SALT LAKE CITY — For Gail Losee, whether she would enlist in the military was never a question; rather it was a matter of deciding in which branch to serve.
“My dad and brother served in the Navy, and my grandpa fought in World War II with the Army,” she said. “I’ve had several other family members serve as well — it’s in the family. My family wanted me to join the Navy, but I felt that the Army best fit my interests, so I decided to follow in my grandpa’s footsteps. It’s made the Army vs. Navy a fun rivalry.”
Losee served the Army for 20 years, working in the transportation and logistics sector. Over the course of her career, Losee worked her way up from driving military vehicles and responding to natural disaster relief in the U.S. to commanding a platoon overseas. As an officer, she led a platoon of drivers who were responsible for transporting millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and goods to and from U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq to other U.S. bases and coastal ports. In 2008, Losee earned a Bronze Star for her leadership.
“I’ve been around trucks and heavy equipment for almost my entire adult life,” she said. “Strategically planning routes for our drivers traveling through enemy territory was stressful at times. I learned a lot of valuable skills serving in the transportation and logistics sector that made my transition to a commercial driver easier.”
Today, Losee is an independent contractor for Stevens Transport and is one of four finalists recently named for the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award, a program dedicated to finding America’s top rookie military veteran driver. The award program recognizes top drivers who have made the successful transition from active military duty to driving for a commercial fleet.
For the fifth consecutive year, Kenworth has teamed with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program, and will provide a Kenworth T680 as the program’s award to this year’s winner. The T680 features the complete PACCAR Powertrain with a PACCAR MX-13 engine, a PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission and PACCAR 40K tandem axles. In addition, the T680 includes a 76-inch sleeper equipped with the Kenworth Driver’s Studio package of options.
When Losee decided to join Stevens Transport at the beginning of the year, she said, a big draw for her was the ability to operate a truck equipped with an automated transmission.
“In the military, all of the heavy-duty trucks we operated were automatics,” said Losee. “I believe they are much more driver-friendly to operate compared to manuals. Since there are so many commercial trucks on the road now with automated transmissions, I was more comfortable in starting a career as a driver. I wasn’t interested in learning my way around a manual.”
As an independent contractor for Stevens Transport, Losee leases a Kenworth T680. She said the T680 will be a great truck for her if she wins the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award.
“I love my Kenworth T680,” she said. “The sleeper is so roomy and is well designed to maximize the space. It’s a comfortable truck that performs really well. If I’m fortunate enough to win, the T680 will be a great first truck for me to begin my career as an owner-operator.”
Losee said being nominated by Stevens Transport and being a finalist for the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award has been a “humbling experience.”
“The entire process and journey — from the nomination by Stevens Transport to my selection as a finalist — has been incredible,” she said. “As a woman in the industry, I’m proud to be here and hope more women look to the transportation industry for opportunities. All of the finalists are so deserving of the Kenworth T680, and I will be truly happy for whoever is selected as the winner.”
The “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award winner will be announced in December. For more information about the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program, click here.
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.