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What women want: home time, good pay and training, plus a mentor to help ease the way



We’ve all heard this second part of an old nursery rhyme:


What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice
And everything nice,

That’s what little girls are made of.


Let’s throw out that stereotype and start fresh.

Because although women make up around 50 percent of the population, they make up only just shy of 7 percent of truck drivers — 5-6 percent if we’re talking owner-operators says OOIDA — and far too few women hold board and management positions at trucking carriers and other trucking-related businesses.

It’s not that trucking hasn’t made great strides in bringing women into the industry.

After all, professional women drivers who were industry pioneers remember when there were no restroom facilities for women and women truckers were an anomaly on the road.

Goldie Seymour, National Carrier Inc.’s 2014 Driver of the Year and their first woman to earn the title, said, “When I first started, females didn’t drive. You just didn’t see women on the road” as truck drivers. “I can remember when you took a shower, you had to make someone stand guard because the showers were in the men’s restrooms.”

Women drivers also had to put up with lewd comments on the CB and were told to go back to the kitchen where they belonged.

So trucking has come a long way, baby. But there’s still a long way to go, and it can’t happen soon enough with truck turnover at 95 percent or higher for large carriers and 84 percent or higher for small truckload carriers. Not to mention that the American Trucking Associations is pegging the driver shortage at 50,000 with the potential to rise to 174,000 by 2024.

“Granted, we have to do better at attracting women to the industry,” said David Heller, the Truckload Carriers Association’s vice president of legislative affairs.

“But we might as well ask where are all the drivers, period, as where are all the women drivers,” he said. “There’s no magic bullet.”

Part of it is “overcoming stereotypes, I think. You talk about drivers and you’re just used to saying he or him, not she or her; you catch yourself. The question of where all the drivers are is now gender neutral.

“It’s a whole new horizon for our industry,” he said, adding that perhaps the same things that attract younger drivers, such as technology-laden truck cabs and more creature comforts, will attract more women as well.

The biggest reason more women aren’t in the industry is that trucking’s image is still that of an all-male job, said Ellen Voie, president and CEO of Women In Trucking (WIT) and herself a CDL holder. “Women just don’t look at the industry as being for them. They see a truck and don’t know anything about it. There’s no connection between that gallon of milk and the driver on the road.”

Trucking’s got to do a better job with that, Voie said, and toward that end she’s come up with a series of dolls dressed in uniforms depicting various trucking-related jobs and not surprisingly, a truck driver is the first one to be presented this spring.

You’ll hear many in the trucking industry talking about a “culture of safety.”

What about creating a culture that attracts and retains females — drivers, dock workers and middle and senior level administrators? A. Duie Pyle Chief Operating Officer Randy Swart, said the LTL carrier, which also offers specialized truckload services through their brokerage and TL solutions, hasn’t focused on hiring women, per se.

But, “It’s more that of a culture. Our culture and processes in general have resulted in that.”

The thing is, he added, is that Pyle promotes people of both sexes from within and gives them the training and opportunity to move up the corporate ladder.

Specifically, he said, the carrier recognizes “discretionary effort,” that is, employees who go above and beyond the norm. These men and women aren’t forced out of a job they love but are given the opportunity and training to move up if they choose.

Having women in leadership and visible helps drivers see women at the top who would understand them, said Voie.

In WIT’s constantly updated index of publicly traded companies, some carriers have no women in leadership or on their boards, which Voie said she found “amazing” in this day and age.

As Swart mentioned, however, not all women drivers want to move up the corporate ladder. What attracts them to trucking is what attracts many of their male counterparts: They want the freedom of the open road and they want a good, reliable paycheck.

Your average female driver is already in her 50s, Voie noted. “A lot of them don’t want an office position; they love being on the road.”

Women want the same things as men, really, said Garner Trucking President and CEO Sherri Garner Brumbaugh: More home time and time with their children.

Since women are usually the designated care-giver when it comes to children, it becomes a juggling act. Garner Trucking, Inc. has answered that problem by offering both men and women drivers four days home and four days on the road.

More frequently, she added, male drivers want more time with their children, and it’s “hard to argue with that.”

The most successful driver, male or female, has to have a strong support system at home, Brumbaugh noted.

With a woman driver, “the spouse has to be comfortable with the wife out driving a truck” she said. Research by the U.S. Department of Labor has found that the younger the children at home, the greater the challenge of the mother working away from home. Take the days and weeks truck drivers spend on the road and the problem for female drivers multiplies exponentially.

Truck driver Deb Bosworth, a charter member of WIT said: “Women say, ‘I couldn’t do that,’ and I say, ‘sure you could. You just need the right training. But if you want to be home every night, it’s probably not for you.’”

Do women need to be trained differently than men?

No, but they appreciate having a woman trainer and they also want a mentor. That’s what a Best Practices Survey commissioned for WIT found out.

Next: More on what the Best Practices survey found and a FMCSA survey on verbal and physical abuse of women drivers.







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The Nation

Love’s, its customers raise more than $3.75 million for children’s hospitals



Love’s showed additional support for CMN Hospitals on National Coffee Day, which took place September 29-30 during the store campaign. To honor the day, all hot beverages were discounted to $1, with sales going to CMN Hospitals. (Courtesy: LOVE'S)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores and its customers raised more than $3.75 million for sick and injured children through its five-week store campaign to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. In the 20th year of the campaign, the company surpassed its goal of $3.6 million and set a company record for the most money raised during a campaign.

“We are so thankful to our employees and customers who not only donate at our stores, but who also go out of their way to raise money for sick and injured children in creative ways,” said Jenny Love Meyer, vice president of communications for Love’s. “Each year, we enjoy seeing communities come together for this effort and we couldn’t be prouder to have raised over $3.75 million for this year’s campaign.”

From August 26-September 30, customers could purchase Miracle Balloons, round up to the nearest dollar at registers or pumps or participate in events like 5k runs or fishing tournaments to donate money to CMN Hospitals.

Love’s showed additional support for CMN Hospitals on National Coffee Day, which took place September 29-30 during the store campaign. To honor the day, all hot beverages were discounted to $1, with sales going to CMN Hospitals.

“We are excited about the results of this year’s Love’s fundraising campaign,” said John Lauck, president and CEO of CMN Hospitals. “Not only did 2019 mark a 20-year milestone of partnership between Love’s and CMN Hospitals but more exciting, Love’s also crossed $31 million in donations to help sick and injured children treated in our hospitals across the U.S.”

Of the 170 CMN Hospitals throughout North America, 107 benefit from Love’s annual campaign.




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The Nation

Average price of gallon of diesel increase half a cent



The price for the week ending October 14 was 34.3 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel increase four tenths of one cent to $3.051 for the week ending October 14, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

Normally posted on Monday of each week, the average price chart was released Tuesday because the federal government was closed Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.

All but two regions of the country posted increases led by a 1.9 cent increase in the Rocky Mountain states (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado).

The New England states (Maine, Vermont, Hew Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) was the only region showing a decline at five tenths of one cent.

The price for the week ending October 14 was 34.3 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018.


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The Nation

DeFazio asks IG to investigate reports of Chao’s conflicts of interest



In requesting an investigation of Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Rep. Peter DeFazio cites newly-obtained information from a recent media report that suggested Chao used her office to give preferential treatment to organizations and projects in Kentucky where her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is currently seeking re-election. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is requesting an investigation into Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and her reported conflicts of interest.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., made the request in a letter to Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III.

The letter, sent October 11, cites newly-obtained information from a recent media report that suggested Chao used her office to give preferential treatment to organizations and projects in Kentucky where her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is currently seeking re-election.

Politico reported that 25% of Secretary Chao’s meetings with local officials between January 2017 and March 2018 were with individuals from Kentucky.

DeFazio said the report noted that requests for meetings with Chao are typically forwarded from McConnell’s office to Chao’s chief of staff, who previously worked on McConnell’s Senate campaign, DeFazio wrote.

The Office of the Secretary of Transportation took exception to DeFazio efforts.

DeFazio said the Politico report followed an earlier report that Chao had asked her chief of staff to serve as an intermediary between her office and McConnell’s office, and that he had helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on federal grants of particular significance to McConnell.

“These allegations were first raised by left wing advocacy groups and hashed out in the media, and the department has previously fully responded to them. They are politically motivated and intended to waste time. While the Department will always be cooperative and responsive to appropriate requests, DOT looks forward to a prompt and final resolution of these questions,” a DOT spokesman told The Trucker Tuesday.

“Allegations included the steering of discretionary grants to fund these projects,” DeFazio wrote.  “I would expect Secretary Chao to meet with individuals from her home state more regularly than other states, but the sheer volume of meetings with local officials from Kentucky when compared to meetings with local officials from the rest of the country creates an appearance of favoritism that is troubling.  Even more troubling is the fact that McConnell’s campaign touted the Politico article on social media saying, ‘Mitch McConnell is a Kentucky Asset.’”

DeFazio said news reports have also raised questions about Chao’s adherence to her federal ethics agreement in which she agreed to divest certain assets to prevent her personal finances from creating conflicts of interest.

In particular, it has been reported that the secretary retained stock in Vulcan Materials, a stone and asphalt producer, as opposed to accepting a cash payment for her stock options in the company, as provided for in her ethics agreement.




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