Posted on 08/07/2012 by David Radke
Since its founding in 2007, the Women in Trucking Association has garnered increasing attention for its efforts to bring women into the trucking industry. But the group, or more specifically its founder, Ellen Voie, got a different kind of attention when she was invited to the White House to celebrate Women in Trucking's success.
Voie, who serves as president and chief executive officer in addition to having founded the group, was brought to Washington, D.C., to meet with Ray LaHood, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, as part of the Obama administration's Champions of Change program.
Champions of Change looks to bring in "ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things," highlighting different sectors of the economy each week. This week the White House brought in Voie and a dozen other innovators in the transportation sector, an area that has gotten some renewed attention over the past few months as Congress debated and then finally passed a new transportation bill.
For Voie, the big contribution has been helping bring women into an industry that, for a long time, has been dominated by men, while also helping point out some of the workplace issues and other challenges that have helped to keep many women away. Particularly with the industry struggling to find enough candidates that meet the DOT's strict driver qualification rules, the group's efforts have been a boon for trucking.
"It is very exciting to have Ellen recognized for her work. It is evidence that Women In Trucking’s efforts to bring awareness to the great careers in the transportation industry is being recognized," said Leigh Foxall, the chairwoman of Women In Trucking, who also attended the event. "It was an honor for both Ellen and members of the board to attend this event at the White House on behalf of the entire trucking industry."
But Women in Trucking's impact has not has not been restricted to the U.S. The group announced last month that it planned, with the help of Volvo Trucks North America, to send Voie abroad to the Elmia Lastbil 2012 International Trade Fair in Elmia, Jonkoping, Sweden, at the end of August. There she will be offering an international perspective on the role of women in the trucking industry.
"Our efforts to increase Sweden's driver workforce is urgent, and our need to better understand how to attract and retain female drivers is a factor," said Bill Rehn, CEO of the The Vocational Training and Working Environment Council.