Women In Trucking Association, Inc.
Onlinetruckers.org (OTO): Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Ellen Voie: My background in the trucking industry began in 1980, when I earned a diploma in Traffic and Transportation Management while employed as Traffic Manager for a steel fabricating plant in central Wisconsin. I later worked as a dispatcher for a grain hauling carrier prior to becoming co-owner of a small fleet. After starting a family, I used my training to become a freelance transportation consultant to carriers in Wisconsin, licensing and permitting trucks for more than 16 years. During that time, I earned my Master’s Degree in Communication from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, where I completed my Thesis research on the complex identities of women married to professional drivers. In 2015 I completed the Strategic Leadership program at Pennsylvania State University. From March of 2000 through January 2006 I served as the Executive Director of Trucker Buddy International, Inc., a pen pal program between professional drivers and elementary students. My prior role was the Manager of Retention and Recruiting Programs at Schneider, Inc. where I was responsible for creating corporate level programs to encourage non-traditional groups to consider careers in the trucking industry and designed initiatives to eliminate (or reduce) irritants that lead to driver dissatisfaction, which ultimately affects turnover.
OTO: When did you get started in trucking and how did that decision come about?
Ellen Voie: In high school I took shop class and learned welding, woodworking, drafting and automotive maintenance. I was hired as a drafter at a steel fabricating plant and worked in that capacity for over a year. I was offered a position in the traffic department as Assistant Traffic Manager. After completing my diploma in Traffic and Transportation Management, I was promoted to Traffic Manager.
OTO: Why is trucking a good career? Why did you choose trucking for a living?
Ellen Voie: The trucking industry is very close knit, supportive and challenging. There are so many opportunities for both men and women to advance within transportation and supply chain areas.
OTO: Where is your business located and which areas do you serve?
Ellen Voie: Women In Trucking Association, Inc. is a virtual organization with employees in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Idaho, Florida and Tennessee. However, our members are located in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and South Africa. Our members include students, professional drivers, carriers, truck driving schools, manufacturers and suppliers.
OTO: Where is the trucking industry headed?
Ellen Voie: We will see a dramatic increase in technology to not only enhance safety, but to make the driver’s job less physically demanding. This is good news for the industry, as it will also allow us to bring in more millennials who will appreciate the technology, to baby boomers, who will appreciate the equipment designed to make the job easier.
OTO: Why trucking matters to the economy? Why is it important?
Ellen Voie: The trucking industry seems to have an image issue related to the importance of the products used by consumers and the trucks on the road. I get so frustrated when I hear people complain about trucks on their local roads which lead to grocery stores and shopping malls. How do they expect their food and clothing to get to the stores? We need to do a better job in making the non-trucking industry understand the importance of the trucks next to them on the highway.
(OTO): How has trucking changed your life?
Ellen Voie: The trucking industry has given me a wonderful career, but more importantly, I can help shape the future for women looking at careers as drivers, technicians, owners, managers, safety directors and much more. The opportunities are endless and very rewarding.
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Great interview Ellen!
Great read - Ellen is a very empowering and passionate person and a great figure within the trucking industry.