By Ellen Voie, CAE, PDC Women In Trucking Association, Inc.
We just wrapped up the 2019 Accelerate! Conference and Expo in Dallas, Texas. If you weren’t one of the 1,123 registered attendees, you missed one of the most inspiring, educational, and motivational events of the year.
The presentations ranged from driver recruiting (with a focus on female drivers) to communication styles to self-defence. Every speaker was a recognized expert in her (or his) field.
Attendees could choose from over 60 sessions within five “tracks” focusing on specific roles in the industry such as Leadership, Professional Development, Human Resources (Recruiting and Talent Management), Operations, and Sales & Marketing. There was also a track for professional drivers, as well.
Even the luncheons were designed to provide a way to network, learn, and share, as the tables were color-coded to the different tracks. A table topic monitor was at each table to keep the conversations focused on the subject for the 75-minute opportunity to ask questions and to learn.
Although the conference officially began at noon Monday (September 30th), there were numerous opportunities for pre-conference activities. Some folks chose to attend the speed networking and speed mentoring events; others heard Debbie Gardner of the Survive Institute talk about personal safety while still others hopped on a bus to Denton where they were given a tour of the Peterbilt facility.
For those who weren’t professional drivers and hadn’t been in a truck, there was a truck technology tour where people could climb inside and inspect trucks from Mack, Freightliner, Peterbilt, and Kenworth parked inside the conference center.
After a long day of learning, the attendees kicked up their heels (literally) and enjoyed a Texas Fair celebration on Monday night, complete with a mechanical bull. Australia’s Jayne Denham rocked the audience with her performance on the stage in the conference center after the party ended.
This year’s Influential Woman in Trucking was announced at the conference, and after hearing the amazing stories of the six finalists, Ruth Lopez, director, transportation management, at Ryder System, Inc was named this year’s 2019 Influential Woman In Trucking. Finalists included: Niki Bolton, senior truck auditor & executive projects officer, American Truck & Rail Audits, Inc.; Kristy Knichel, CEO, Knichel Logistics; Jodie Teuton, chairwoman, ATD/vice president, Kenworth of Louisiana; Kellylynn McLaughlin, OTR training engineer & professional driver, Schneider National Inc.; Lidia Yan, CEO and co-founder, NEXT Trucking. Kary Schaefer, General Manager, Product Marketing and Strategy, Daimler and WIT CEO Ellen Voie presented the awards.
Tuesday night’s celebration was to honor the Top Companies to Work For in Transportation and the Top Women Owned Companies after the organizations were honored and recognized.
PACCAR won the “Participation Award,” by bringing 100 of their associates from across their variety of brands including Peterbilt, Kenworth, PACCAR parts, and more. They narrowly beat out last year’s winner, YRCW, which had 90 of their associates in attendance this year as well!
My goal this year was to beat last year’s attendance of 836, and we blew that away with an increase of nearly 300 attendees! At this rate, we’ll outgrow the Dallas Sheraton’s 226,000 square feet of conference space very soon.
The comments were positive, and the 600 plus first-time attendees consistently claimed it wouldn’t be their last!
Consider a trucking event comprised of over 1,100 people and 85 percent of them are women! That’s what you will find at the Women In Trucking Association’s Accelerate! Conference and Expo.
Mark your calendar now for next year’s event to be held September 23-25, 2020, in at the Sheraton Dallas. Find out more information on the Women In Trucking Association website.
You won’t want to miss next year’s event!
Get it on your calendar: The 2019 Women In Trucking Accelerate! Conference & Expo takes place September 30 to October 2, 2019 in Dallas, Texas!
Women In Trucking Association’s mission is to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry.☚