WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced the appointment of members to the Women of Trucking Advisory Board (WOTAB).
According to a news release, the board’s goal is to recruit, retain, support and ensure the safety of women commercial motor vehicle drivers and strengthen the trucking industry as a whole.
The WOTAB includes 16 founding members, all women, “with diverse backgrounds and experiences to provide balanced points of view on addressing the challenges facing women in the industry,” the news release stated.
Of these members, five are current CMV drivers and four are former CMV drivers; others are trainers, executives and authors. WOTAB’s members hail from 11 states and work for small, medium and large trucking companies and as independent owner-operators, non-profit organizations, trucking business associations, as well as institutions of higher education.
Collectively, WOTAB members have more than 80 years of driving experience with trucks, motorcoaches, and ports and more than 275 years in trucking and other modes of transportation.
- Anne Balay, organizer with the Service Employees International Union;
- Jerri Banks, owner of Life on the Road Recruiting and Transportation Services;
- Elisabeth Barna, executive vice president of the American Trucking Associations;
- Joyce Brenny, founder and president of Brenny Transportation Inc. and Brenny Specialized Inc.;
- Enjoli DeGrasse, deputy director of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters;
- Marie Druckenmiller, director of transportation for Amazon;
- Erin Ducharme, CFO of H&L Bloom/Bloom’s Bus Lines;
- Laura Duryea, manager of recruiting, retention and driver development for Boyle Transportation;
- Marquita Jones, intermodal driver for J.B. Hunt;
- Kellylynn McLaughlin, professional driver for Prime Transport LTD;
- Dianne McNair-Smith, CEO of 3 Girls Trucking Academy;
- Sharae Moore, founder and president of the SHE Trucking Foundation;
- O’Sheauna Parker, professional truck driver;
- Emily Plummer, professional driver for Prime Inc.;
- Soledad Munoz Smith, vice president of operations for Munoz Trucking; and
- Nicole Ward, co-owner of the African American Women in Trucking Association.
WOTAB’s launch is another initiative mandated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is part of the Biden-Harris Trucking Action Plan.
“America needs truck drivers like never before, yet women–half the American people — have long been underestimated and underrepresented behind the wheel and in jobs across this sector,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “Getting to know women in trucking, I have heard about their passion for the job as well as the challenges they face, and this experienced Women in Trucking Advisory Board will help us address these issues directly. We thank the members for serving and look forward to working together to bring more women into trucking and to enhance job quality in this important career.”
Recruiting and supporting women in transportation is a key priority, according to the White House.
“Women are significantly underrepresented in the trucking industry, holding only 24 percent of all transportation jobs,” FMCSA Deputy Administrator Robin Hutcheson said. “We anticipate many great ideas from the advisory board that will help expand equity and safely provide access to careers in trucking for women across the industry.” In March, Hutcheson discussed truck driver challenges firsthand in a ride along with an experienced driver.
WOTAB will coordinate with trucking companies, nonprofit organizations, and trucking associations to support women in trucking. The board will provide recommendations to the FMCSA administrator and the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, as well as tackle many issues, including:
- Evaluating barriers and trends that impact women in trucking across the country and ways to support women pursuing careers in trucking.
- Identifying opportunities to expand roles for women and increase the number of women in the trucking industry.
- Advising on policies that provide education, training, mentorship, or outreach to women in the trucking industry.
- Reviewing opportunities to enhance safety, training, mentorship, and education for women in the trucking industry.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.