November 13, 2018 12:45 PM, EST

AGT Global’s Angela Eliacostas Wins Influential Woman In Trucking Award

Nozuko Mayeza, Brooke Willey and Angela Eliacostas Angela Eliacostas (right) with finalists Nozuko Mayeza (left) and Brooke Willey. (Eleanor Lamb/Transport Topics)

FRISCO, Texas— Angela Eliacostas, founder and CEO of AGT Global Logistics, has won Women In Trucking Association’s Influential Woman in Trucking award.

The award recognizes women in the industry who make or influence key decisions, have a proven record of responsibility and serve as a role model. The award was developed in 2010 as a way to honor female leaders in trucking and to attract and advance women within the industry.

The recipient was announced at WIT’s annual conference Nov. 13. AGT Global is a logistics firm based in Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Eliacostas said that she was shocked to win. During her brief remarks, she thanked her family and her competition. Nozuko Mayeza, managing director of South African company Tulsawiz Logistics, and Brooke Willey, vice president of human resources for CRST International, were the other finalists.

“[This is a] big surprise,” Eliacostas told Transport Topics. “What a great honor. My competition was incredible.”

Angela Eliacostas and Ellen Voie

Eliacostas (left) accepts her award from Women in Trucking Association President Ellen Voie. (Eleanor Lamb/Transport Topics)

Trucking is a family business for Eliacostas. Her father was a driver and her grandfather was a controller for a trucking company. Two of her children work at her company, and the other two work as a logistics consultant and a diesel mechanic.

Eliacostas advised young women who are considering the trucking field to realize that it’s an industry that pulls people in.

“My father told me this is like a vacuum. It’s going to suck you in,” Eliacostas said. “If you have any apprehension, get out now. He was right. I got in it, and I just couldn’t get in enough.”

Resilience, grit and integrity form the pillars of success, according to the finalists, who answered questions about their careers before the winner was announced.

Eliacostas said honesty is the best policy and encouraged leaders to continually coach their employees in a positive manner when they make mistakes.

“Our reputation rests on our last shipment. Be honest and that’s how you’ll earn their respect,” she said. “If people know you don’t compromise your values, you will have earned their trust.”

Perseverance was another major theme. It took Willey three tries before her company’s executive team acquiesced to her pitch for funding to support a training program. The program, which has been in place for four years, has helped reduce turnover.

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Mayeza said she called companies for a year before getting any invitations for contracting opportunities.

“[We’re] one of the few female-owned businesses in South Africa, and we’ve managed to achieve that by knocking at those doors,” Mayeza said.

Eliacostas said the industrywide driver shortage pertains to other company employees, too. American Trucking Associations this year has reported the shortage at more than 50,000 drivers. AGT Global started a mentorship program within the organization to help with training, which applies to new and existing employees.

“[We] have had great success in hiring people completely green,” Eliacostas said. “We’re in constant training. Every day is a learning day for us.”