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Archive for November, 2018

Women in Trucking – Another Opportunity for Women to Impact an Industry

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Photo courtesy of Deb Schroeder- Women in Trucking

The advancement of women in the workplace is an ongoing theme in the trades world. Organizations like Women’s Industry Network, TED Women, Women Auto Know, and others have come into existence in the last decade or more. These organizations empower women by providing guidance in overcoming adversity. In the trucking industry, a workforce that has been historically male-dominated, Women in Trucking has emerged.

Women in Trucking’s (WIT) mission is dedicated to encouraging the establishment and promotion of women as professionals within all sectors of the trucking industry. This includes professions ranging from logistics operations, to OEM engineering positions, to administrative or leadership roles with suppliers of the industry, to even truck drivers themselves.

The organization supports its aim by assisting in this transition. WIT identifies and eliminates obstacles that inhibit women from involvement or progression. WIT takes the mission a step further and also celebrates female leaders already within the industry and purposefully recognizes companies that support diversity.

Earlier this month a group of nearly 800 women and men, from different sectors of the trucking industry gathered at the Embassy Suites in Frisco, Texas for the WIT Accelerate! Conference. In its fourth year of execution, the conference saw an almost doubled increase in attendance from the year prior. The increase in attendance alone boasts the progress of women within this industry. Conference offerings included a small trade show-style floor, networking opportunities, educational sessions for professional development, and informational sessions clarifying the state of the industry.

Women in leadership positions, like Kelly Goebert and Lauren Attainasi from Daimler Trucks North America, spoke to attendees about the progress the OEM has made in both technological and electrification advancements on its trucks. They also shared the hand they have in that progress and discussed how they manage such influential changes in their professional and personal lives.

The conference celebrated women’s progress in transportation with two evening receptions. One, which was preceded by an award ceremony recognizing WIT’s “Top 50 Companies for Women to Work for in Transportation”. According to the event website, the companies receiving the award have established “corporate cultures that foster gender diversity; competitive compensation and benefits; flexible hours and work requirements; professional development opportunities; and career advancement opportunities.”

WIT continuously looks to promote the opportunities for women within the trucking industry. A recent notable endeavor is the execution of a longtime aspiration of WIT founder, Ellen Voie; the creation of Clare, the Trucking Doll. Clare’s purpose is to provide young girls with a new perception of the trucking industry. One that fosters the understanding that, “The world is wide open for girls today… (and) whatever they want to be is just great – whether that’s a teacher or an ad exec or a professional driver.” Clare can be purchased via this link or through AmazonSmile.

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Road to Green: Professionalism – Defining the Real Meaning for Your HD Business

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The term has been talked about within the Aftermarket Industry for decades…….. “Professionalism” and “being a Professional”, who is professional and who is not? The question is confusing today.

Professionalism means several different things in the Heavy Duty shop owner’s mind-set. There is an ironic view in its traditional meaning. For decades a professional was exactly what a HD technician, shop owner or parts supplier was not. It has always been assumed that there was a higher purpose to professional activities than merely making a living. This put professional people on a higher social level than those “in trade”, who in turn were assumed to have only money in mind when doing their work. Our education systems are guilty of promoting this concept and each of us should seize the opportunity if we get a chance to interact with the local education system to get this fallacy corrected.

In the public’s eye, professionals are supposed to “know their stuff”, meaning they know exactly what they are doing at any given time, and they know their subject inside-out. Professional persons tend to present an air of capability for the very good reason that what they have to sell is trustworthiness. Professional self-confidence comes from having a sure grasp of the fundamentals of one’s subject. Where self-confidence goes wrong is when a long-term person in the field becomes too sure of what they know, and come to believe that they have completely mastered their subject. The fact is, when they conclude that they know all there is to know, they are no longer professionals, but hacks.

If there is one characteristic of an established professional which sets them apart from other employment, it is the continual renewal of knowledge and expertise through continuous reading, attending seminars, conferences and interacting regularly with industry people.

Consider a HD shop today constantly has to learn about new equipment, new technology advancements on all vehicles, business processes and methods required to move the shop forward in a forever changing marketplace and economy. Like all professionals worthy of a name, professional Technicians, Shop Owners and Parts suppliers will put their client’s welfare before any personal consideration. They will never stop renewing and improving their knowledge and skills. They will conduct themselves with due professional pride and integrity. They will not cut corners, whether in terms of ethics, performance, or quality. Never has there been more need than there is today for professional attitudes within our HD sector of the industry. A great HD Service Industry is one in which men and women within the industry think greatly of their functions. To think greatly of those functions is to regard doing them as a profession whether or not it is so called.

In essence, the professional man or woman is one who behaves professionally, not necessarily one who has been certified by a licensing body. Professionalism cannot be conferred on you by other people. It solely consists of what you expect from yourself. Take a look in the mirror; who do you want to be?