How Early Exposure and Education Will Inspire the Next Generation of Trucking Professionals

by Ellen Voie, on Apr 18, 2024 4:04:09 PM


Mrs. Trisha Peach teaches a career unit for her fifth and sixth grade students at New London’s Intermediate/Middle School in central Wisconsin. She wanted the trucking industry represented, as many of her students were interested in becoming professional drivers. She knew that trucking was a significant industry in the area and employed many local families.

The school Guidance Counselor, Elle Maus, reached out to me to see if I could come in and speak to the students about trucking. Elle’s brother, Andrew, is my son-in-law, so she and I have known each other for years. 

I reached out to Kim Conradt, Safety Programs Coordinator for the WI Motor Carrier Association, to see if I could get a Road Team member who could bring a truck to the event. Kim found four drivers willing to spend the afternoon with these students. 

Danny Tankersly, (who was just named the Driver of the Year in Wisconsin) brought his Special Olympics branded truck that features autism, compliments of WEL Companies. Greg Magsam brought a CNG power unit with a reefer trailer, thanks to CTS and Wes Radtke (Skinner Transfer) and Frank Raljevic (Schneider) helped speak to the classes.


Four classes participated by asking a lot of questions before heading outside to climb into the trucks. The drivers talked about stopping distances and blind spots, but the kids were more interested in the lifestyle and where they’d driven and how often they would get home. They were curious about the amenities in the cab and how someone lives in such a small area!

Ellen-New-London-Visit8-1200x628It happened to be spring break for my seven-year-old granddaughter Adelynn, who was spending time with me. Since Elle is her aunt, I brought her with me to the school where she helped hand out the plastic sunglasses from Women In Trucking and lots of fun items like footballs, pens and koozies from the drivers and their carriers. She even demonstrated how the air horn works for the students!

It was truly a rewarding day, and Mrs. Peach said the “kids loved it and learned so much.” However, I was impressed with her enthusiasm in exposing the students to careers in trucking. She had provided them with facts about the importance of trucking to the economy and how many jobs are created for their families. 

Quite a few students had family members who are professional drivers in their lives.  One student’s (truck driver) father had tragically passed away the week before, but he came to the class and told the Road Team drivers about his father. Other students talked about their dads and grandpas who drove for a living (no female drivers in this group!)


Many thanks to Mrs. Peach for doing HER homework about the industry and for providing an opportunity for her students to learn from true professionals. Thanks also to Elle Maus who coordinated our visit and helped guide the students throughout the day.

Special thanks to Kim Conradt at the WI Motor Carriers Association for coordinating four drivers and two trucks for an afternoon of learning. My greatest appreciation is for the drivers who shared their expertise and their experiences with these students and for their carriers who support them as Road Team Captains.

More schools need to embrace the reality that many students will never be college bound for various reasons, but a career as a driver, dispatcher, mechanic, or company owner is possible. They just need to learn about these opportunities.

If each of you would reach out to your local school and offer to bring a truck for a career day, more of our youth will have a greater understanding of the trucking industry. At the very least, they will have an appreciation for the drivers and how to safely share the road with our trucks. I promise you’ll have a lot of fun as well.


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