Saturday, April 2, 2016

Women In Trucking "salute" resiliency of female drivers

More than 200 female drivers donned their trademark red shirts for the seventh annual Salute to Women Behind the Wheel. 

Sponsored by the Women In Trucking Association, the event is an annual event to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of female drivers. 

Ellen Voie, CEO of WIT, said the group has three goals: Encourage the employment of women in the transportation industry; address the obstacles women face in seeking or maintaining employment; and celebrate the successes of women in the trucking industry. 

According to the presentation, women make up about 6 percent of drivers in the trucking industry, and an additional 28,000 new female drivers climbed into cabs in 2015, according to a survey by the American Trucking Associations.

The keynote speaker was Kari Rihm, president and CEO of Rihm Kenworth and winner of the 2015 “Influential Woman in Trucking” Award. Rihm took over the family's Kenworth dealership chain in 2010 after her husband died. Under her leadership, Rihm Kenworth has grown from three to five dealerships. Rihm Kenworth is the only 100 percent woman-owned Kenworth dealer in the United States. 

Rihm spoke about the challenges women face as minorities in a male-dominated industry and encouraged those in attendance to "support, encourage and teach one another." She also spoke about the importance of resilience in overcoming barriers.

"Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties," she said. "That means having faith and vision that you can survive the toughest challenges possible." 

The event included the introduction of the 2016 Women In Trucking Image Team, a group of professionals representing drivers, recruiters and other segments of the industry, as well as recognition of five female drivers in attendance who had a combined 218 years of experience driving truck. 

These five Women In Trucking members have a combined 218 years experience behind the wheel.