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Diversity Inclusion

The benefits of building a diverse team

Dec. 8, 2021
As the trucking industry continues to navigate its way to a more sustainable future, it needs fresh perspectives and new ways to look at existing challenges.

Inclusion and diversity are terms that we’ve been hearing a lot about lately as we are beginning to understand the value of bringing together people from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of experiences and a variety of perspectives. And it is also about making everyone feel welcome once they come into our organizations—regardless of their backgrounds.

I’ve been in the trucking industry for a long time, and I think we have made some progress in the area of diversity and inclusion, but we still have a ways to go to ensure that diversity is occurring at all levels of our organizations, including the C-suite.

See also: Diversity in trucking won’t work without inclusion

Diversity is not just about race and ethnicity. It includes a host of other things like religion, gender, sexual orientation, educational background, age, physical ability, national origin, etc.

Diversity is the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders and sexual orientations. Inclusion is the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.

I am excited about the idea of bringing all kinds of people into the trucking family. Studies have shown that diverse groups are more creative and innovative. That makes sense to me. Hiring from diverse backgrounds results in fresh perspectives.

As our industry continues to navigate its way to a more sustainable future, we need fresh perspectives and new ways to look at existing challenges. The more people we bring together who have differing perspectives, the more likely we are to get more potential solutions to the problems we face.

See also: How to keep women in trucking

It is human nature to hire people that are like us. I am guilty of that. I’m an engineer, and NACFE has a lot of engineers on its team. But I have also made a conscious decision to add some marketing, data, communications, and climate people to the team. I think between our core team, the NACFE board, our technical advisory committee, and our affiliation with RMI that we have done an okay job on the diversity piece. I know we can—and will—do better. I’d like to think on the inclusion side that we are doing a very good job. We value input from all the people we come in contact with and think we have communicated that well. But we will work on that, too.

I challenge each of you to take a close look at how you are doing with diversity and inclusion. Look around your offices and see if you have done a good job of attracting people outside the list of “the usual suspects.”

Review all your recruiting and marketing material no matter what positions you are hiring for. What messages are your material sending? What types of images are you using? Is the language you use gender-neutral? Some of you may think this stuff is trivial. It isn’t. Unless people see themselves in your recruiting and marketing material, they are going to subconsciously think they are not welcome. Venture outside your normal recruiting channels to hit on different groups of people that perhaps you had not targeted for outreach.

The trucking industry has become more diverse and inclusive over the past decade, but there is room for improvement. I’m no expert, but I'm trying to do my part, and I hope you are, too. We’ll all be better off if we, as an industry, become more diverse.

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency. He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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