3 veteran truckers are Women In Trucking's Drivers of the Year

Updated Mar 26, 2024
WIT drivers of the year
Women In Trucking

The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) announced on Friday three drivers as the winners of the fifth annual Driver of the Year award sponsored by Walmart.  

The 2024 Drivers of the Year are: 

  • Carmen Anderson, America’s Service Line 
  • Deb LaBree, Castle Transport LLC, leased to Landstar 
  • Jodi Edwards, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. 

The announcement was made during the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel event, hosted by WIT at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The annual event honors female commercial drivers for their efforts and successes in the trucking industry.  

“All of these deserving drivers are members of the WIT Image Team,” said Jennifer Hedrick, WIT president and CEO. “They represent the WIT mission and participate in ride-along events for legislators, regulators, and industry leaders to provide a deeper understanding of the obstacles they face on the road. They also speak to the media and other industry professionals at public events and industry trade shows.” 

Carmen Anderson, a company driver at America’s Service Line, LLC, has 2.5 million safe-driving miles. In 2015, she won the South Dakota Truck Driving championship and went on to compete in nationals in St Louis. Two years later, she was selected for the Wisconsin Road Team. In August 2019, she was named the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association Driver of the Month. She also won the WMCA 2019 Driver of the Year, the first woman to be named the sole recipient of the award. Anderson is a lifetime member of WIT and a lifetime member of Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. She also serves on the organizing committee for the South Dakota Special Olympics. She was named one of the WIT Top Women to Watch in Transportation in 2021. She is trained to recognize and prevent human trafficking through her involvement with Truckers Against Trafficking. 

Deb LaBree became a professional truck driver in 2006. She is an independent owner-operator of Castle Transport LLC and has been leased to Landstar since June of 2014. She is well known for mentoring other business capacity owners within Landstar and has received the Bronze and Silver Star of Quality awards from Landstar for customer service and mentorship.  

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LaBree has been a team driver with her husband, Del, for all her career. She has received the safety award every year since she began driving and was named the NASTC Driver of the Year in 2020. LaBree has been instrumental in growing and managing the WIT Facebook group which has more than 11,000 active members. She was also the July 2020 WIT Member of the Month and is a past WIT board member.  

LaBree has shared her experience as a guest on SiriusXM’s Dave Nemo Show and Women In Trucking Show. Other media appearances include NBC, Today with Megyn Kelley, Wall Street Journal and various industry publication interviews. She also volunteers to participate as a research subject for various college projects.  

Jodi Edwards has been a professional driver with J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc. for more than 25 years, during which she has driven more than 2 million miles collision-free. Throughout her career, Edwards has exemplified a passion for safety and professionalism and is an encouraging advocate for women entering the transportation industry. 

Among her many accomplishments, she has been named Driver of the Year for her region and has received multiple safe driving awards at J.B. Hunt. 

Edwards has been a Smith System certified instructor for more than 10 years and has been a driver trainer at J.B. Hunt for more than 20 years, where she continues to share her wisdom and experience while driving with J.B. Hunt’s intermodal division. 

Edwards has been recognized nationally for her professional achievements, being interviewed for industry publications as well as sharing her thoughts live on the Sirius XM radio show “Road Dog Trucking.” 

Sponsored by Walmart, the annual Driver of the Year award was established to promote the achievements of female professional drivers who lead the industry in safety standards while actively enhancing the public image of the trucking industry.  

"Walmart is proud to sponsor the Driver of the Year award because it aligns with our commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and excellence. Carmen Anderson, Deb LaBree and Jodi Edwards, are trailblazing women who are more than drivers – they are leaders, mentors and role models. Their achievements prove that success isn't defined by gender. We're extremely proud to recognize each of them as this year's Driver of the Year," said Fernando Cortes, Senior Vice President of Transportation, Walmart. 

Members of the judging panel were Jenny Lovering, General Transportation Manager, Walmart; Sarah Smith, SVP Human Resources, Penske and Vice Chair of the WIT board; and Ellen Voie, founder, WIT.