As a new person to trucking and logistics, walking into the aptly named “Truck World” show for the first time really was like walking into a new world. Beautiful, top-of-the-line trucks filled the trade show floor, parts and accessories that I never knew existed were displayed like fine art, and people were walking around like kids in a candy store ogling the newest in trucking technology.

There was a lot for me to learn. But I couldn’t wait to jump into the Volvo truck in front of our booth, and it didn’t take long for fellow exhibitors to introduce themselves.

Three things really surprised me during the three-day event. The perceptions that many people have of the trucking industry, myself included before entering my current position, don’t usually include the things I’ve outlined below. They’re encouraging signs for anyone outside the business who wants to get in—and for anyone who’s looking to recruit them.

1. Big industry, small community feel

Being new and from a demographic that’s under-represented in the industry, I expected to be treated like an outsider. However, the camaraderie was apparent from the get-go.

People were more than willing to show me the ropes and answer my questions (right down to the basics). In fact, Pete Dalmazzi from Trucks for Change wished me well in my position and said he hoped I stay in the industry for a long time.

The event felt almost like a reunion. People were reminiscing about the previous years, catching up on accomplishments, and I even saw a few high-fives as people walked the trade show floor. For such a big industry, everyone seemed to know each other and I really felt as though I was becoming part of a community.

2. Pride

Pride in the industry, pride in the companies, pride in the jobs—you name it, people in trucking are proud of everything they have worked so hard to accomplish. As you should be.

Over the past five years Trucking HR Canada’s Top Fleet Employers program has turned this pride into recognition. It celebrates leaders for their recruitment and retention efforts, workplace culture, compensation, training and skills development, and innovative HR practices. This year the recognized fleets were announced a few weeks before Truck World, and 22 of the 52 Top Fleet Employers companies had recruitment booths at Truck World and were able to proudly display their accomplishment. Speaking for the Trucking HR Canada team, we were also very proud of them.

3. Together we are better

One person or one company alone is not enough to make this a great industry to work in. It’s a joint effort and together we have already made so much progress.

The driver shortage is having a huge impact and now, more than ever, trucking has to look at attracting, recruiting, and retaining a more diverse workforce. This includes women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, and other under-represented groups.

To do this, the industry is coming together to share tools, resources, and best practices to promote the industry to a new audience. We spearheaded our Women with Drive Initiative and annual Leadership Summit to meet industry needs. These are great places to make new connections, and look for tools and resources to support employers in recruiting and retaining women in the industry.

Truck World 2018 was one for the books and a warm welcome indeed. The event had more exhibitors than ever which shows a real commitment from the industry to continue to innovate, progress, and thrive.

Thanks to everyone who came by our booth this year to talk to us or pick up some of our resources. I look forward to many more years in the trucking and logistics industry, and I see many more Truck World shows in my future.