Author Archives: Ellen Voie

About Ellen Voie

Ellen Voie founded Women In Trucking with the goal to promote the employment of women in this industry, remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and celebrate the successes of its members.

You missed it!

We just wrapped up the 2019 Accelerate! Conference and Expo in Dallas, Texas.  If you weren’t one of the 1,123 registered attendees, you missed one of the most inspiring, educational, and motivational events of the year.

The presentations ranged from driver recruiting (with a focus on female drivers) to communication styles to self-defense.  Every speaker was a recognized expert in her (or his) field.

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Women In Trucking Association, A voice for gender diversity

Regan is a professional driver for YRCW.  When she started working for the carrier, she identified as a male but has since transitioned into a female.  She is one of the members of the gender diversity task force recently formed by the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) to understand the needs of the LGBTQ community better.

We realize there is a growing number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer professional drivers and other transportation workers.  As the voice of gender diversity, we want to ensure we are inclusive and to create an awareness within the trucking industry.

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Our Roads Our Safety

For those of us in the trucking industry, we are well aware that the four-wheeler causes most crashes involving a commercial truck.  It’s frustrating for all of us that student drivers to senior drivers are unaware of the blind spots, stopping distances and the massive weight of a tractor-trailer.

Every time the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) creates (or changes) regulations that affect professional drivers, I hear complaints that they are the safe drivers and someone needs to educate the motoring public.  These drivers feel as if the rules should apply to all drivers and not just those in 18-wheelers.

What they don’t understand is that the FMCSA CANNOT regulate cars.  They were designed to regulate trucks and busses, and that’s why they have “Motor Carrier” in their name.  The states have more authority to regulate automobiles, but the only federal agency that creates rules to govern cars is the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.


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Trucking isn’t so different!

I was recently reading a trade journal when I found an article titled “The Seven Percent.”* It was about the lack of women in the industry and how the numbers aren’t moving fast enough.

The statistics showed that there is currently a significant operator shortage, and more than 320,000 new operators will be needed within the next ten years.  To add to the deficit, the average operator is about 46 years old, and more than forty percent are over the age of 50.

The article described the lack of women in the profession is crucial.  Although women accounted for nearly 13 percent of students, only seven percent of them ended up working in the field.  Continue reading

Thanking people for doing their job.

This week I traveled to Australia to speak at a conference. On my flight from Sydney to Perth, I was pulled aside for additional screening for explosives. The agent passed a wand over my luggage, my shoes and my hands. He then put the wand into a reader before he let me go. I thanked him for doing his job and went on my way.

On my return flight, I was again “selected” for additional screening and went through the process again. I made a point to thank the agent for doing his job.

Many people would feel inconvenienced for being pulled aside for additional screening. However, these people are only doing their job. They are asked to pick travelers at random and check them for explosives. Did I enjoy the process? No . Did I appreciate the delay? No . However, I did appreciate the fact that these people were helping to keep us all safe by looking for potential explosive material. Continue reading

A little history….

March is Women’s History Month, so I thought this blog should be about the history of the Women In Trucking Association through my experience as the founder. I am repeatedly asked the question of why I started the organization, so here is my story.

First, I’ll go back many years to “set the stage.”  I was one of the lucky people whose mom told me I could do anything I wanted, and there were no “girl” careers. She encouraged me when I took shop class instead of home ick (okay, home ec).  I learned woodworking, welding, drafting and auto mechanics.  Continue reading

Who’s looking out for you?

This blog is a little more personal than most.  This morning I learned a first cousin (Rick) passed away, alone, in his apartment.  He was divorced, and his children had moved on.  He was found by a colleague who was concerned.  He died alone.  The details are still sketchy, but it’s still a sad story.

What makes this more tragic is that another one of my first cousins (Dave), on the other side of the family, passed away in the same way only a year ago.  He was younger than me, but he drank heavily and made a lot of bad choices when it came to relationships. In fact, he had been separated for decades, but never made an effort to get a divorce.  Yep, you got it; the ex-wife inherited everything, including the house and what little savings he had accumulated. Continue reading

What a year it’s been!

As we close the calendar pages on 2018, we wanted to take the opportunity to look back at the amazing growth and successes for Women In Trucking (WIT) Association this past year.

In January we started the weekly Women In Trucking Show on SiriusXM’s Road Dog Channel 146.  Every Saturday, WIT President Ellen Voie interviews guests on topics as diverse as self defense, drones, trade show and so much more.  This has given us the opportunity to reach an even great audience and to interact with current and potential members on the air.

We were also thrilled to announce a new platform on our website for our members to meet each other virtually and to interact online.  The Engage Platform is fast becoming a way to share best practices, find solutions from other members and to just meet others with the same concerns or challenges. We recently launched the Engage App as well to reach even more of our members. Continue reading

Eight wishes for 2019 from Women In Trucking Association

This year, we’d like to share our hopes for the coming year with ten ways to support the Women In Trucking Association mission to increase the percentage of women employed in the trucking industry.

#1        More carriers will start monitoring their percentages of female drivers and will set targets to increase those levels.  They should hold recruiters, dispatchers, and everyone in management accountable for not only hiring more women, but retaining the ones they already have.  Ten years ago, carriers insisted they didn’t care about the age, gender or race of their drivers. Now more and more companies are understanding why we should focus more on diversity.  The WIT Index tracks progress in the percentage of over the road female drivers and although it’s increased to 7.89 percent in 2018 (up from 7.13 percent in 2017), we still have a long way to go. Continue reading

Nontraditional careers: Introducing girls to technology in supply chain

The government defines a nontraditional career as one where over 75 percent of the workforce is of the opposite gender.  We’ve always known that the trucking industry has been a nontraditional career choice for women, but we often point to diesel engines, time away from home and loading and unloading as reasons women aren’t interested.

If that is the case, then why do women only comprise twenty-six percent of jobs in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM.  These jobs typically pay higher wages and have low levels of unemployment.  Despite the efforts of groups like “Girls in Tech,” “Women in Technology,” and “Girls Who Code,” the number remain stubbornly low. Continue reading