Ruthanne Sir, Nashville resident and frontline employee at PepsiCo Beverages North America, is recognized at the local 'She Is PepsiCo' ceremony spotlighting women in frontline roles.

Five Good Things: Industry women honored

March 22, 2024
Kenworth donates T680 for veteran award, TCA names a new Highway Angel, PepsiCo’s campaign honors two Tennessee women, Paccar awards top suppliers, and Valvoline honors women service center employees.

Although March, Women's History Month, is almost over, the industry is still celebrating the contributions of women to the trucking industry. Learn more in this week’s Five Good Things.

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Kenworth donates T680 as the 2024 “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award

Kenworth Truck, Fastport, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes initiative announced they are again partnering in the search for America’s top rookie military veteran driver who successfully transitioned to the trucking industry following military service.

“Every year, I am inspired by the caliber of nominees and look forward to reading about the 2024 applicants,” said Kyle Kimball, director of marketing at Kenworth. “Through this program, I have seen how well the transportation industry and veterans can be successful together. We at Kenworth are proud to participate in this life-changing initiative to award the World’s Best Truck to a deserving veteran.”

Kenworth will provide the grand prize for the ninth consecutive year under the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence recognition program. This year’s award is a T680 equipped with a 76-inch sleeper and the Paccar powertrain featuring the Paccar MX-13 engine rated at 455 horsepower, Paccar TX-12 automated transmission, and Paccar DX-40 tandem rear axles. The truck will be shown at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.

“The transportation industry goes beyond a military-friendly attitude to embody veteran-ready actions where the valuable skills and career experience obtained during active duty are a natural fit,” said Brad Bentley, Fastport president. “We are excited to be at the Mid-America Trucking Show with this year’s Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence grand prize, the Kenworth T680, and hope participating in the largest gathering of heavy-duty trucking professionals will help us surpass last year’s record number of nominations.”

The top driver will be determined by an expert panel of judges. To qualify, drivers must meet eligibility requirements as specified in the official Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award rules, including:

  • Must be a legal resident of the continental United States and a military veteran or current/former member of the National Guard or Reserves.
  • Must have graduated from PTDI-certified, NAPFTDS, or CVTA member driver training school with a valid CDL.
  • Must have been employed by any for-hire carrier or private fleet that has pledged to hire veterans and hired as a CDL driver after January 1, 2023.

Nominations open March 20 and close June 20. Award semi-finalists will be announced on August 1. Finalists will be invited to Columbus, Ohio, to tour the National Veterans Memorial and Museum and attend a reception, followed by a tour of the Kenworth Chillicothe manufacturing plant where the finalists will be announced. Public voting on the finalists will occur from November 1-11. On December 13, finalists will gather at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where the final award announcement will be made, and the winner will drive home in the Kenworth T680.

Truck driver named TCA Highway Angel for helping woman lying on interstate

The Truckload Carriers Association has named truck driver Chuck Davis from Garden City, Missouri, a TCA Highway Angel for stopping to help a woman lying in the fetal position on the interstate in the middle of the night. Davis works for ABF Freight out of Ft. Smith, Arizona. 

On March 8, 2024, at 2:30 a.m., Davis was traveling on I-235 in Wichita, Kansas, and spotted a woman lying in the fetal position in the middle of the interstate.  

“I thought, I really need to block the road,” he said. “I think I was the first one there—it had just happened.” 

Davis stopped his truck to protect the area where the woman was on the road, turned on his flashers, and got out of the truck to assist the woman. He noticed a car and truck parked off the side of the road. A young man whom the woman called “son” was trying to help her up, and she appeared to be intoxicated, Davis said. 

The young man departed in the car, as did the driver of the truck parked off the side of the road, leaving Davis with the woman sitting on the guardrail waiting for the police to arrive. When emergency personnel arrived, they thanked Davis and dismissed him. 

“There were a lot of unanswered questions there,” said Davis, who has been a truck driver for 43 years. “But I thought about the situation and how I reacted, and I’m glad I did what I did.”

PepsiCo celebrates two Tennessee women through its She is PepsiCo campaign

PepsiCo recently announced two Tennessee women as honorees in its third annual She is PepsiCo campaign, which spotlights women in frontline careers such as manufacturing, operations, and sales. Timed with Women's History Month, the program aims to increase representation for women in traditionally male-dominated frontline roles by rebranding some of the company's highly visible delivery trucks with the names and faces of She is PepsiCo honorees in place of its iconic brands.

PepsiCo Beverage North America employees Ruthanne Sir of Nashville, Tennessee, and Kathy Marks of Knoxville, Tennessee, are among the two dozen honorees across the country being recognized in this year's program for their excellence in frontline roles such as truck drivers, mechanics, merchandisers, and warehouse loaders, among others.

"Representation is a powerful force for future generations of women entering the workforce," said Heather Hoytink, president of PBNA South Division. "Through She is PepsiCo, we are celebrating the women on our frontlines, like Ruthanne and Kathy, who are changing the face of our company and our industry. As these trucks travel across Tennessee, we hope to empower the next generation with the knowledge that their career options are unlimited, even in frontline roles."

At the company's downtown Nashville facility, PBNA CEO Ram Krishnan and Heather Hoytink joined Ruthanne Sir and dozens of her colleagues, friends, and family for a celebration to honor her for her achievements as part of the company's Nashville sales team.

"I am overwhelmed to receive this honor," said Sir, a 63-year-old resident of Nashville who joined the company three years ago. "I hope that seeing my face on this truck will inspire other women in Tennessee to believe in themselves and the power of hard work."

A similar event and truck unveiling was held at the Knoxville PepsiCo facility to celebrate Kathy Marks, a retired U.S. Air Force veteran and forklift operator. The 18-year company veteran was joined by enthusiastic co-workers, friends, and family for this special recognition.

"Never give up. If a wall is in front of you, go over it, under it, around it, or knock it down," said Marks, a 60-year-old resident of Knoxville. "Your efforts and relentlessness will get you where you want to go."

See also: PepsiCo spotlights Schneider’s sustainability efforts

Paccar recognizes top-performing suppliers in North America

Paccar evaluates supplier achievements in product development, operations, aftermarket support, and alignment with its key business objectives through its supplier performance management program.  

The company recognizes its top-performing suppliers in the SPM program each year. This honor is given to suppliers that reach the SPM master, leader, and achiever status. The SPM program drives collaboration and continuous improvement between Paccar and its suppliers, which leads to performance enhancements and product innovations. 

“Paccar is pleased to recognize the 2023 SPM award winners. The commitment they show to the SPM program demonstrates their strong partnership with Paccar. We value their contributions to Paccar’s success,” said Brennan Gourdie, Paccar VP of global purchasing. 

The 2023 SPM master is:

The 2023 SPM leaders are:

The 2023 SPM achievers are:

“The commitment of suppliers is critical to our success. We greatly appreciate these suppliers’ efforts and achievements in the SPM program,” said Darrin Siver, Paccar EVP. 

Valvoline celebrates its 1,000-plus female service center employees during Women's History Month

Valvoline is working to redefine the vehicle care experience and shared important automotive preventive maintenance tips during Women's History Month. In research studies, women have expressed an uneasiness when approaching vehicle service and general dissatisfaction with a lack of accessible, straightforward maintenance knowledge in the broader automotive care industry. As women make up more than half of all drivers in the United States, Valvoline is taking steps to increase their vehicle care confidence.

"Many women worry they do not have enough familiarity with automotive care to make informed decisions on what their vehicle needs when they take it in to be serviced. In fact, at Valvoline, we have coined this as 'oil change-xiety'—that anxious feeling you get when your routine maintenance light comes on," said Laura Carpenter, Valvoline's chief customer officer. "We believe much of this feeling may stem from a lack of awareness about routine automotive care. Women's History Month is the perfect opportunity for our female technicians to help empower women and all customers with automotive preventive maintenance tips that we hope will ensure everyone can approach their vehicle care with confidence."

Here are three tips Valvoline is sharing during Women's History Month:

  • When it's time to change an air filter: Air filters get dirty and over time, a clogged air filter restricts air flow to the engine. This can result in poor acceleration and poor overall vehicle performance.
  • When to have tires rotated: Rotating tires isn't necessary with every oil change. However, regular tire rotations help keep tire tread even, which extends the life of the tires.
  • Why clean the fuel system: A fuel system cleaning removes dirt and deposits that build up over time. Performing a fuel system cleaning according to a vehicle manufacturer's recommendation helps restore power and efficiency and can also improve fuel economy.

"I have been in the automotive industry for more than 20 years," said Sandra Bonge, market manager of Valvoline's Dallas-Fort Worth and central Texas retail service centers. "I have always loved working on vehicles, and I want all customers, especially women, to feel confident when they come into Valvoline for an oil change or any other routine maintenance and know they can count on us for quick, easy, and trusted service."

About the Author

Jenna Hume | Digital Editor

Digital Editor Jenna Hume previously worked as a writer in the gaming industry. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree in creative writing from Truman State University and a master of fine arts degree in writing from Lindenwood University. She is currently based in Missouri. 

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