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Kristy Knichel, CEO of Knichel Logistics, and Jodie Teuton, vice president of Kenworth of Louisiana, won the Women In Trucking Association’s Influential Woman in Trucking award, marking the first time the contest resulted in a tie.
The association announced the joint award winners during its annual conference, convened virtually, Nov. 13.
The honor recognizes women in the industry who make or influence key decisions, have proven records of responsibility and serve as role models.
Congratulations to Kristy Knichel of @knichellogistic and Jodie Teuton of Kenworth of Louisiana/Hino of Baton Rouge and Monroe on being named the 2020 Influential Women in Trucking! #WIT2020 #WomenInTrucking https://t.co/9QZ4xK7uwj— WomenInTrucking (@WomenInTrucking) November 13, 2020
Knichel took the helm of her family’s Pittsburgh-based logistics company in 2007. The company’s revenue was $83 million as of 2019. This year was the second in a row that Knichel was nominated for the award.
“It’s truly an honor,” Knichel said. “It’s been a long road, but I’m super excited to be nominated again. It just means the world to me.”
Teuton, who also was nominated last year, practiced law before entering the retail truck and auto business in 1997. Her dealership represents both Kenworth and Hino truck brands and has seven locations across Louisiana.
She said she enjoys serving as an example for her college-age daughter, Victoria.
“If we were together, we would treat you all to a rendition of ‘I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar,’ even though we can’t sing,” Teuton said.
Knichel and Teuton were selected from a group of six nominees.
Women In Trucking Association President Ellen Voie said there are usually three nominees for the award, and that this year was a particularly close race. Nominees are scored based on three factors: the judge’s overall impression of the nomination, the judge’s rating of the nominee as a role model to other women and the judge’s rating of the nominee’s service to the trucking industry.
In addition to Voie, judges included Deborah Lockridge, editor in chief of Heavy Duty Trucking, and Ruth Lopez, director of transportation management for Ryder System Inc. and winner of last year’s award.
“As judges, it was very difficult this year,” Voie said. “The points were so close.”
The award was presented virtually since the conference was moved online due to safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. Some 626 attendees registered for the virtual conference.
According to Shelley Dellinger of Cargo Transporters and Alphonso Lewis, ATA’s Road Team Captain and YRC Freight driver, diversity in recruitment methods is essential. Hear a snippet, above, and get the full program by going to RoadSigns.TTNews.com.
The Women In Trucking Association developed the award in 2010 as a way to honor female leaders in trucking and to attract and advance women within the industry.
Knichel said she’s thrilled when daughters taking over their family-owned businesses reach out to her for camaraderie and counsel.
In terms of leadership, Knichel encouraged listeners to be outgoing, especially considering the male-dominated nature of the trucking industry. According to the association, women make up about 10% of the truck-driving population. She also stressed the importance of staying connected with associates.
“I would say the most important thing I do every day is touching base with my employees [and] my peers,” Knichel said. “We are one big team together.”
Teuton told listeners it is important to take things in stride and accept events that are outside their control. She also emphasized the importance of persistence for women who want to join the trucking industry.
“The sure way to success is absolutely sticking with it and never giving up,” Teuton said. “To women in trucking, I say congratulations for thinking outside the box and deciding to join this industry because you’re already a trailblazer.”
Also nominated were:
- Crystal Anderson, owner of Donald D. Anderson Jr. Trucking.
- Katrina Liddell, president of global forwarding and expedite operations in North America for XPO Logistics Inc.
- Vana Matte, senior vice president of technology services at J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc.
- Michal Yariv, vice president and general manager of strategic initiatives at Omnitracs.
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