Ellen Voie

President/CEO, Women In Trucking Association, Inc.


Diploma in Traffic & Transportation Management, LaSalle Extension University 1980 Master's Degree in Communication (UW-Stevens Point) 1999, CAE (Certified Association Executive) 2005, Commercial Driver's License (CDL)-Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, OH, 2008.

Specialized areas of Expertise

Nonprofit Management, Transportation

Years of Experience

I began my career in transportation in 1979 when I worked in the traffic department of a material handling manufacturer. 31 years.

Professional memberships/associations/certifications

WI Motor Carriers Association, American Trucking Associations, Inc. Mensa, American Society of Association Executives

W&L: What is your current role and responsibilities within your area of expertise?

EV: My role as President of Women In Trucking encompasses the overall leadership of the program, under the direction of a board of directors. From speaking at events, writing articles, obtaining sponsorships and recruiting corporate members, the success of the organization is my primary motivation. We have grown to include 1,500 members in our three year history. One of our greatest accomplishments is the Women In Trucking's Salute to Women Behind the Wheel, where we honored 290 professional female drivers for their service to the industry. Next year we hope to break the world's record for the largest gathering of female drivers (416). We are also working with truck stops to accommodate the needs of our members in the areas of facilities, safety and amenities. Our driver advisory board is meeting with TA/Petro to discuss issues concerning these areas. We are also working on creating a best practices white paper for carriers to use in their driver training.

W&L: What Ship-Shapes You? Tell us about your career goals, what drives you as a woman in Logistics.

EV: I have always had a motivation to succeed in areas outside the stereotypical "female" activities. In high school I took shop class instead of home economics because I wanted to understand engines, architecture, woodworking and welding instead of cooking and cleaning. My mother, who passed away when I was young, had always told me that I could do anything I wanted and I believed her. I like to challenge myself and experience life to the fullest. That's why I earned my CDL. I am also a private pilot and I have taken up parachute jumping. Recently I bought my first motorcycle. I try to push myself to stretch my physical and mental limits. My children (Isaac, 26 and Virginia, 23) are grown and I am single, so now I am enjoying life while I can!

W&L: Have you received any special recognition for your work? What is a career highlight?

EV: The recognition I receive from our members is what I appreciate. When someone tells me how Women In Trucking has positively affected their life, their career or their success, I am pleased. Most noteworthy is the fact that 14% of our members are men who believe in our mission! Recently, at a publicity event, I had our logo tattooed on my right shoulder and it was broadcast live on Sirius/XM radio. The video was on YouTube within minutes, and now a number of our members have joined me with our logo as a tattoo. How many organizations can say that their logo is tattooed on their members....permanently?

W&L: Success Factors?

EV: Drive, determination and most importantly, the desire to challenge myself.

W&L: What drew you to working in logistics/supply chain management? Planned or fell into it?

EV: I was working at a steel fabricating plant as a drafter when management asked me to move to the traffic department. I knew nothing about trucking, but they sent me to Traffic & Transportation Management School and my career was launched. While raising my family I worked as a free lance transportation consultant for 16 years and used my training to license and permit carriers in central Wisconsin. During that time I completed my Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Communication. My graduate research focused on the diverse identities of women married to professional drivers. That gave me credibility as a resource for family issues. My first book, "Marriage in the Long Run," was published and since then I have written a workbook for drivers and their families and most recently, "Crushing Cones: What to expect when attending truck driving school."

W&L: How has the business changed since you have joined?

EV: I learned to read tariffs and to classify freight before deregulation when rates were constant for common carriers. Authority was difficult to obtain and had value then. Permitting was done by mail and each truck needed "bingo stamps," fuel cards and license and insurance forms. In Wisconsin, we had to deal with Illinois' maximum weight limit of 73,280# instead of 80,000# when hauling steel on flatbeds. Now, the standardization and the use of technology make permitting so much simpler. However, the increase in legislation makes the industry more difficult to maneuver for drivers and carriers as well as logistics providers. More importantly, the industry is becoming less physically demanding and more dependent on technology, which opens the door for women who no longer need to be capable of unloading 43,000# of freight. The equipment is more accommodating and the work configurations (regional, local and day cab) allow women to succeed in a male dominated environment.

W&L: Would you recommend logistics as a career choice?

EV: Yes, I encourage anyone to explore opportunities within transportation, whether it's logistics, technical areas or behind the wheel of a truck.

W&L: Have you ever felt that you were at a disadvantage being a woman in logistics?

EV: No, I wouldn't let my gender be a disadvantage. I had to prove myself alongside my male peers, but once they saw how determined I was they would respect me for my efforts.

W&L: Any advice for women entering the field?

EV: Yes, don't forget that you are a woman in a male dominated career. While most men welcome women in logistics, there are still men who resent our presence. Look past them and continue moving forward. You can do it.

Favorite quote or words to live by

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

–Antoine de Saint Exupery-Aviator

Be faithful to that which exists within yourself.

~ Andre Gide