WILLISTON - When Trevis Alton met the 21-year-old woman, he saw someone who was motivated and wanted to learn.

Hanna Olson, of Enumclaw, Wash., looked at him and said, “If you want a good hotshot driver, I’m your gal,” as she held two thumbs up pointed toward her.

He thought to himself, “I’ll take a chance on this kid.”

Olson, now 22, moved to Williston three years ago as a 19-year-old high school dropout to work and make a lot of money.

“I heard the work was good, came and checked it out and a week later I convinced my cousin and her boyfriend to move over here. They left after six months, and I'd rather stay out here and work,” she said.

Grateful for the company housing and increased hourly wage as a cashier, Olson, who grew up on a 15-acre farm soon near Mt. Rainier, learned the cost of living was high in the boomtown.

It was during a short stint delivering small parts to locations for an oilfield company where she first saw hotshots - drivers who quickly respond to requests for tools and equipment using a 1-ton pickup with a flatbed trailer.

With the help of a roommate, who saw her struggling and wanting more, Olson got her commercial driver’s license permit. But without a truck and trailer and the skills necessary to take the practical test, her dream eluded her until she met Alton after cold-calling a dozen hotshot companies.

“He is a big part of my life out here, he's supported me in everything I've done,” Olson said. “He helped me when I was rock bottom, just starting out, no money. He gave me an advance to get going.”

Alton, who owns a small Williston-based hotshot company, saw in Olson someone eager to work and without bad driving habits. He said he worked with her for a good two to three weeks teaching her how to load and strap down equipment as well as the dos and don’ts of hauling a 40-foot trailer.

“We went out to a couple of rigs with him,” Olson said. “He went out a picked up a couple of loads and showed me how to do it. … It took two, three weeks and then he said, ‘You're on your own.’ I had to learn from there. I started driving in the middle of the winter of 2012,” Olson said.

She now works for Dragoon Logistics, a company based in Kalispell, Mont., and hopes to one day own her own truck and trailer, which would allow her to make more money.

The self-described tomboy and country music fan enjoys the solitude of the open road and the beauty of North Dakota sunrises and sunsets. The weather is the greatest challenge, along with the drivers who “don’t know how to drive in the winter.”

Being on-call seven days a week can be tiring, too.

“The oilfield is 24/7. We get called in the middle of the night,” Olson said. “Sometimes I have to find my fifth wind.”

For someone who came to Williston with no set goals, she’s proving she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to including shedding more than 60 pounds, staying healthy and working toward greater financial freedom.

“I sometimes wonder what my life would be like had I never left Enumclaw. I’m glad I have a chance to be here, glad this happened when I was so young,” Olson said.