Tag Archives: women

Walk through a trade show and see what big hearts are in the trucking industry.

Anyone who thinks the trucking industry has an image problem needs to step up to the challenge and help change it. In fact, at the recent Great American Trucking Show (GATS), there were many opportunities to see how much positive change professional drivers and those who support them initiate.

You might have heard about the ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) Ice Bucket Challenge. Cari Baylor of Baylor Trucking hosted the challenge during the three days of the truck show. The ice and water were quite a contrast to the one hundred plus temperatures in Dallas that week. Many drivers and company and vendor representatives took the challenge and were drenched under the bucket’s cold contents. Continue reading

What does a professional driver love about his or her job?

What attracts someone to the trucking industry?  Is it the freedom of being on the road or is it the above average pay?  Maybe it’s just a last resort for many who are unable to find or keep a job elsewhere.

The Women In Trucking Association, along with University of Wisconsin-Stout graduate students wanted to know the answer to this question.  So, four students in Dr. Jeanette Kersten’s Organizational Development Class conducted research to find out what brings men and women into the trucking industry, as well as what keeps them here. Continue reading

We’re not there yet.

A recent article about FMCSA Administrator, Anne Ferro, prompted numerous responses, but they weren’t all about the issue itself.  Instead, the topic turned to gender and how the reader felt that Ms. Ferro was not qualified to head the administration because she is a woman.

I checked my calendar and it IS 2014, isn’t it?  Can’t we get beyond the issue of gender?  Apparently, we’re not there yet.  Mr. Smith (obviously a pseudo name) claims “women getting into politics and other issues … are guiding us down, down, down.”
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Connecting female pilots and professional drivers

The trucking industry is a male dominated one, but it shares this reputation with other modes of transportation that typically employ mostly men. Lillian Miller, who works for the Federal Aviation Administration, wanted to explore ways to attract more women into transportation careers. She recently released her research,“Women in Transportation are Moving the World.”

Miller compared the airline industry and its efforts to attract and retain women to the trucking industry. Female pilots comprise 6.3 percent of all airline pilots and number about 6,000, while the trucking industry lags at 5.2 percent female drivers, or about 180,000. Although a professional driver must reach age 21 to operate in interstate commerce, a pilot must be at least 23 years old to transport passengers.
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Celebrating the women behind the wheel!

Lillie Elizabeth Drennan never had an easy life. She was given up for adoption when she was three weeks old. She was raised by foster parents. Lillie lost much of her hearing when she contracted scarlet fever. She dropped out of school in fifth grade and worked for a telephone company until her hearing impairment made that the job difficult. She married when she was fifteen years old. She gave birth to a son and was a single, divorced mother by the age of 17. She was married and divorced two more times.

Lillie and her second husband, Ernest Drennan, divorced in 1929 and Lillie took over the trucking business she and Earnest had started. It was called the Drennen Truck Line and based in Hempsted, Texas. That same year, the Railroad Commission granted her a commercial truck driver’s license (CDL). They were reluctant to grant her the CDL because of her hearing impairment, but she demanded they look at her driving record and won her right to drive a commercial vehicle.

Although Lillie was a pioneer and paved the way for the next generation of female professional drivers, after 85 years there are still very few women who have followed her into the seat of a tractor-trailer. Today there are fewer than 200,000 women who are professional drivers.

When Lillie drove her first open cab Model T Ford, the job was physically demanding. In addition to general freight, she hauled oilfield equipment and explosives, sometimes for 48 hours at a stretch.

Today’s cabs are more comfortable and ergonomic and the driver doesn’t always handle the freight. No one drives for 48 hours at a time these days and carriers are looking at the driver more as a partner than a means for capacity.

The Salute to Women Behind the Wheel hosted by the Women In Trucking Association was created to honor the female professional drivers who are today’s Lillie Drennan. These women are still a minority and are often viewed as less capable than their male counterparts.

Each March, during the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, Women In Trucking Association plans a celebration. In addition to bringing in some pretty impressive speakers, such as Anne Ferro (FMCSA), Deborah Hersman (NTSB), and this year, Rebecca Brewster (ATRI), the drivers and their families are treated to music and refreshments. The participants look forward to dipping fruit and snacks into the chocolate fountains. And this year, the 5th anniversary of the Salute, they enjoyed a cake in the shape of a truck.

Sponsors provide the funds to host this event and offer lots of great gifts in the goodie bags each female CDL holder receives. From coffee mugs to insulated coolers, water bottles, and many more gifts geared toward the professional driver’s needs. Exhibitors are on hand to attract the attendees to their companies and products.

Any member of Women In Trucking is invited to attend the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel each year, but only female CDL holders are given the gifts and honored for their service. Each woman wears a red “Salute” t-shirt and a group photo is taken at the end of the celebration.

It’s our way of thanking the women who share the road with men as they deliver our nation’s freight. Although it’s been many years since Lillie Drennan obtained her CDL, it will be many more years before a woman behind the wheel is a common sight.

That’s Women In Trucking’s mission, to encourage the employment of women in the industry, to address obstacles that might keep women from entering (or staying) in this industry and finally, to celebrate their success! That’s the reason for the Salute to the Women Behind the Wheel event in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

If you haven’t seen hundreds of women in their red t-shirts being honored for their service to the trucking industry, please join us when we celebrate at the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel next year!

Article from WIT-Finding common goals

Recently I moved to a more remote area in Wisconsin. I love seeing the wildlife outside my window. I enjoy the turkeys, deer, rabbits, and many kinds of birds.

One especially beautiful male cardinal has become my wake up alarm each morning. He sees his reflection in the window and has determined that the image in the glass is his enemy. He sits on the tree branch and waits for the opportune moment to attack the bird in the window. He gathers his strength and lunges for the image, only to knock his head on the surface before resting on the branch, waiting for the next strike.

I find the process amusing, but I worry about how his little head is sustaining the blows. He can’t seem to take his focus off that red bird he considers is a threat and must be dealt with through physical means.

The cardinal reminds me of many of us in the trucking industry. We become focused on someone or something we consider to be a threat to us and we attack. Usually the attack is verbal, but it’s often because we cannot see things from the other’s perspective.

Drivers often feel their carriers are out to cheat them and some companies create policies to address the mistrust they feel for their drivers. The trucking industry feels under attack from legislators, regulators, and their competitors. We often operate in an atmosphere of suspicion. We think that image in the glass is going to hurt us, when in reality, it’s just a reflection provoking our wrath.

Think about your own situation and how your relationship with others could be more harmonious. Instead of assuming the other person is putting his or her own needs before yours, think about how you would act if you were in the same situation.

Whether you own the truck, drive the truck, or work on the truck, you have one goal in mind. You want to use the truck to earn a decent living, deliver the load for the customer, and get home safely. We should all be able to agree that this is our basic reason for being in the trucking industry.

If you are a driver, you can safely assume your company wants you to deliver the load, make an income, and get home to see your family. How can you work together to make that happen?

You might think your company values profit over their drivers, but if they operated solely with that goal in mind, I doubt any driver would be responding to their recruiting ads these days.

When it comes to your elected and appointed officials, you might feel as if they only care about being re-elected or that their goal is to put you out of business. If you really believe that, you have other issues with your thought process. They are focused on safety on the road, the environment, or whatever the mission their government entity was established to promote. You need to understand their vision and how you fit into that goal. Instead of attacking them, help them better understand the challenges the legislation places on your profession. Try looking out the window from their perspective instead of sitting outside and attacking the glass image, like my cardinal friend.

When I look at a tractor-trailer on the highway, I might see one name on the cab, another on the trailer, and a third name on the container, but I see one driver who is responsible for getting the load to the customer. Just like that one truck, there are so many parts to the trucking industry and so much dissension between the different groups, an outsider would be amazed to see the lack of cooperation while the goal for all involved is the same. Get the load delivered, earn a decent living, and get home safely is the mission.

Don’t be like the cardinal who feels threatened by something he sees, but doesn’t exist. He’s bashing his head for no reason. Stop viewing others as a menace and focus on the industry’s quest to get you home safely with money in your pocket.

Thanksgiving and Giving Thanks

As the leaves turn to bright colors and drop from the trees, we anticipate a change in seasons and the coming of winter holidays. November in the U.S., October in Canada, brings Thanksgiving and a time to reflect on the past year as we share the day with our family and friends.

Thanksgiving was designed as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest. In the U.S., we attribute the observation to the Pilgrims who emigrated from England to the land of opportunity. Some of these settlers moved north into Canada and the traditions were observed in their new environment.

For many, the holiday is a day off from work; although in the trucking industry, that’s not as common. We combine family, friends, and food and, perhaps a parade or football game on television. The focus is on the important things we all share and how our lives are better because of these people and things.

Regardless of our financial or physical situation, we all have something to be thankful for this year. Robert Quillen, an American journalist, once said, “If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.”

If you’re still not ready to spend the day focusing on things you should be thankful for, consider your health. People who count their blessings are healthier and happier than those who don’t. A 2003 survey in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests keeping a list of things you are thankful for will give you a better outlook on life and a more positive attitude.

For students, grateful high-schoolers have better grades and more positive social interaction according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Happiness studies. They are also less depressed than their peers. So encourage your children to be thankful each day, but especially on Thanksgiving.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try making a list of things you are thankful for and you’ll not only fall asleep faster, you’ll stay asleep longer according the an article in the journal of Applied Psychology called Health and Well-Being.

Grateful people make better friends and often have better relationships with their spouse or partner and help promote team happiness when they are involved in team sports (Huffington Post, November, 2012).

Most importantly, being thankful can reduce hypertension and the chance of sudden death for those with coronary artery disease or congestive heart failure (according to a study in the American Journal of Cardiology, 1995). Your immune system also benefits from a positive attitude according to a University of Utah study on law students and pessimism.

Eating turkey and reclining in front of the television might not be the most healthy way to spend a holiday, but if you integrate thankfulness and gratitude you can offset some of the negative effects of the food and lack of activity.

A wikiHow article offers six steps to being more thankful.

1) Relax (reduce anger and frustration to allow positive thoughts)

2) Live in the moment (stop dwelling on the past)

3) Focus on using your senses:  smell, savor, touch, and listen

4) Cherish lightheartedness, like laughter, affection and playfulness

5) Take a vacation (even if it’s a day away from work)

6) Keep a gratitude journal. It’ll remind you of things you have been grateful for in the past.

Giving thanks takes practice, but over time it becomes less challenging and will help make your overall attitude more positive. Thanksgiving is intended as a day to give as a reason to reflect on all the things we should be thankful for.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving from all of us at Women In Trucking Association.

Size matters!

Remember when you were a kid and the bully on the playground liked to pick on the little ones? He couldn’t have been a bully if he were a skinny little youngster. His bulk gave him more confidence than his brain provided. His size was a factor.

Think about what you would do if you found a penny on the sidewalk? Would you reach down and take the time to pick it up? What if that coin were a silver dollar? Would that make a difference? Does size matter when it comes to money?

Why is a marathon so challenging? Couldn’t we just let runners run a mile and give them ribbons for their success in the race? Does the length (size) of the race make a difference?

Does size really matter when it comes to associations? Would you be as willing to join a group that has four members or one that has four hundred or four thousand members? Why does size matter when it comes to Women In Trucking?

There are many reasons that size is crucial for the success of a nonprofit association such as Women In Trucking.

First, when we approach potential members and ask them to join, they want to know how big the organization is and how many people have already joined. They want to be sure that we are a solid, well-established group before they write a check for their dues.

Another reason size matters in associations relates to how much influence we have in regulatory matters that affect our members. If we want to meet with an agency to address concerns about an issue, the more people we represent, the greater the level of power we have as a group. The bigger the association is, the larger our voice is when it comes to matters that concern our members.

Size is also an issue when it comes to member benefits. In order to offer you a member discount on a product or service, we need to show the vendor that they will have a great deal of exposure to potential consumers. The more things we can offer to our members, the more money you will save through your relationship with us.

Why do large families buy things in bulk and purchase items by the case? It’s because the greater the size the less costly the item, but only when more is better. Doing things on a larger scale decreases the cost per person and is more cost effective. Size matters when it comes to shopping.

Companies who join Women In Trucking Association are interested in obtaining exposure to the greatest number of people who might want to do business with them. The more members we represent, the more corporate members we will attract as well.

You’ve heard about ways to increase your strength, increase your financial situation, and increase your status at work or socially. For associations, the goal is to increase members.

This is why we need you. Whether you are a student, driver, dispatcher, maintenance technician, carrier executive, or other industry employee, we need you to help us increase our size. You can do this by becoming a member, or if you’ve already joined, then invite someone else to be a member of Women In Trucking Association.

The more members we represent, the more we can accommodate your needs as an advocate for women in the trucking industry. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, as we welcome anyone who believes in our mission* to join us. We are focused on representing you, and the more of you who support us, the more we can assist you.

Think about it … size does matter and you are an important part of our growth. Call us at 888-464-9482 or join online at www.womenintrucking.org.

*Mission: Women In Trucking was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.