Ellen Voie

Women in Trucking
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Ellen Voie founded the Women In Trucking Association in 2007 and serves as the nonprofit’s President/CEO. Women In Trucking was formed to promote the employment of women in the trucking industry, remove obstacles that might keep them from succeeding, and to celebrate the successes of its members. Ellen was the Manager of Retention and Recruiting Programs at Schneider National, Inc.,

Ellen earned a diploma in Traffic and Transportation Management while employed as Traffic Manager for a steel fabricating plant in 1979.  She is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with an MA in Communication from UW-Stevens Point, where she completed her research on the complex identities of women married to professional drivers. She holds a Class A CDL. In 2012 Ellen was honored by the White House as a Transportation Innovator Champion of Change

Aviation and trucking

There are so many similarities between aviation and trucking. Both industries have a need for operators (pilots or drivers), mechanics, dispatchers and both groups are anticipating a severe shortage of personnel due to an aging demographic and regulatory changes.

From driver to leader….

When we announced the 2015 Women In Trucking Influential Woman of the Year; there were many comments on social media about the absence of professional drivers from the list.

Is there a career progression from professional driver to industry leader?  Probably not.

The characteristics that make a good, safe, professional driver are not the same as those of a woman who is working her way up the corporate ladder.

Promoting all women in the trucking industry

The Women In Trucking Association represents all women employed in the trucking industry.  We represent the women who design the trucks, build the trucks, buy the trucks, fix the trucks and drive the trucks.  If you are one of the five percent of female drivers or one of the fourteen percent of female managers in the trucking industry, we are here for you.

Do quotas work?

In an effort to promote diversity at the CEO level, Norway implemented a quota on publicly traded corporations.  In 2003, this mandate went into effect.  At the time, there were 563 firms listed in the stock market.

Hiring Veterans

It’s no secret that the trucking industry is experiencing a need for qualified drivers. Many carriers have made a commitment to hire more veterans for both driving and managerial positions. However, the unemployment rate for veterans continues to be an area of concern for both employers and the government.  Did you know there were over 500,000 unemployed veterans as of December 2014 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics? They also reported that 1.5 million veterans were only employed in part time positions.

Trucking raises its image in 2015

As the capacity crunch becomes more intense there will be changes in the trucking industry that will turn the public perception into a more positive image.

Sweden's “Gymnasieskola": an answer to the driver shortage?

The common perception by the general public is that truck drivers often pursue the career as a last resort. Maybe they were laid off from a construction or factory job and they responded to a recruiting ad to obtain a CDL and become a professional driver. This perception isn’t entirely misleading.

Transportation Patch for Girl Scouts

The Women In Trucking Association’s primary purpose is to increase the percentage of women in the trucking industry. In an effort to provide exposure to young girls who might not have considered a career in trucking, we initiated a Transportation Patch for the Girl Scouts of America.

In partnership with the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, the curriculum was designed to provide the girls with insight into the trucking industry. The event was planned for October 13th, which was Columbus Day and there was no school scheduled.

The weakest link

In Supply Chain Management, collaboration is essential for the seamless transfer of property, paperwork and accountability from the shipper to the receiver.  Why would this process be compromised by anyone within the sequence? Think about the phrase, “supply chain management.”  The word chain has two distinct meanings; the first is, “ a group of enterprises or institutions of the same kind or function usually under a single ownership, management, or control.”  This is the meaning we generally accept when referring to supply chain man

What does your recruiting ad message say about your company?

Before you create an ad campaign, you must first determine whom you want to recruit.  Sure, you want drivers, but are you targeting owner-operators or company drivers, regional or long haul, flatbed or dry van, men or women?

Men or women?  Why should your ad consider the reader’s gender, aren’t all drivers looking for the same thing…pay, home time, equipment, etc?  Not necessarily, if you truly want to recruit women you might consider changing your message and your graphic to be more inclusive.

Physical challenges for female drivers 2

The seats in trucks seem to be the most challenging part of the design when it comes to ergonomics.  Without the ability to comfortably reach the pedals, controls and levers, it becomes an issue of safety for many people who are not easily accommodated while driving. 

Adding to the safety considerations, seat comfort is crucial in supporting the driver’s back. A study by the Kentucky College of Nursing found that back pain is the second most cited health condition for professional drivers. 

Physical differences between men and women

Men experience an increase in blood pressure and adrenaline levels while women have a greater heart rate level when exposed to stressful situations.  This could suggest that stress is more regulated by the nervous system in men and the metabolic system in women. 

Women are not small men

A while ago I was asked to participate in a panel discussion at the Transportation Research Board Conference in Washington, D.C.  The overall topic for the panel was “Safety and Security Design for Female Transportation Workers.”  My segment focused on “Challenges in Equipment Design,” and since I represent women in the trucking industry, my information related to women in trucking! 

How has the industry changed to attract female drivers?

There are carriers that are becoming more aggressive in their efforts to recruit female drivers because of the benefits women bring. Not just as drivers filling a need, but as well-qualified employees who bring a different perspective to the job.

As drivers, women take fewer risks according to Ron Kipling, author of “Safety for the Long Haul.” Kipling credits this trait as being related to differences in the level of testosterone between men and women.

Five tips to engage your female drivers

Following are ways some carriers that have joined Women In Trucking Association as corporate members are engaging their female drivers:  

1. Find a way to bring them together. Host an event or give them all t-shirts that identify them as drivers for your company.

Physical challenges for female drivers
October 2, 2014

Great question, as it is all about adaptability in allowing greater ranges for reach differences in arms and legs.

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