Kari Rihm, president and CEO of Rihm Kenworth, has been named the winner of the fifth annual Influential Woman in Trucking award.
The award was presented to Rihm this week at the Truckload Carriers Assn. annual meeting in Kissimmee, FL. It is presented by Navistar and the Women in Trucking Assn. (WIT).
The Influential Woman in Trucking award recognizes women in the trucking industry who make or influence key decisions, have a proven record of responsibility, and mentor and serve as a role model to other women. WIT and Navistar teamed up to develop the award in 2010 as a way to honor female leaders in trucking, and to attract and advance women within the industry.
“We are proud to recognize the leadership of Kari Rihm and other influential women in our industry,” said Lisa Hartenberger, director of communications, Navistar. “Women make a difference in the trucking industry every day, and the goal of the Influential Woman in Trucking award is to shine a spotlight on their contributions.”
Rihm took over Rihm Kenworth after the passing of her husband in 2010. The company, based in St. Paul, MN, has been in her husband's family since 1932. With help from her two children, who represent the fourth generation at the dealership, and other dedicated employees, Rihm Kenworth has since added two additional locations, growing from three to five dealerships. It has also increased headcount by over 50%, been the Kenworth Truck Company Medium Duty Truck Dealer of the Year three out of the last four years, and have been certified by the Womens Business Enterprise Network Council (WBENC) since 2011.
Rihm Kenworth is the only 100% woman-owned Kenworth dealer in the United States. Rihm has been named a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Magazine Family Business Honoree in 2013, received a National Association of Women-Owned Businesses local chapter Pioneer Award in 2014, and was honored with a 2015 nomination for American Truck Dealers Association Dealer of the Year.
“We are thrilled to honor a woman who has been so influential in the trucking industry,” said Ellen Voie, president of the Women In Trucking Association. “Kari is proof that women are achieving great things in all trucking professions, from drivers to accountants to CEOs.”
This year’s finalists also included Elise Chianelli, senior product manager, safety & compliance, PeopleNet; Angie Freeman, chief human resources officer, C.H. Robinson; and president, C.H. Robinson Foundation; Karen Rasmussen, president and chief executive officer, HELP Inc.; Shelley Simpson, chief marketing officer and president of ICS & Truckload, J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.; and Karen Smerchek, president, Veriha Trucking, Inc.
“As more women move into leadership positions within the trucking industry, it will become even more difficult to narrow the list of candidates in the future,” Voie added. “In my opinion, that’s a great obstacle to overcome.”