Helping get more women involved in trucking is paramount to helping reduce our current driver shortage issues and ensure equality in our industry. In early October 2022, Women in Trucking introduced "WITney" to the world. WITney is a semi-trailer that features a mobile unit aimed to help educate women about careers in trucking.
Walmart donated a trailer in 2019 to be fitted as a moving educational center. But, upfitting a trailer and building it out is only one part of the equation. According to the Association, the "vision came to life when the driver ambassador program was launched." The trailer has since been fitted with:
- Touch screen monitors.
- A timeline.
- Clothing display with boots, clothing and safety gear.
And, according to WIT, all clothing and safety gear are made for women in trucking by woman-owned companies.
The final graphic design features a superhero. A contest named the superhero "WITney."
WIT noted that donations arrived from Michelin (tires), FedEx Freight, Patriot Lift (automated dolly), and more. Additionally, fuel donations were made by Pilot Flying J, truck washes were provided by Blue Beacon, and other vendors provided discounts.
Bolt Custom Trucks and Manufacturing performed all the work on the trailer, which added doors onto the back, side, and inside the trailer. Mobile screens were placed on the walls, and the company added cabinets and interior graphics.
Advanced Training Systems (ATS) donated a driving simulator, which WIT noted as the "highlight" of their unit. The simulator allows people to test their skills and get a little feel for maneuvering a tractor through traffic.
Noting the need for a tractor to help get the trailer where it needed to go, Schneider provided a driver with a branded truck for one week per month.
KellyLynn McLaughlin was selected to do the very first job. She continued to drive for Schneider as a training engineer two weeks per month. Since the initial hire, Andrea Adeyanju was hired as the Director of Driver Engagement, and she is now in charge of the driver ambassador program.
McLaughlin has moved on and a new Driver Ambassador was hired. KayLeigh McCall is a professional driver and training engineer for Schneider.
After two years, the trailer was upfit, wrapped with graphics, and ready to go. It was put on display for the first time at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky in March of 2022.
So, what's next for WITney? You can check her out in Dallas from November 13-16 at the Accelerate! Conference and Expo or take a virtual tour of the truck and trailer today. Donations are also being accepted to help keep this program going strong.