Little did Erin Luke, Peterbilt fleet sales administration manager, know she would someday help bring to life the very trucks she counted driving down the roads on family road trips. “A career in the trucking industry was never on my radar. To me, it always appeared to be a male-dominated world,” Luke said.
Following her graduation from Texas A&M University, Luke started her career as a tax consultant and after a few years began looking for a new challenge with more growth opportunity.
“My husband had just started working at Peterbilt Motors Co., a Paccar company, and encouraged me to consider a career in the organization. He was absolutely correct!”
Of her 12-year career with Peterbilt, Luke spent the first seven in the controller’s department, weaving her way through various roles and landing in management. The experience gave Luke roots within the company, a vast network across all departments and divisions, and more importantly, introduced her to her first female mentor. “That was the turning point for me. I learned what it took to be successful while maintaining a family life at home, and I wanted to help paint that picture for other women within the organization,” Luke recalled.
In 2012, Luke continued her quest for knowledge and chose to shift her career focus away from accounting and into an area with direct exposure to Peterbilt’s products. As Peterbilt’s lead for the Phase 1 greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation, her role was more global, since GHG regulates all of Paccar’s divisions and companies.
“Often, I was the only woman at the table,” she said. “I worked hard to make sure my voice was heard because I had something to contribute.
“Maintaining a work-life balance can be a huge challenge when you’re involved in development work, long hours, work travel, and raising two young boys,” Luke continued. “Fortunately, my husband also works at Peterbilt, recognizes the importance of my work and supports me. I also received a tremendous amount of support and encouragement from a male mentor who really guided me to where I am today.
“As a woman,” she continued, “I believe we find having a strong network and support system is crucial to success. We’re now in the heart of the development of the Phase 2 GHG regulations, and this time around, it’s exponentially more complex.”
In Luke’s role as fleet sales administration manager, she works directly with the Environmental Protection Agency, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and California Air Resources Board on their respective regulations. She also works closely with the Peterbilt sales team to quote and manage fleet orders. Luke is quick to note the balance of both sides of the equation is definitely unique but one she finds rewarding, as it truly benefits the customer from end-to-end.
“Hard work, determination, and the support of the many great champions got me to where I am today, and I am committed to doing the same for others,” she said. “As Robert F. Kennedy said, ‘Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.’ ”
Luke helped pioneer the Peterbilt Women’s Initiative Network and continues in an active leadership role in the steering committee. She also serves on the board for the Denton Women in Commerce Committee. Both organizations help champion women through various mentoring, recruiting and self-development disciplines, and provide networks to assist women grow and develop in their professional careers.
“Once inside Peterbilt and Paccar, the possibilities for personal and career growth are almost limitless,” asserted Luke.
“Paccar has job opportunities for engaged and motivated women and men in accounting, dealer development, engineering, human resources, information technology, marketing, manufacturing, sales, regulatory, and support services in the U.S. and in a growing number of locations globally. My career has been greatly enriched through my interactions with employees at other Paccar divisions and departments across the globe.”