Prime Inc., North America’s most successful refrigerated, tanker, flatbed, and intermodal carrier, held the second annual Highway Diamonds Gala on Monday, May 15th at the Oasis Convention Center in Springfield, MO. In 2016, the company decided to formalize a program called Highway Diamonds to honor, support, and recognize the female drivers in their fleet. Prime is proud to have nearly 12% of its fleet comprised of female drivers whereas the industry average hovers around 5-6%. Last year, the company held its first ever Highway Diamond Gala and decided to continue the event after a large amount of positive feedback and attendance in 2016.
This year’s Highway Diamond Gala consisted of a variety of speakers, a delicious dinner, and award presentations. The evening was kicked off with Steve Wutke, Vice President of Sales, who set the tone of a night filled with excitement and encouragement. Following Wutke’s opening, Prime Driver and Trainer Tiffany Hanna captivated the crowd with an awe-inspiring National Anthem for the second year in a row trailed by Prime Driver Dee Sova providing the blessing of the meal and sharing her enthusiasm for Highway Diamonds.
As guests enjoyed their wonderfully prepared ribeye and salmon, Helen Van Dam with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) shared about the organization and its mission. Van Dam shared the heroine tale of Beth; a once-victim of human trafficking turned field trainer for the organization. Van Dam educated the audience on the harsh reality that hundreds of thousands of victims currently exist in the United States and the pivotal role the transportation industry plays in reporting suspicious activities every day. The Highway Diamonds Gala is held each year in conjunction with a fundraiser for a charity of choice. Truckers Against Trafficking was the recipient of this year’s fundraising efforts.
Wutke took the stage once again to welcome keynote speaker, Andrea Turner. Turner is the Vice President of Logistics and Customer Supply Chain for General Mills, one of Prime’s top customers. Turner has spoken at numerous events nationwide including the 2015 Supply Chain Insights Global Summit and the 2016 Twin Cities Women in Leadership Symposium. She shared her testimony of what steps she took to get to where she is today, what inspires her, and what fears she has overcome. Keeping the audience engaged with the catch phrase, “#likeagirl”, Turner inspired the audience to recognize their value and strive for greatness.
Prime Inc.’s President and Founder, Robert Low, shared impressive statistics and gratitude for the Highway Diamonds in the company. “In 2014, there were around 480 female drivers. In 2016, there were 810 female drivers. That’s a nice growth company right there,” Low proudly exclaimed to the crowd. Low continued by extending his thankfulness for those willing to train, give back, and pay it forward.
Brooke Mosley concluded the night’s event by announcing the 2017 Highway Diamond award winners. Mosley encouraged the attendees by stating to take what inspires you and let that motivate you to move forward. Mosely presented Prime Driver Amy Thompson with the 2017 Customer Service Award. Thompson is a graduate of the Prime Student Driver Program through which she earned her Class A CDL in 2013. She hauls freight across the country for the Flatbed Division and received the award based on her continual efforts towards customer satisfaction, strong work ethic, service with a smile, and positive attitude.
Refrigerated Independent Contractor, Dee Sova, took home the 2017 Highway Diamond of the Year Award. Sova has been a professional truck driver for over 27 years and came to Prime from another large carrier in 2015 after being referred and encouraged to take the leap of faith by her now fellow coworker Reba Hoffman, who she met via social media. Sova is well-known across Prime and the industry for the online community she created called Trucking Divas Rock. Sova motivates and inspires female drivers in trucking, from carriers of all kinds, by sharing their stories for others to see. With tears in her eyes, Sova accepted the award and proclaimed, “From the bottom of my heart, I was not expecting this, and I am so blessed right now.” Both Thompson and Sova will also receive a one year membership to Women in Trucking Association.