Tag Archives: Ellen Voie Blog

Sharing Best Practices Around the World

As the trucking industry in North America looks toward women to create a more diverse workforce and to fill talent gaps, nations around the world look toward America to lead the way.

Recently, I was asked to speak at a conference in Hue City, Vietnam to share best practices the Women In Trucking Association has found in our efforts to increase the numbers of women in transportation careers.

The event was called the Women In Transportation initiative which was launched in 2011 by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperative (APEC) to address the growing need to identify barriers and share best practices in four core areas.  These areas include education, access to jobs, retention and leadership development.

The initial group had three objectives; to obtain baseline data on women’s participation in all modes of transportation across the economies covered by APEC, to identify best practices used to increase the numbers of women employed in transportation careers and to continue the dialogue at the Ministerial levels.

Since 2011, events have been held in Washington DC, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines, the most recent being the September event held in Hue City, Viet Nam.  This forum included presentations from government leaders, private sector innovators, and transportation trailblazers.

The Women In Transportation Task Force created the “APEC Women in Transportation Data Framework and Best Practices Report.”   The report outlines the five pillars of focus and then identifies eighteen priority outcomes.  The pillars include education, entry into the sector, retention, leadership and access and use (of transportation services.)

Women In Trucking’s Girl Scout Transportation patch is included in this report for its effectiveness in “providing critical exposure to young girls about the variety of employment opportunities in the transportation sector, including trucking, through fostering an important partnership with a popular local youth organization.”

Other initiatives setting examples of best practices include the Philippines Women in Maritime “She to Sea” mentoring forum to increase gender equality on maritime vessels. The government of Malaysia created the “Women Taxi” pilot program to promote the idea that driving a taxi is an opportunity a woman should consider when looking for a flexible and economically productive career. The Viet Nam Women’s Union Model for Routine Road Maintenance program was created to not only raise the awareness of the importance of rural road maintenance, but to train local citizens in three provinces in maintaining their rural roads.  The project also promoted the use of unions in organizing the training for both men and women.

At the APEC Women In Transportation Conference, three groups were selected to share their successful projects and their results in increasing women’s participation. One of the projects seemed so obvious but wasn’t that simple to resolve initially.  The streets of Viet Nam are filled with scooters.  In fact, motor scooters are the main mode of transportation for 95 percent of drivers in the country and these drivers often have numerous passengers clinging to them as they zip along the streets.

The World Health Organization estimated that sixty percent of all traffic fatalities occurred between scooter drivers and passengers. The government made it mandatory for all scooter drivers and passengers to wear helmets.  There was an issue with one group of rural Vietnamese women who belonged to an ethnic community where married women wore their hair in a bun on top of their heads.  These buns did not allow the women to wear a traditional helmet, so the National Traffic Safety Committee created a helmet with a “bump” on top to accommodate the women’s hair.  These women were now able to ride scooters with the required headgear in place!

At the invitation of the APEC Women in Transportation, I was asked to speak to the group about the Women In Trucking Association’s initiatives to increase gender diversity in transportation areas, focusing on leadership roles in supply chain careers.  I challenged the women to become aware of stereotypes and other issues that inhibit the hiring and promotion of women in nontraditional careers.

The trip to Viet Nam was truly memorable, not only in experiencing new cities and different cultures but in meeting the passionate women (and a few men) at the event.  The challenge in creating a more gender-diverse transportation workforce isn’t limited to the United States but is a topic that is being addressed around the world.  I was honored to participate and share our best practices.

Honesty, Please

A recent report from Stay Metrics, a driver engagement platform, stated that of the 100 professional drivers hired today, 33 of them will quit within three months and another 22 percent will be gone within six months. These numbers should tell us something.

It’s not only difficult to attract and retain drivers, it’s expensive.  The American Trucking Associations reported a slight increase in recent turnover rates at large fleets, despite remaining at what they called, “historically low levels.” The turnover rate, or the percentage of drivers who leave a fleet on a calendar basis is at 74 percent.

What if 74 percent of your recruiters left every year? What if 74 percent of your human resource department left every year? Why do we accept this level of “resignations” from our drivers? Continue reading

Women In Trucking and Uber Freight

The word Uber means “very super.” Uber Freight is working to become a “very super” way to match carriers with shippers through its app.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Uber Freight’s offices in downtown San Francisco and speak with the team about the underrepresentation of women throughout the trucking industry, as well as ways to attract and retain more women into trucking careers.

The team at Uber Freight includes engineers, load planners, sales and marketing professionals and so much more. They seemed to be younger than a typical group of transportation professionals. Many of them came from a technology background, and since they are working to build an app that improves the lives of all truck drivers, they were eager to better understand the unique challenges female drivers face.

My talk focused on the need to raise awareness among women about opportunities in the trucking industry and other areas of transportation. I touched on the challenges in attracting and retaining women as drivers and leaders and offered suggestions as to how we can better address these issues. I also discussed ways WIT is working to improve conditions including truck cab design and ergonomics, harassment, and more inclusive recruiting advertising.

The presentation to the group was well received, and in addition to the four dozen or so folks in the room, the event was also broadcast to Uber Freight’s Chicago office. The questions from the Uber Freight team were focused and insightful, although I would have to admit that I learned as much from them as they learned from me.

As a separate effort from Uber Freight, Uber also has a group working on self-driving technology for both cars and trucks called the Advanced Technologies Group (ATG). The mission of Uber ATG is to create safer roads and save lives with the use of self-driving technology that will remove as much opportunity for driver error as possible. I had a chance to also visit with the ATG team and ride in one of their trucks on the highways around San Francisco. A professional truck driver was in the driver’s seat the entire time while another employee monitoring the laptop was receiving information from the truck’s LiDAR sensors.

The separate teams at Uber Freight and Uber ATG trucks are both working hard to stay ahead of the industry with the use of technology, and WIT is excited to continue working with Uber to build a “very super” future for women across the industry.

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IRS reminds all Heavy Motor Truck Operators to e-File 2290 Tax Returns for the Tax Year 2017-18. This 2290 tax falls due by August 31. Act fast and eFile it today at Tax2290.com & TaxExcise.com

July month tax due

Women In Trucking advances its mission with a Girl Scout Transportation Patch

In October of 2014, eighty four young girls gathered at Olive Harvey School in Chicago, Illinois for the first Girl Scout Transportation event.  These girls heard from a (female) Navistar Engineer who talked about designing trucks to better accommodate women.  They also were given the opportunity to meet two female professional drivers and to climb into the cab of the trucks.

This was the very first Girl Scout event initiated by Women In Trucking Association. Since then at least fourteen more event have been held in the United States and Canada (where they are called Girl Guides.)

The purpose of the Transportation Patch is to expose young girls to careers in the supply chain.  From trucks, to boats and airplanes and pipelines, nearly 800 young girls have now earned the Women In Trucking Transportation Patch.  Inquiries continue to come in from all over the world.  Many are initiated by carriers, some are from truck driving schools, others are from dealers, but many are from Girl Scout (Guide) Troops themselves.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the University of Wisconsin Superior’s Girl Scout Transportation Day.  We started the morning with 21 young girls eager to learn about transportation.  We talked about how their Girl Scout cookies actually start out as grain in a farmer’s field.  The grain is transported, by a truck, to the bakery.  Then, from the bakery to the packaging center the cookies are moved by a truck.  The next step is to send them (via truck) to the distribution center.  After the cookies are transported to the regional Girl Scout office, the delivery is made by the Girl Scout to the customer.  The girls related to the supply chain lesson and will now identify trucks as potentially hauling their cookies.

We took a tour of the S. S. Meteor, the world’s last Whaleback Ship.  The girls were fascinated by the massive cargo holds, but took a special interest in the Captain and Crew’s sleeping and eating quarters.  The tour guide allowed each group to tug on the air horn!

The next stop was a ride on the North Shore scenic railroad.  The ride included a pizza lunch after a visit to the museum. The girls learned about trains and how steam locomotives transported workers to various locations in northing Minnesota.

After returning to the University, the girls were separated into three groups.  Each group had the opportunity to move between learning stations.  As one group of girls learned about airplanes and how lift and trust affect the way the airplane flows through the atmosphere, another group made a pipeline and watched it “erupt” like a volcano.  The last group met a female professional driver, Terri, who showed them her truck and let them pull the air horn.

By the end of the day, the girls had learned about all modes of transportation, but more importantly, they were exposed to people who operated these engines and what the job entails.

The Women In Trucking Association developed the curriculum and the patches with the Greater Chicago/Northern Indiana regional office.  The curriculum is free to corporate members of the association, and the patches can be purchased at cost for $1 each.

This project will also be supplemented by an activity guide depicting the supply chain path of the cookies from the field to the final mile, which is the Girl Scout.  This activity guide is currently being produced by the Women In Trucking Association and will be available for our members later this year.

For more information about the Women In Trucking’s Girl Scout (Guide) Transportation Patch and curriculum, please contact Char@womenintrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.

This project supports the organization’s mission to encourage more women to look at careers in transportation and supply chain and by reaching young girls through the Transportation Patch this mission is being accomplished.

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Form 2290 is Now Due for the new tax year 2017 – 18, PreFile is now available Tax Excise tax 2290

 

 

Being recognized by Todd the TSA agent.

The reports about airline incidents have been numerous lately and don’t seem to be stopping.  Maneuvering through a busy airport, like Atlanta or Chicago, is not fun. In fact, it’s frustrating and challenging, even for frequent flyers who know what to expect.

As President of the Women In Trucking Association, I spend a lot of time flying to meetings, conferences and speaking engagements. I stick with Delta, as there aren’t a lot of choices at my home airport in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Continue reading

JumpStart Auto Repair, a Garage for Good

While the trucking industry seeks more women to fill the roles of driver, technician and leader, the automotive industry has some of the same challenges. It’s still not common to see female mechanics working on your car.  Even less common is a shop run by women for women.

That’s the goal of JumpStart Auto Repair in Appleton, Wisconsin.  Their mission is to provide honest, reliable service to women, who reportedly make up 65 percent of all car repair decisions.

Their focus is even more targeted, as their partners are two domestic abuse shelters in the area, the Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs and Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services.  The number one reason someone will return to an abusive relationship. So, JumpStart LLC, a garage for good, was created. Continue reading

A decade of steering toward diversity

In 2007 a group of influential, successful women met in Las Vegas to create a mission statement for a new organization called “Women In Trucking (WIT).” These women knew what it was like to be outnumbered at every industry event where they would search the room for another female to make a connection.  Their goal was simple, to increase the number of women employed in trucking, from driver to board member, diversity was the challenge.

Although women are still a minority in trucking, the Women In Trucking Association is moving the needle. In the past ten years, we’ve made great strides in increasing the ranks of women through numerous initiatives.  To name a few….WIT-logo-10-year

The Girl Scout (Girl Guide) Transportation Patch was created in cooperation with the Greater Chicago/Northern Indiana Girl Scouts. The curriculum guide is available only from the Women In Trucking Association. Numerous troops across North America have learned been able to see a truck close up and learn about careers as drivers, managers and other roles in transportation. Continue reading