For Gail Losee, enlisting in the military was never a question, rather it was a matter of deciding in which branch to serve.
“My dad and brother served in the Navy and my grandpa fought in World War II with the Army,” said Losee. “I’ve had several other family members serve as well – it’s in the family. My family wanted me to join the Navy, but I felt that the Army best fit my interests, so I decided to follow in my grandpa’s footsteps. It’s made the Army vs. Navy a fun rivalry.”
Losee served during a 20-year career in the U.S. Army transportation and logistics sector. Over the course of her career, Losee worked her way up from driving military vehicles and responding to natural disaster relief in the U.S. to commanding a platoon overseas. As an officer, she led a platoon of drivers who were responsible for transporting millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and goods to and from U.S. bases in Afghanistan and Iraq to other U.S. bases and coastal ports. Losee earned a Bronze Star in 2008 for her leadership.
“I’ve been around trucks and heavy equipment for almost my entire adult life,” said Losee. “Strategically planning routes for our drivers traveling through enemy territory was stressful at times. I learned a lot of valuable skills serving in the transportation and logistics sector that made my transition to a commercial driver easier.”
Today, Losee is an independent contractor for Stevens Transport and is one of four finalists recently named for the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” program. The program is dedicated to finding America’s top rookie military veteran driver. “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” recognizes top drivers who have made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.
For the fifth consecutive year, Kenworth has teamed with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Program. Kenworth will provide The Driver’s Truck™ – a Kenworth T680 — as the program’s award to this year’s winner. The T680 features the complete PACCAR Powertrain with a PACCAR MX-13 engine, PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission, and PACCAR 40K tandem axles, and includes a 76-inch sleeper equipped with the Kenworth Driver’s Studio package of options providing the ultimate premium living environment.
When Losee decided to join Stevens Transport at the beginning of the year, a big draw for her was the ability to operate a truck equipped with an automated transmission.
“In the military, all of the heavy duty trucks we operated were automatics,” said Losee. “I believe they are much more driver friendly to operate compared to manuals. Since there are so many commercial trucks on the road now with automated transmissions, I was more comfortable in starting a career as a driver. I wasn’t interested in learning my way around a manual.”
Losee leases a Kenworth T680 in her independent contractor role with Stevens Transport. According to Losee, the T680 will be a great truck for her if she wins the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award.
“I love my Kenworth T680,” said Losee. “The sleeper is so roomy and is well designed to maximize the space. It’s a comfortable truck that performs really well. If I’m fortunate enough to win, the T680 will be a great first truck for me to begin my career as an owner-operator.”
Her nomination by Stevens Transport and achievement of finalist status for the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” program has been a “humbling experience,” Losee said. “The entire process and journey – from the nomination by Stevens Transport to my selection as a finalist – has been incredible. As a woman in the industry, I’m proud to be here and hope more women look to the transportation industry for opportunities. All of the finalists are so deserving of the Kenworth T680 and I will be truly happy for whoever is selected as the winner.”
The “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award winner will be announced in December. For further information on the “Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence” award program, visit www.transitiontrucking.org.