The Log Book is a weekly rundown of human-interest stories related to the transportation industry. This week: Schneider driver becomes first woman to receive veteran Ride of Pride truck, FedEx celebrates 10th anniversary of Purple Eagle program and WIT releases latest diversity index report.
Schneider names 1st female Ride of Pride driver
Transportation and logistics company Schneider named company driver Patrice Cook its 2022 Ride of Pride driver.
The award began in 2001 when a shift manager and veteran at Freightliner proposed that the truck manufacturer work with its trucking company customers to honor the industry’s military veteran drivers with custom-designed wrapped trucks that represent the drivers’ time in the military.
Winners not only receive the custom cab, they also get to represent the trucking company at the annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom and the annual event for Wreaths Across America in Washington.
Since the beginning of the Ride of Pride program, Schneider has received more wrapped trucks from Freightliner than any other national carrier: 15.
What makes this year’s award different from Schneider’s past 14 trucks? Cook has become the first female driver to receive the honor from the carrier.
“Being selected is so special because it allows me to stay connected to the military even though I’m not in uniform anymore,” Cook said. “I’m looking forward to participating in events, being able to talk to other veterans and embody what it truly means to be a Ride of Pride driver.”
She spent most of her time in the Army as a transport motor operator, driving vehicles including flatbeds, heavy equipment transport systems, Humvees and tanks.
Cook had two tours in Bosnia and one in Iraq, and after her active-duty exit, she continued to work with the military community, helping soldiers through their deployment process.
Cook then used a military waiver and, with a friend, became a team driver for Schneider in 2012.
“Driving is something I’ve loved to do since the first time I got my hands on a steering wheel,” she said. “I felt like Schneider was the right fit for me from the beginning because of their consistent efforts to go above and beyond with their military program, safety and training.”
Cook said she has never been afraid of being part of a male-dominated industry and is excited to showcase a woman behind the wheel at future Ride of Pride events.
“I’ve been doing things that are predominantly male-dominated my entire life — from joining the military to driving trucks to now being the first woman to ever drive a Ride of Pride truck at Schneider,” Cook said. “I love seeing how people react to the truck but also their reaction when they see me, a woman, in the driver’s seat.”
FedEx celebrates 10 years of St. Jude partnership at golf championship
At the 2022 FedExCup playoffs at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee, the global shipping company also celebrated 10 years of its Purple Eagle program, which honors a pediatric cancer patient by naming a St. Jude-FedEx Cessna Caravan after the child. It flies over the golfing event and continues to be of service to FedEx after the event.
“The idea for this program came from attending previous then-called FedEx-St. Jude Classic tournaments and seeing the delivery trucks and vehicles we had and continue to have on display there,” said Bill West Jr., vice president of supplemental aircraft operations at FedEx Express. “I thought it would be a special way to display one of our feeder aircraft and create a great program with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to bring more awareness to the lifesaving work they do. The only named feeder planes in our fleet are the ones that are part of the Purple Eagle program. These planes are special and help us spread the word about the amazing work being done by St. Jude as it celebrates its 60th year.”
This year, the plane was named after St. Jude patient Riley, who at the age of 18 months was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
At the event, Riley was joined by nine past Purple Eagle winners and his grandmother Kim, a 33-year FedEx employee.
“For nearly four decades, FedEx leadership, employees and golf fans have supported the lifesaving mission of St. Jude through the tournament now known as the FedEx St. Jude Championship,” said Richard C. Shadyac Jr. president and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude. “We couldn’t be more thankful for their ongoing support, which is crucial to advancing the $12.9 billion six-year St. Jude strategic plan aimed at impacting more of the 400,000 kids with cancer around the globe.”
Women in Trucking release 2022 gender diversity index
Industry group Women in Trucking recently released its annual gender diversity data index, measuring the roles women represent in transportation.
Data collection for the index began in 2016, helping transportation executives benchmark their diversity initiatives to their peers in the industry.
This year, from January to April, more than 180 shared their company profiles, submitting information on various roles including safety professionals, human resources, technicians, operations, talent management, sales and marketing.
“More and more women are becoming safety directors and we are encouraged by these numbers,” said Ellen Voie, WIT’s president and CEO. “We look forward to seeing this percentage continue to increase in the coming years.”
|Key findings from 2022 WIT Index|
|Role||% held by women|
|Boards of directors||31%|