Women In Trucking research has shown that 83% of women come into the industry because of a family member or friend.
Ingrid Brown was first exposed to the trucking industry through her grandfather, who was a truck driver, and her father, who owned a road construction company. Brown started by learning to drive dump trucks and heavy equipment. She bought her first truck in 1979 and now hauls everything from reefers to livestock trailers for Rabbit River, based in Holland, MI.
Treana Moniz got interested in driving while in high school but didn’t enter the industry until later in life. She has been driving since 2007, joining Bison Transport in 2013.
“I met a truck driver at the restaurant where I was a waitress. We started dating, and he found I was very interested in trucking,” she said. After running as a team for about five years, “our relationship ended, but I wasn’t ready to give up trucking. I went out on my own and was hired by another company.”
Challenges still exist
Women still face challenges. Voie said training can cause concern for women if they are asked to share a sleeper cab with a male co-worker. “I have a hard time with our training situation and how we mix men and women in the cab together and try to be gender blind. It just doesn’t work,” said Ellen Voie, founder of the Women In Trucking Association.
Lone Star Transportation, for example, has a company-owned lodging facility in a fenced location where new drivers stay during training.
“Every driver stays in a comfortable private room with a bathroom and Wi-Fi,” Williams said, adding that drivers’ significant others are welcome to stay as well. “We know this is a family job. We invite them to bring their spouses so they can see who we are, what we value, and how much we appreciate them.”
When drivers take part in securement and road training, they ride with an experienced driver of the same sex during the day, and at night stay in a hotel or the company lodging. “We’ve gotten a lot of traction from our efforts. We’ve hired three women in the past five months. All of them have said the mentor securement training has been fabulous,” Williams said.