I am PSTC - Chantay Shirley Pirkle
Chantay grew up building engines with her dad, and now she helps our customers get the parts they need to get their trucks back on the road quickly!
She attributes her success in the trucking industry to her dad who inspired her passion for engines, working on dirt track cars, drag cars, and even a NASCAR car. Chantay built her first engine at the age of 7 with the help of her dad who has an engine in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega. As her dad battles lung cancer today, she really cherishes these memories with him and the bond that working on engines created.
Chantay went to college for nursing and business, but really missed working with engines while she was at school. In 2009 she got a job at an O’Rilley’s Auto Parts, and by 2010 she was the assistant parts manager. She built a relationship with Peterbilt in Atlanta through delivering parts, and soon they offered her a parts manager position. In her seven years at Peterbilt, she learned a lot about heavy-duty trucks from experienced technicians and parts experts.
The job with Peterbilt ended up being a mix of service, driving, and parts, but Chantay really wanted to focus on becoming a parts expert. So, she pivoted to a Kenworth dealership where she was given that opportunity. Within a year, she was in the top 10 for parts sales for Kenworth US and in the top 3 for females! She wanted to learn as much as she could and got her Cummins certification to be a Cummins specialist. With over 13 years of industry experience with many different trucks, Chantay is the perfect parts specialist to help Peach State’s customers.
While building her career, Chantay never had it easy. She’s been through so much in her life and somehow triumphed through it all. She was a single mom and is a great example to her children of how to pursue what you love and make it work. When her supervisor at Kenworth wouldn’t switch her off night shift, she left the company to spend more time with her family. She then called her connection, John Palmer with Peach State Truck Centers Jefferson where she had interviewed before. She got another interview and has now been with Peach State for over a year. The parts manager, Jonathan Warren, believed Chantay could make a positive difference in the lives of our customers, and she works to fulfill that mission every day.
“I love helping people and I understand how our customer’s day is bad because they are in the trucking industry, their truck is down, and they are losing thousands of dollars,” said Chantay. “I know what it is like to need money to put food on the table and provide for my family. I’ve been there, and I will never forget that feeling. I empathize with them. I want to give them a little bit of happiness and hope and that makes me feel good. My goal is to exhaust all options and try my best to never say no! When trucking is in your blood, you cannot see yourself doing anything else, and this is what I was meant to do.”
It took a lot of work at the beginning of her career to overcome the pushback from customers as a woman in trucking. She would always respond to customers and say, “Can you at least let me try? If I cannot help you, I will find someone who can.” Over time her customers grew to learn that she had drive, knowledge, and confidence. She would also admit when she didn’t know something and ask more questions. Asking the right questions only further proved her knowledge! Her secret to best helping customers is to let them vent, do not take it personally, help with a positive end to their situation, and build trust. Many of her customers have followed her over her 13 years in the industry because of trust.
Chantay trusts Peach State Truck Centers. “I have never worked for a company this humble.,” she said. “They really give me the space to make a positive difference, allow me to be an effective part of my team, and provide me with the tools I need for success and growth. At the end of the day, it does not matter if more money could be made somewhere else because my job here is priceless. I get to have a better workday with my work family and more time with my family at home. I get to live a full life here.”
She feels so blessed in her life now and says she would not be where she is today without her faith in God and finding joy in Him. Not only is she a rock star at work, but she is also one in her community. She and her husband are both youth pastors and are very involved with the youth at church. In addition, she is the spokeswoman advocate for domestic violence in Georgia, a journey she knows all too well. She says, “My calling is to love everyone and help as many people as I can.”
Safe to say, her husband, three children, and Peach State are lucky to have her!