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Posts Tagged ‘Women Truckers’

WOW! 10 Years!

If you have followed my story on this blog with my first post called “Why Did I Do It” and on twitter , you know I overcame a multitude of obstacles this past decade. It has been 10 years since I became a truck driver but my life changed completely when I began speaking out in social media about what I experienced in the trucking industry.

In 2009, I was labeled an “advocate”. It wasn’t my intention but I felt

obligated to expose poor truck driver training in training fleets since it affects everyone on the highway. In 2010, the protest group REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. on Facebook was formed by working women truck drivers. Today, the REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. is a 501 (c)(6) truck driver organization continues to be outspoken on issues that affect drivers. Sexual misconduct in training carriers, and the lack of safe truck parking have been the two primary issues that I have personally become most passionate. I will be forever humbled to call Hope Rivenburg my friend and to have been part of the “Jason’s Law” truck parking coalition. The tragic murder of her Husband Jason Rivenburg that spurred her relentless pursuit of justice started a movement that motivated many individuals like myself to continue to work towards bringing exposure to issues in the trucking industry that must be addressed.

 

During these past 10 years, I also became a Grandmother four more times for a total of SIX! Plus, I graduated from College , formed REAL Women in Trucking into a 501 (c)(6) non profit,started a master’s degree program AND continued to struggle as a company driver. Despite my college degree… I missed driving.

Initially, I had no desire to be self-employed in trucking. I only wanted to have a job where I could work by myself, get my paycheck every Friday and have some decent benefits. I have no interest in office politics or clawing my way up any corporate ladders.

Since part of my responsibilities as the President of REAL Women in Trucking is too “walk the walk” I spent a couple years doing local driving to get a better understanding of what it takes.

I quickly found that the better paying jobs are very hard to get a foot in the door, even with a clean driving record and there are many places that will ignore your application when the name on the paper is that of a woman.

I was able to overcome this type of discrimination by getting hired on at a truck driver staffing agency. I did everything from local food delivery to flatbed work. I learned a lot and worked very hard. Often when I was sent on a short -term assignment, they were not expecting a woman, but they were happily surprised by my work ethic and I was welcomed to return. Through this method, I was able to learn a lot about local driving jobs and I was offered several full-time positions that I would otherwise not have been considered for if I had relied on the standard hiring practices. Local work is hard! I enjoyed it for a time, but I missed being out on the road.

Over the years, despite feeling rewarded that our RWIT advocacy voice was being heard loud and clear in the industry, I remained curious about becoming an owner-operator. I was not only hesitant because of all the new technology implementations but also my dependence as a company driver to calling for “breakdown” assistance which had rendered me a bit helpless. At 53, I wasn’t sure I was up to biting off more than I could chew along with all my other responsibilities.

Long story short, I got pushed over a cliff and I found out I could fly!

I am now a self-employed truck driver! I have a 2016 Kenworth and a 53 Foot Utility Trailer that I have leased on to a company called “Em Way, Inc.” in Dover, Delaware. I am finally living the trucking dream I had 10 years ago when I thought I would be a good fit for this work.

As I move into a new chapter of my life I would like to share some links where I have found help as I have transitioned from company driver to owner-operator. If you are considering taking the plunge, make sure you do it the right way. I will write again soon about what I am learning and loving!

The Freight Rate Calculator – Cost Analysis for a Trucking Business by Tilden Curl

The First Time Class 8 Lease Purchase Owner Op Guide by Terry Norris “Rawze”

“Rawze.com”  – Truck Maintenance Help Forum

Lone Mountain Truck

Chad Boblett – Rate Per Mile Master’s on Facebook

AND … Yes! That is ME in the New QuickBooks Commercial

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MEDIA CONTACT: Kristine M. Gobbo

561-463-0777, Kristine@spectrum-pr.com

REAL Women in Trucking to Bring Advocacy, Education to the Great American Trucking Show                     

LAKE WORTH, Fla. (July 26, 2017) – REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. (RWIT) will participate in its first trade show, the Great American Trucking Show, held August 24 – 26 in Dallas, Texas. RWIT is a grassroots, driver-led 501 (c) 6 trade organization formed by seasoned female commercial motor vehicle drivers, providing information and resources for fellow drivers, prospective CDL students, trucking executives and the non-trucking community to increase safety on the roadways.

“We’re excited to not only participate in our first show, but also provide much-needed advocacy and education for lady truckers and all commercial drivers. We are very grateful to our sponsors, Ackermann & Tilajef, P.C. and Truckers Justice Center, who have strong ties with the trucking industry and are true partners in increasing fairness and safety,” said Desiree Wood, Founder/President of RWIT.

Sponsored by Craig Ackermann Esq., founder of the California-based law firm, Ackermann & Tilajef, P.C., RWIT will host the “Ask a Lawyer – Q & A” for drivers. The session will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 25 and will be moderated by Wood. Expert attorneys on hand will include Paul Taylor and Peter Lavoie from Minnesota-based Truckers Justice Center and Steve Arenson from the New York City-based Arenson, Dittmar & Karman firm. They will address driver inquiries on a variety of topics, including sexual harassment, employment labor, lease violations, DAC reporters, misclassified drivers, and more. Questions can be asked anonymously, and anyone who cannot attend the event is encouraged submit questions in advance toinfo@realwomenintrucking.org. Seating is limited.

RWIT’s booth number is 8052, located near OnRamp to Health and across from Operation Roger Pet Transport. The booth will provide information about the organization, significant recent legal cases that were won on behalf of truck drivers, as well as upcoming special events.

Sponsored by Truckers Justice Center, a specialization area for Taylor & Associates, Ltd., RWIT will also host the “Lady Trucker Panel Discussion” on the main exhibit floor stage at 4 p.m. on Friday, August 25. The panel will be moderated by RWIT Treasurer and longtime trucker, Idella Hansen. Panelists include Cheryl Bean, Cheryl Pollard, Christina Dills and Sonja Tucci, women truck drivers from different sectors of the industry. They will discuss pros and cons of the types of work they perform, and their concerns for the industry. Both the “Ask a Lawyer – Q & A” and “Lady Trucker Panel Discussion” sessions will be recorded for the RWIT YouTube Channel.

At the trade show booth, RWIT will raffle one VIP package per day to the Phoenix International Raceway – Camp Out in the Desert, which is held during NASCAR weekend in November, a $300.00 value, plus other giveaways, including the upcoming Lady Trucker Cruise. RWIT representative will also film two-minute lady truck driver “SPEAK YOUR MIND!” videos for the RWIT YouTube Channel.

In addition, Hansen is hosting the daily Idella’s Puppy Paradise for trucking dogs, after exhibit hours from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the TA/Petro Truck Parking Community at Fair Park.

For more information on RWIT and activities at the Great American Trucking Show, visitwww.realwomenintrucking.com or email info@realwomenintrucking.org.

– RWIT –

 

 

About REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.:

REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. promotes safety by educating the public about unsafe truck driver training and has created a network of support for women entering trucking. The mission of REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. is to deliver highway safety through leadership, mentorship, education and advocacy.

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ooida-with-hopeThis was a significant moment! To arrive with Hope Rivenburg (Jason’s Law) at the OOIDA Headquarters for the final of four regional truck parking coalition meetings held on October 5, 2016.

If you have followed this blog and my social media activity over the past 8 years you will know just how many twists and turns my journey into the trucking industry has taken. Truck parking came to my attention through twitter when an article about a murdered truck driver named Jason Rivenburg was shared with me by a friend I met through social media that had a small Virginia newspaper.

Shortly afterwards I came to know Hope Rivenburg and felt blessed that I could help share news of her campaign to create a safe truck parking bill named after her Husband Jason.

Over the years watching this movement transition from a heartbroken family gathering petition signatures at their local country fair to the day Hope texted me during her first trip to Washington D.C. saying she wished she wore flat shoes because it was “…much bigger than she thought it was…“, I have been inspired.

One person CAN make a difference! Hope Rivenburg is proof of that.

The series of truck parking coalition meetings brought together people who would normally not sit at the same table and have a conversation. I found that there were vast differences in the beginning in understanding terminology between the groups but I felt optimistic following each meeting that most of the people in attendance wanted to identify ways to solve the problem of truck parking shortages.

I say “most” since there were some stakeholders that were absent and should have been represented in these meetings such as the shippers and receivers who dictate strict schedules, representatives from the freight brokerage sector and the trucking carriers of large fleets where drivers have very little experience in locating truck parking outside of their designated fuel stop locations.

lisa-joyce-and-meDo you know that there were only two individuals (2) that attended all four (4) meetings for truck parking? I was one (1) of those people. The other person was Mr. Carl Rundell from “Truck Smart Parking Services“.

Regardless of the absence of some of the major stakeholders,  I was pleased to meet several representatives from the National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO) and be able to better understand where they are coming from with their arguments and statements about truck drivers and trip planning. It was clear that there has been a lack of communication to partner industries in the supply chain when it comes to the needs of the individuals that serve this country each and every day in their work as truck drivers.

Joyce Hibma, the Wife of a truck driver has become an instrumental voice for drivers in the North Bend, Washington truck parking battle. She attended the Salt Lake City coalition with me as a REAL Women in Trucking Mission Support Member. This is a woman who herself is on a mission and she is to be commended for her hard work on behalf of drivers. In Salt Lake City, Joyce and I met Lisa Mullings from NATSO and Caroline Boris Research Analyst from ATRI ( American Transportation Research Institute ).

At the Maryland and Dallas Meetings, Idella Hansen RWIT Treasurer and Pat Hockaday from “Truckers United” attended the coalition meetings which helped place more drivers in the room in order to give real life perspective to solutions.

Lisa Mullings CEO of NATSO remarked during the final meeting at OOIDA Headquarters “Where are the carriers in this conversation? They call themselves “Logistics” companies and they are dictating fuel stops and highway routing in the bigger carriers, Why aren’t they helping their own drivers with parking?

It is a great question and observation since these issues will get worse when mandated ELD’s come to fruition. atri-gal-with-joyce-and-iThe truth is that the inexperienced driver population is more likely to park on highway ramps because they are being run to the minute with their e-logs and many of these drivers do not have knowledge on truck parking outside their fuel routing.

Another issue that emerged was trucking fleets that only fuel at one chain that notoriously does not construct enough truck parking for the area in need which then in turn pushes off overflow to other chains who do not benefit from fuel sales. Pilot Travel, specifically, the “fuel your truck and get out” chain vs. Travel Centers of America, a chain that generally has a larger area to park but not so much a place fleet drivers are authorized to fuel at their locations. What are the reasons for this? Only major carriers can answer this question and drivers can only speculate. This is why carriers should have been part of these discussions.

The truck parking shortage is a problem that still has obstacles and that is where YOU, the reader comes in. In a post I published on the REAL Women in Trucking blog called “How to Take Action on a Local Level for Truck Parking” I’ve explained seven (7) simple steps each one of us can do to help advance this issue and keep the momentum going.

Essentially, we are in a place where despite all of the great ideas that emerged from the four regional truck parking coalition meetings there remains an obstacle. Communities that protest new truck parking that have not been sold on how safe truck parking serves them.

Here is what you need to know and how you can help work toward educating your state freight planners. Currently, All of the states have been tasked by the Federal government to do something they have never been required to do in the past, that is to create a freight plan. States must have an approved freight plan and freight network in place by December 2017 in order to continue to use their freight formula funds that were made available in FAST Act.  See Link: The FAST Act: The Freight Provisions

Truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds but it is not required. Truck parking is often overlooked as a necessary component to intelligent freight planning. Smart freight plans should be focused on alleviating highway congestion and part of thsleeping-truckat would be assisting truck drivers who must comply with federal hours of service requirements to prevent unsafe operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

  • Truck parking facilitates interstate commerce which must not be impeded by states and local governments
  • Truck parking improves highway safety

Hope Rivenburg has worked tirelessly to make sure that “Jason’s Law” for Safe Truck Parking, an initiative named after her murdered Husband would be recognized by the Federal government as a matter of safety. Hope took immediate and relentless personal initiative to take action for truck drivers.

Hope Rivenburg proved that one person CAN make a difference and she got the ball rolling but now the ball is our court.

Truck drivers must keep this issue relevant and they can do that by helping to write emails and making phone calls to educate state agencies that are not aware that truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds.

This is a call to action

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Use this link created by Allen Smith to the MPO Interactive Map to locate your State MPO contact information.
  2. Use the SAMPLE LETTER located on the MPO Interactive Map Link as a guide by using “cut and paste” and then revise the letter for your particular region and situation. You can use this link to download a PDF of the SAMPLE LETTER TO STATE AGENCIES. ( This letter is only a sample, it is not to be used verbatim, please personalize it to your situation.
  3. Send a letter, email it or make phone calls to the state agencies you have selected from the MPO Interactive Map to explain the pertinent information in a respectful manner that includes asking if “truck parking is in the freight plan” and if they are aware that “truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds and it is necessary in their region”.
  4. Identify to these agency heads in your letter or phone call that the funds “can be used on eligible projects until December 2017. After that, they can only use them if they have their freight plan in place”.  (Remember that eligible activities include truck parking and ITS type systems for information sharing and notifications).
  5. You can also help by calling State Motor Carrier Associations to make sure they understand that truck parking is an eligible project and asking them if they know “What’s in the freight plan?” for that State. The goal is to make certain that the agency representative comes away from the conversation with awareness that truck parking is needed and eligible for funds for their state.
  6. If possible, get involved in State and MPO area freight advisory committees.
  7. Ask the State agencies that you contact: “What have you done to improve on Jason’s Law data since the report was published”?

If they have not heard of “Jason’s Law” ask them for their email to share with them the following links.

FHWA DOT Jason’s Law

USDOT “Jason’s Law” Survey Reaffirms Nationwide Truck Parking Needs

Final Advice: Persist with your state by asking the question: “What is in your freight plan?” be tenacious but polite about getting answers.

REMEMBER! There are only 50 States, If you commit to writing at least 2 MPO’s from the interactive map we can make a difference. Stop waiting for everyone else to make a difference for YOU!

Listen to the Replay> Solutions to Improve Truck Parking with Host Allen Smith and Guests Nicole Katsikides Deputy Director of Maryland Department of Transportation Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering and Desiree Wood President REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.

Much Thanks to Nicole Katsikides for help in drafting this call to action for truck drivers!

with much gratitude,

Desiree Wood

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MEDIA CONTACT: Kristine M. Gobbo

561-463-0777, Kristine@spectrum-pr.com

SpectrumPR

REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. to Host

Inaugural Lady Truck Driver Conference Cruise

 

LAKE WORTH, Fla. (August 16, 2016) – REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. (RWIT) is hosting a conference aboard the Carnival Conquest to unite and honor women in the truck driving industry. The “Queen of the Road on the High Seas” conference, taking place Sunday, March 26 to Saturday, April 1, 2017, will include education sessions on a broad range of topics, including personal safety, discrimination, sexual harassment, and driver health. The agenda also includes a driver advocacy forum, a lady truck driver roundtable and an awards ceremony recognizing women who have overcome obstacles in the truck driving industry. The six-night cruise will depart from Ft. Lauderdale for the Eastern Caribbean with stops at Grand Turk, Dominican Republic and Nassau.

The conference will provide tools for truck drivers while advancing a voice for RWIT and its members. The sessions will include information on improving technical skills for drivers, promoting advocacy through social media, transitioning company drivers to owner-operator, and much more. A forum of truck driver advocates will also discuss issues that affect the industry. Notable speakers include Allen Smith, host of ‘Ask the Trucker;’ Anne Balay, published author of Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers, a former truck driver, and writer of a recent op-ed published in The New York Times “Long-Haul Sweatshops;” and Christine Gray, Becca Kennedy and Shannon Morris, truck drivers, and advocates for the safety and success of women truck drivers.

All interested drivers, professionals within the truck driving industry, and others who encourage and support women truck drivers are invited. Families or significant others are also welcome. The conference schedule has been planned to allow plenty of leisure time to enjoy cruise activities. For those interested in supporting this important event, sponsorship opportunities are available at five levels with details provided at RWIT Lady Truck Driver Conference.

Nominations for outstanding female truck drivers, the “Queen of the Road” awards, are welcome. Awards will be presented to three outstanding women who have demonstrated dedication and tenacity in their efforts to become professional commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators. Nominees must either be past or present CMV drivers that fit the R.E.A.L. criteria, which stands for Reaching Out, Encouraging Others, Achieving Personal Success and Leadership. Nominations will be accepted beginning Thursday, September 1 with a deadline of Monday, November 7, 2016.

“This conference is important to our efforts of ‘breaking the silence’ about the treatment of women in the trucking industry.” said Desiree Wood, one of RWIT’s founders. “At the conference, we hope to provide the tools women need to be more successful in their chosen field.  Along with information sessions, participants will have the opportunity to network with fellow drivers. Learning from one another and unifying on important issues is one of our primary goals.”

RWIT was initially formed in 2010 as a 501(c)(6) membership organization by female truckers to protest poor conditions that were not being effectively addressed by the trucking industry. “Queen of the Road on the High Seas” is the organization’s first fundraising event. Proceeds will help establish a 501(c)(3) foundation which will provide a headquarters and facilities with modest truck parking availability for members, scheduled learning conferences and advanced training for entry-level driver training students to develop their skills.

For more information, contact Desiree Wood at 561-232-9170 or info@realwomenintrucking.org, or visit http://www.realwomenintrucking.org/. Follow RWIT on Twitter: @womentruckers.

 

– RWIT –

About REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.:

REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. promotes safety by educating the public about unsafe truck driver training and has created a network of support for women entering trucking. The mission of REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. is to deliver highway safety through leadership, mentorship, education and advocacy.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Kristine M. Gobbo

561-463-0777, Kristine@spectrum-pr.com

REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. Launches to Advocate for Urgently Needed Industry Changes while Supporting Female Truckers

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (February 11, 2015) – The promise of a fresh start and great pay draws thousands of people, including many women, to become truck drivers, but fundamental flaws in the driver recruiting and training process are putting female truckers, and all drivers on major highways, at risk. A newly launched trade association, REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. (RWIT), is working to change the industry from the inside out, and seeks the community’s help to raise awareness and support for issues that put drivers in danger.

RWIT was initially formed in 2010 by female truckers to protest poor conditions that were not being effectively addressed by the trucking industry. The women found the driver training process to be a harrowing experience, as they received little training, even driving tractor-trailers without proper instruction. Worse, training often included being paired with drivers who verbally and physically abused the women, and made aggressive sexual advances. (more…)

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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happy-sad-faces

The following post includes excerpts of a graded class project I wrote for a non-profit fundraising class on the questionable ethics of non-profits. I received an “A”.

The topic was an analysis of the WIT organization and I will be publishing more such graded paper excerpts in the coming weeks.

I hope you will take the time to consider my observations.

The Women in Trucking Organization (WIT), is designated as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit.

Mission: Women In Trucking was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.

The organization website states they are an active group that finds opportunities to promote the accomplishments of women in the industry. While the organization states the mission is to represent Women, membership is open to both Men and Women who currently work in the industry or those seeking to enter it.

The WIT website states that supporting the organization helps them to provide needed resources to encourage Women to become employed in the trucking industry, and that membership dues will help motivate” the transportation industry to look at any obstacles that might prevent Women and Men from entering and remaining in trucking. Some of the items mentioned that WIT has determined to be obstacles are restroom facilities at loading docks and ergonomically designed truck cabs.
In a recent article the President of the WIT organization stated that she would not come between drivers and carriers. (Jakl, 2013) (more…)

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