became a teacher and mentor, holding those she took under her wing to the highest of standards. “I’ve been training drivers before they even put the word ‘certified’ in front of it. Training starts with respect for the job. The job is
not about making money. I’ve kicked people out of my truck for starting with that attitude.”
Angelique was steadfast in her mission to show everyone, especially women, that they could accomplish anything they set their minds to. “There’s really not any adversity that can stop you,” she states plainly. “It may delay you. But it can’t stop you.” Her mindset helped to earn her a place on the Women In Trucking Image Team, which she has been a member of for over seven years. Her accomplishments don’t end there. In 2015, Angelique was recognized as a “Distinguished Professional” in her field through Women of Distinction Magazine. Her industry knowledge and involvement has also earned her a seat on the FMCSA Driver Panel.
Angelique continued to be an outstanding driver, eventually becoming the highest-paid one in her company. Her reliability and attention to detail put her in such high demand, that some of America’s biggest chemical companies began asking for her by name. “I was the only driver in my company who
was ever self-dispatched,” Angelique explains. “The customers called me directly.” Developing those relationships played a huge role in what she had planned next.
In 2021, Angelique used all her experience and the information she had learned along the way to start her own company, appropriately named Tornado Transport. The long hours, time away from home, and ceaseless hard work really paid off. Being on the owner-operator side of things, Angelique is finally
enjoying more of the respect she had been deserving of all along; something she believes all women should be experiencing regardless of their place in the industry. “I think that it’s important for women to be in the trucking industry because it’s a need,” she says. “It’s a necessity. I think women need to know
that they can do things without feeling unequal.” While Angelique carries on her fight for more driver equality, she is not one to focus on negatives. Instead, she prefers to speak about the highlights of the job. “Everyone you meet is like family, from other drivers to customers, too. We don’t go up and say, ‘Hey lady’ or ‘Hey man,’ we just say, ‘Hey driver.’ We’re all the same. We’re doing the same thing.”
The dedication and positivity Angelique carries with her does not end with the job. It is a self-proclaimed “calling” for her to help others as well. “My whole life we were taught to serve, in church and everywhere else. It’s a mission for me. It’s something that I’ve taught my children.” She and her family
are constantly looking for ways to help others. Every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Angelique chooses two organizations and a list of families that she donates to. She, along with her husband and one of her daughters, also started a tradition of helping to gather mass donations of blankets and
supplies for those in need. Additionally, Angelique volunteers as a bus driver at her local church, picking up kids and driving them to a children’s service.
Angelique has even more big plans on the horizon, one of which, she is getting ready to tackle with her son. They are planning to open a state-of-the-art community center with over 18 rooms that offer areas of self-improvement and education. She wants people to have a place to come learn, swim, and listen to lectures. Her philosophy is, if you know better, you do better. Having struggled raising her children mostly on her own, Angelique knows it’s not easy. She has every intention of trying to make things easier for others.
Along with everything she does for all the people around her, Angelique still manages to find time to dedicate to animals. For over 13 years she’s been rescuing pit bulls. She’s often had dogs riding with her in her truck cab and welcomes them as part of her family. In-between dogs, she helps raise rabbits! She currently has a 45-pound Flemish rabbit who rides with her every day. “I love animals,” gushes Angelique. “So, if I’m not helping people, I’m helping animals. Either way, somebody’s getting helped.”
“The Tornado” is truly a force to be reckoned with. An impeccable driver with a focus on safety, a mother, a leader, and a catalyst for good, she brings with her a whirlwind of passion and energy wherever she goes. A passion that could not be overlooked by the Howes family. “Angelique is more than just a hard-working driver or flourishing entrepreneur. She is an absolutely amazing person,” states Erika Howes, VP of Business Development. “The minute we heard about Angelique, we were interested in her story. But as soon as we spoke with her, we were truly captivated. She oozes positivity and demonstrates the ultimate can-do attitude. She is the type of person who exemplifies what it means to be a role model. Honestly, I feel humbled and proud to be able to call her an official inductee.” Angelique is equally excited about her induction. “What it means to me to even be nominated, and then inducted, or called, or even thought about by the Howes family, is unreal,” she exclaims. “I think I’m still trying to grasp it. It’s because it’s a big honor for me.”
For being a driven entrepreneur, for challenging stereotypes, and for always helping others, the Howes family is overjoyed to welcome Angelique Temple into the Howes Hall of Fame.
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