September 25, 2019

Women in Trucking prepares for change at the top

Wreaths Across America executive Sparks will "eventually" replace WIT founder Voie, group says.

By DC Velocity Staff

The nonprofit organization Women in Trucking (WIT) is preparing for a change at the top, announcing Tuesday that transportation industry veteran Deborah Ruane Sparks will eventually succeed the group's founder, Ellen Voie.

WIT President and CEO Voie started the group in 2007 to promote careers in trucking for women and to dismantle the barriers that keep more women from joining drivers' ranks, she told this magazine in a recent interview.

Over the years, Voie has led Plover, Wisconsin-based WIT to advocate for the estimated 200,000 women currently driving big rigs in the U.S., and to increase their representation in the industry above the 5 percent portion they now hold of the nation's 4 million-member truck-driver work force. In an industry perennially struggling with driver shortages, that small portion points to a great opportunity to recruit more women into truck driving careers, Voie says.Deborah Sparks

Sparks is now set to join WIT in January in the newly created role of vice president. Her experience in the industry includes her current role as director of transportation and community outreach at Wreaths Across America, as well as past leadership positions at the Truckload Carriers Association and American Trucking Associations (ATA).

She will be charged with leading WIT in its mission of encouraging the employment of women in the trucking industry, promoting their accomplishments, and minimizing the industry obstacles they face, the group said said. More specifically, Sparks will start her role at the group with new projects like establishing a driver ambassador and managing WIT's U.S. and Canadian Image Teams.

"We have supported WIT's growth by expanding our team to include five employees in addition to our association management firm, MindShare Strategies," Voie said in a release. "Now, with Debbie on board we can further advance our mission and position Women In Trucking for continued growth. She will be an amazing asset in our efforts to increase gender diversity in the transportation industry."

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