Our People: Hilary Fenton, dispatcher to driver

Business News

Dayton, Ohio, Careers, sustainability
Fenton with her truck in Dayton, Ohio.
  • Hilary Fenton started as a dispatcher for Marathon Petroleum right after she graduated from college.
  • After spending 10 years supporting drivers on the road, she decided to make a career change that would put her in the driver’s seat.
  • Now she’s delivering fuel and loving the change of scenery she gets as a truck driver and the benefits offered by the company.

Hilary Fenton loved being a dispatcher for Marathon Petroleum in Ohio. She spent her days talking to truck drivers and helping them get from point A to point B delivering fuel to stations across the state.

“It was like coming into a puzzle each day,” said Fenton. “It was a job where you could come in and there was a different problem to solve.”

Fenton started working for Marathon Petroleum after college. She was a cross country runner at the University of Findlay in Ohio and graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. One of her teammates in college was a dispatcher for Marathon and invited her to a job fair. Fenton got the job and spent the next ten years supporting drivers on the road.

 “Drivers seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. That inspired me to think maybe I could do this.”

“They are such good people, a ton of hard workers. I think I stayed in that role for so long because I wanted to help the team I had talked to for years. I really felt like I was making a difference,” said Fenton. “I would hear drivers say how long they had been in the industry and what they liked about it. Drivers seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. That inspired me to think maybe I could do this.”

Fenton asked her managers about doing a ride along and started attending safety meetings to see if she would like driving. She realized that as someone who loves the outdoors and working with her hands, she wanted to change careers. She decided to get her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and scheduled vacation time and switched shifts with other employees so she could attend a two and a half week driving school program.

Fenton with her trainer Mark Drummond.

Fenton credits her trainer at Marathon, Mark Drummond, for mentoring her and making her believe she could succeed as a driver. Drummond had worked with Fenton for four years and felt her work ethic would make her perfect for the job.

“She knew the back-office stuff, and everything always flowed with her,” said Drummond. “The way she understood the routes and the loading and unloading. It always made sense. Helping her transition to a driver was very easy. She absorbed everything like a sponge. She’s very intelligent.”

Fenton with her truck in Dayton, Ohio.

Drummond said that one thing that was different for Fenton than other drivers he trained was her petite size. He helped her adjust the settings and equipment to fit, but he let her figure out how to do other parts of the job.

“The hoses we load and unload with are heavy, but she had to figure out her own way,” said Drummond. “I was hands off and let her figure it out. I couldn’t do it for her, but I was there to build her confidence.”

Today, Fenton loves being on the road and being in control of her day. She drives a semi-truck that pulls a trailer with up to 9,000 gallons of fuel or ethanol. Her shifts start at 5 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and every other weekend. Her husband is also a truck driver, and their shifts give them plenty of family time with their three children and three dogs.

“I love working for Marathon as a truck driver,” said Fenton. “There’s great pay and benefits. As far as delivering gas, Marathon teaches you everything you need to know to do your job safely and efficiently. They lay everything out for us. We just have to follow the plan.”