To end FreightRover’s week focusing on women in logistics, we talked with all-star Misty Darnell of Paschall Truck Lines about her thoughts on trucking and the unique female perspective.

Misty Darnell Image

How did you get into logistics?

I received an offer to work fulltime while I was getting my master’s degree in finance. I got my first taste of logistics and instantly loved it. I love that there’s a new challenge every day. Nothing’s ever perfect within logistics – there’s always something that can be better, that can be improved upon. I did that and then got offered a job to come back 5 years after I graduated and to work at Paschall Truck Lines. I knew I loved trucking and it was a good opportunity to get back into it and do something I knew I liked. From there I’ve progressed into the roll I’m in now, which is Vice President of Corporate Development.

What are the biggest problems in the industry?

I think for any carrier the driver market and driver turnover are big issues within our industry. We must make trucking more attractive to more people and get them involved because we have a driver shortage. I think our biggest challenge currently is deciding what we need to do as an industry to get more people involved and wanting to become truck drivers.

Do you think being a woman in the logistics industry gives you a different perspective? Do you think you’ve brought anything new to the table being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field?

My mind races at 100 miles an hour and is constantly thinking about a bunch of things at once. When you think about logistics and trucking, that’s exactly how trucking is. There are so many things going on at once. It’s not just one process, you’re working through the whole system. You’ve got your trucks to worry about, you have your equipment, your customers, and your drivers.

I’m not sure why there hasn’t been as many women in trucking – I guess because from a driving perspective everyone just thought it was more of a male job. But from the carrier and driver side of things, it’s a huge opportunity for women to come into this industry to give a completely different perspective and thought patterns. Women tend to look at things very openly and question things at times. I know for myself, I always question why I’m doing something and what potential opportunities might be there. I think logistics for women can be a huge opportunity for them to be successful if they can come in and handle the driver aspect of it as well as the back office.

What can other women learn from your success?

Within my organization, I’m the only woman vice president and I’m also the youngest. I sit on two vendor customer advisory boards where I’m often the only woman in the room. It’s easy to worry about stereotypes like, “Oh you’re a woman. Do you know as much as everyone else?” However, when you’re able to open your mouth and speak very intelligently, you instantly gain respect. As a woman, you must prove yourself. Be confident in what you’re speaking about and be knowledgeable. That comes with any industry and any job, but especially here where there traditionally haven’t been very many women at higher levels.

How is technology helping to bring more people into the industry?

The technology advances help enables automation and back-end procedures, which free up time to work more hands-on with the drivers. Technology allows us to reallocate resources. There’s a driver shortage and there’s also a shortage on the experience side. We’re a training fleet, so we hire drivers from CDL school and put them through our training program. We’re able to expedite processes and reallocate those resources to training novice drivers to become better long-term drivers.

What is Paschall Truck Lines doing to get people into the transportation and logistics industries?

On the driver side of things, we have taken a hard focus at hiring additional women drivers. Our percentage right now is about 8% of our total driver pool. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but within the industry it’s actually really good. We see hiring more female drivers as a big opportunity and we are trying to increase that percentage monthly.

Transportation and logistics have historically been male-dominated industries. However, to capitalize on rapid technology advancements and tackle a historically high driver shortage, companies are looking to attract more women into supply chain management. As we spotlight women in logistics this week, we sat down with Jenyce Houg of Houg Logistics and Transportation to learn about her story, how the industry is changing, and why women are so important to the future of transportation.

Jenyce Houg

What got you into logistics?

I think most people don’t just choose a career in logistics and supply chain. I was a high school junior. My father owned an air freight company in Colorado and would fly freight out to the Western Slope. He said, “Why don’t you come work for me and my partner doing billing, filing railroad paperwork, and learn the ropes.” We did a lot of intermodal rail business back then. My friends jetted off to universities and I had already worked two years making pretty good money, so I decided to stay in Colorado and get my degree locally.

What is the most interesting aspect of your job?

I’ve been in it for 29 years. There are so many facets to logistics and supply chain. There are so many opportunities and different arenas you can go into. Whether it’s operations, human resources, driving a truck, or being an analyst, there’s an array of different types of job opportunities. My dad and I started a local transportation company which evolved into over-the-road trucking and warehousing. I was able to touch every sector over my career inside the industry and I think that’s what I ended up loving about it. Not only did I love the drivers and what they do, but we’re seeing that today it’s really tough to be a driver. I have such respect for what they do. Everything about the industry is fascinating, it’s like putting a puzzle together all the time because it moves so fast.

The logistics industry is traditionally male-dominated. How has being a woman in logistics given you a different perspective into the industry?

It was probably really good that my father brought me up in the industry. I learned how to not take things personally, and you had to be that way. I had a lot of respect and would listen, especially at a roundtable. I made sure when I spoke that I was very firm about what I was speaking about and I knew the subject, because as a woman you’re always tested. I would really make sure I had the facts and I knew what I was talking about. When I did, they took me seriously.

What I tell young women coming up in this industry is that you can’t be afraid to get dirty. One of the things I always did is take road trips with my female drivers. I’d go down and work in the warehouse. To be in this industry and to really understand it, you have to get in on the ground floor. Walk the rail, walk the warehouse, go with the driver, understand what the issues are because that knowledge is just incredible to have. I don’t care if you go into the technology side, analytical side, operations side – when you know the ground floor and what the people do on a day-to-day basis in the trenches, that’s the key to success.

How do you think women drivers/workers are impacting the industry?

I think the statistics now say it’s about 7% women truck drivers, which is rising. With technology rapidly advancing and the equipment becoming more user-friendly, it benefits all drivers, especially women. Down the road I don’t think it’s going to be driver-less, I think it’s going to be driver-assist with the autonomous trucks coming into the market. I think you’ll see more women enter the industry, whether it be on the ground or managing the truck, because of equipment changes.

What’s your advice for someone interested in a career in logistics?

With the rapid development in advanced technologies in the industry, I think that it’s going to reduce the barrier to get in, especially for women, because there’s such opportunities in the market for key roles in technology. I’m really encouraging people when we present at events to consider a career in transportation. There’s a big event called Operation Stimulus that includes about 20 schools and universities that compete in logistics for scholarships. We promote that here in Colorado to really try to encourage college students to get into logistics. There are so many key roles and opportunities right now. Hiring more women also is critical to solving the truck driver shortage. I’m reading about how companies are making concerted efforts to increase female staff to provide the needed perspective to better recruit women into truck driving jobs, which is really important.

How do you think FreightRover’s technology helps with this?

I can’t say that anyone is ahead of their time anymore, because now we all see technology as sort of a horse race. It’s very difficult for people out in the huge ocean of supply chain to really pick good technology. What I love about FreightRover is that it applies to all, big and small. I love that FreightRover’s CarrierHQ offers my independent drivers quick, easy, friendly tools like Occ/Acc insurance. Drivers want to be on the road and having this tool on their mobile device that’s easy to update is ideal. The quick pay through PayEngine also is great for drivers. That’s what I love about FreightRover – the engines, the tools make it seamless and user-friendly. That’s why Houg Transportation and Resources joined up with FreightRover. The CarrierHQ tools and PayEngine quick pay is perfect for our independent contractors. They love it. They absolutely love it.

How are women in logistics changing the industry?

What I love about women working in a male-dominated industry is that we all know we’re different. Men and women are completely different. When you embrace differences and diversity it makes companies successful because we challenge each other. It makes teams more productive, more competitive, more confident with both genders working together. I think that’s why more women will be promoted within our industry as well.

Ecommerce and the internet have just absolutely changed the way the supply chain network operates. I think that’s why there’s going to be so many great positions that continue to open to so many more people.

FreightRover just launched a $500 million financing facility for advancing supply chain and factoring operations nationwide. But what does that actually mean? And why is it important?

Through our affiliate partner Rover180, we have taken a new approach to factoring and supply chain finance. Traditional programs are subject to extensive bank regulation compliance, which limits options and adoption. Rover180’s program provides an alternative by not impacting a buyer’s balance sheet or requiring Unified Commercial Code-1 (UCC-1) filings.

Rover180’s accelerated receivables model is unique in design and application. The supply chain finance program focuses on improving a buyer’s working capital. It consolidates all supplier payments into one monthly payee and annual 1099, extends the days to pay until after goods are sold, and has the benefit of no financing fees. It also supports supplier liquidity by offering flexible receivable terms, payment in as little as 24 hours, and ACH direct deposits.

Rover180’s factoring is just as simple and efficient. With low rates and no extra charge for same-day pay, factoring is stress-free. There are no reserves or holdbacks and the entire process is mobile friendly. Through FreightRover and Rover180’s partnership, factoring carriers also gain access to discounts on fuel and over-the-road medical care. There is instant carrier, payor and invoice approval, and like supply chain finance, vendors can receive same-day pay via ACH deposit. (Questions about factoring?)

This is a big deal for businesses across America. Among top US companies, average days to pay suppliers sits at 57, a number growing annually. This trend negatively impacts smaller suppliers who often struggle with cash flow, especially in the capital-intensive transportation industry. FreightRover and Rover180’s program helps companies extend pay terms to improve working capital while still supporting the liquidity needs of their valuable supplier base.

FreightRover’s technology for invoicing and straight-through payment processing powers this new facility that creates about $50 billion a year of funding capacity.

FreightRover’s partnership with Rover180 signifies a new, faster, more efficient way to manage your pay. Everyone benefits, from buyers and shippers to carriers and other suppliers, and there’s something for everyone, whether you’re working with factoring or supply chain financing. The future is looking bright, and FreightRover and Rover180 are leading the way.