Awards, News

Award winner honoured for her dedication to the transport industry

The list of accolades continues for this industry stalwart, who has just become the latest recipient of the Trish Pickering Memorial Award.

Presented annually, the Trish Pickering Memorial Award was started in 2019 to recognise women who are dedicated to improving the transport industry have made an outstanding contribution over a prolonged period.

It is based on the pillars of independence, strength, leadership, encouragement of others and being a role model.

Sharon Middleton AM was presented with the 2023 award in Adelaide this week by Transport Women Australia Limited chair (TWAL) Jacquelene Brotherton and award sponsor Wes Pickering.

Brotherton commended Middleton who has devoted her life to the trucking industry, her husband Bob and her charity Foundation Shine Inc.

Middleton is the director of Whiteline Transport, president of the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA), an ATA board member, a former director of Transport Women Australia Limited, was inducted into the Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2014 and in 2019 was formally recognised by the RTHF as an Industry Icon.

Middleton was also named National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year in 2013, was awarded the SARTA Outstanding Contribution Award in 2011, and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2019 Honours List for her service to the road transport industry.

“Sharon has been an inspiration to many, in her native South Australia, and across Australia, through her lengthy commitment and dedication to her industry,” said Wes Pickering.

“So many of our women (and men) deliver a lifetime of voluntary work and extra effort, on top of their ‘day’ job.”

He continued, “These people do not do it for the glory, or benefits to themselves, but to improve life for others – and they set a powerful daily example. Sharon is an exceptional contributor in exactly these ways, and it is very special to be able to recognise Sharon personally today. Congratulations Sharon and thank you.”

In accepting the award, Middleton said, “Well what a day, in what was a crazily busy day an unexpected, but most welcome surprise visit occurred with you, Wes Pickering and Steve Shearer on my doorstep with cakes, a gorgeous posy of flowers and a very special award, none other than the Trish Pickering Memorial Award as sponsored by Wes.

“I am very grateful for the board and their consideration and feel very honoured to join the ranks of Pammy McMillan and Phyl Jones – great friends of mine – and of course the amazing Merry and Hazel.”

Middleton added, “It is wonderful that TWAL is there to support and encourage women to enter the industry as a career of choice – something 40 years ago was quite rare, but not only that, normalise the concept of women in the industry and what it is they can contribute.

“In addition, for all of industry – men and women – discuss our experiences so we can advocate for positive change for all working in the industry irrespective of gender. All drivers dream of greater facilities on the highway, especially in our rural and remote areas as one example.

“To be acknowledged this way certainly was a boost to my morale and again thank you for organising the special handover.”

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