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2015 Influential Woman in Trucking Award Goes to KW’s Kari Rihm

March 11, 2015 By: Trucking News Staff Tags: Fleet Management, Image, News

The Women In Trucking Association (WIT) presented its fifth annual Influential Woman in Trucking award to Kari Rihm, president and CEO of Rihm Kenworth, during this week’s Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) annual meeting.

The Influential Woman in Trucking award, which is sponsored by Navistar, recognizes women in the trucking industry who make or influence key decisions, have a proven record of responsibility, and mentor and serve as a role model to other women. WIT and Navistar teamed up to develop this award in 2010 as a way to honor female leaders in trucking, and to attract and advance women within the industry.

“We are proud to recognize the leadership of Kari Rihm and other influential women in our industry,” said Lisa Hartenberger, director of communications for Navistar. “Women make a difference in the trucking industry every day, and the goal of the Influential Woman in Trucking award is to shine a spotlight on their contributions.”

“We are thrilled to honor a woman who has been so influential in the trucking industry,” said Ellen Voie, president of the Women In Trucking Association. “Kari is proof that women are achieving great things in all trucking professions, from drivers to accountants to CEOs.”

Rihm took over Rihm Kenworth after her husband died in 2010. The company, which is based in St. Paul, Minn., has been in her husband’s family since 1932. With help from her two children — who represent the fourth generation at the dealership — and other dedicated employees, Rihm Kenworth has since added two additional locations, growing from three to five dealerships.

The company has also increased employees by more than 50 percent, has been named Kenworth’s Medium Duty Truck Dealer of the Year three out of the last four years, and has been certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise Network Council (WBENC) since 2011.

Rihm Kenworth is the only 100 percent woman-owned Kenworth dealer in the United States. Rihm has been named a Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Magazine Family Business Honoree in 2013, received a National Association of Women-Owned Businesses local chapter Pioneer Award in 2014, and was honored with a 2015 nomination for American Truck Dealers Association Dealer of the Year.

This year’s finalists also included Elise Chianelli, senior product manager for Safety & Compliance at PeopleNet; Angie Freeman, chief human resources officer for C.H. Robinson and president of the C.H. Robinson Foundation; Karen Rasmussen, president and chief executive officer of HELP Inc.; Shelley Simpson, chief marketing officer and president of ICS & Truckload, J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.; and Karen Smerchek, president of Veriha Trucking Inc.