Women are changing trucking.
That was the theme and message delivered during a festive gathering at Transport America in Eagan, Minnesota Thursday.
“This event is at its core about celebrating the magic that happens when talented people come together to make things happen within the trucking industry at a company that cares more than anything about its culture,” said Megan Gaffney, director of marketing for Transport America.
Many of those making that magic happen are the women who drive for this truckload carrier.
Company officials, drivers, staff and guests assembled under a tent for a few speeches, the debut of a new company video about its women drivers, some barbecue and music. It was also a time to recognize — and surprise — one driver in particular.
“We are a company committed to culture. A culture that encourages and embraces creativity and ingenuity, that cultivates collaboration and inspires opportunity. Opportunity for all employees — drivers, shop workers, support center staff, office employees — regardless of race, age, gender, religion, or national origin. As a member of the Transport America family you are given equal opportunity not only to succeed in your career but excel in that career.”
That is especially true for women, said Gaffney. She said TA has 1,717 drivers, 247 of whom are women. That equates to 17 percent, or just shy of three times the national average for women in the industry.
Gaffney added that the company’s figures for owner/operators is even higher. TA has 158 total O/Os; 32 of them are women, or 25 percent.
Several of Transport America’s woman drivers were on hand to deliver personal perspectives.
Sheryl Lanier, a driver trainer based in Birmingham, Alabama was one of them. She had been an administrative assistant for corporate executives in Atlanta during a previous career. Like many women who come to the trucking industry, Lanier said she wanted a career change, and found one she loves and has not looked back.
While on stage, Lanier (whose CB handle is “Georgia Girl”) wondered aloud what had happened to her truck, as she was told it was needed to be detailed.
Instead, the company spirited away Lanier’s Freightliner to give it a special wrap and signage. Lanier was more than a bit surprised when her truck was delivered to the celebration with a diamond-patterned wrap and signs proclaiming, “Proud to be a woman driver changing trucking,” and, “There’s a proud woman driver behind this wheel.”
Gaffney said Lanier’s motto is, “Never let anyone dull your sparkle,” and the special wrap on the truck made that clear.
See the video debuted at Thursday’s event: