Hey there, Star Fleet drivers!
As many of you already know, Star Fleet Trucking has always taken great pride in being an equal-opportunity employer. In an effort to take a stronger stance on this issue, Star Fleet reached out to Ellen Voie, the president and CEO of Women in Trucking, an organization dedicated to helping women achieve gainful and fair employment in the trucking industry.
When she was first approached about a career in the transportation industry, Ellen was working in a steel fabrication plant. “It was not my first choice for a career,” Ellen says. “In high school, my desire was to be a broadcast journalist!” Ellen’s company sent her to school, where she earned a degree in Traffic & Transport Management, allowing her to work as a free-lance transportation consultant for the next 18 years while she raised a family and completed Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Communication. Though she does not drive for a living, Ellen has made sure to keep her CDL up to date since 2008.
As the head of Women in Trucking, Ellen faces challenges that are unique to someone in her position. One of these tasks, she says, is tackling the male-dominated environment that permeates the trucking industry. “It will take a culture shift to make us more inclusive and have more diversity,” Ellen says. “It’s not that [trucking] doesn’t want more women and minorities; I think it’s more a matter of understanding how to embrace and capitalize on these differences in work style, opinions, and attitudes.” This, Ellen stresses, is where Women in Trucking comes in.
“[Our] mission is to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, to address any obstacles that might keep women from entering or succeeding in the industry, and to celebrate successes of women who have been influential in the industry.” Though at first glance, Women in Trucking might seem exclusively female, Ellen assures us that this is not the case. In fact, out of the nearly 4000 individuals and companies that are proud to affiliate themselves with this organization, a full 16% are men! In addition, Women in Trucking does not skimp on the benefits offered to its members. “We offer discounts on products and services, a weekly newsletter, a regularly published magazine, job boards, mentoring opportunities and networking events… From carriers to drivers to schools to suppliers; whether they design, build, maintain, own or drive the trucks, our members want to see an increase in the number of women who work in trucking.”
Since its creation, Women in Trucking has achieved national acclaim for its message and actions, including making changes to truck cabs for a more ergonomic driving experience, striking partnerships with travel plazas for added security and amenities, and even the creation of a new patch for Girl Scouts called the Transportation Patch. Ellen goes on to say that on top of everything, they are most proud of being recognized by the White House as a “Transportation Innovator Champion of Change” in 2012.
Ellen’s position as the leader of Women in Trucking affords her some incredibly interesting opportunities, not the least of which is the chance to see the world. “My role… allows me to travel all over the world and speak to audiences in Australia, Sweden, France, Canada, and the United States… I spend a great deal of time on the road (and in the air).” In spite of such a hectic schedule, Ellen somehow manages to find time to enjoy herself, whether it’s by reading, riding her motorcycle (a Suzuki 650) or flying her Cessna Skyhawk to hamburger fly-in events across the state.
Ellen encourages anyone interested in the advancement of women’s rights and presence in the trucking industry to join Women in Trucking. “If you believe that we should increase the percentage of women as drivers (currently at 5.2%) and at the management level (currently 14%) then I encourage you to join us and support our mission.”
Winter’s here again, everyone. Stay safe, stay warm, and stay in touch!