While today’s trailer industry is predominately made up of men, women have long been ingrained in the business of trailers. Successful dealerships, trailer manufacturers and aftermarket providers are surging with new, talented women ready to take on the trailer world.
Here are 3 women that are blazing ahead in the industry.
KIM CRABB (CO-OWNER) ¦ DIAMOND C TRAILERS
Kim Crabb’s career started in 1981, where she managed daily operations for a small trailer manufacturer. That was, until the business closed. Kim was left without a job, but, more importantly, she was left with a lot of trailer knowledge. She knew customers that were left without product and employees without jobs. So, in 1985, Kim and her husband created Diamond C Trailers. The company started small, with only two builders and the owners themselves. Originally, Kim did all the office work, from taking customer orders to hiring and inventory, as she did all she could to establish a top-quality product manufacturer. Today, Diamond C Trailers, with Kim’s guidance, maintains a much larger footprint in the market place.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for the next generation of women in the industry?
“Just being confident. Women can do it. As any job, you must apply yourself and be determined. That’s what it takes.”
KELLY STILL (VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS) ¦ TASKMASTER COMPONENTS
Originally from southern California, Kelly Still moved to Missouri in 1988. After being a stay-at-home mother for several years, Kelly decided it was time to go back to work and, in 2003, she began her career at Taskmaster Components as a Customer Service Representative. Two years later Kelly was promoted to Branch Manager. Serving as the Vice President of Operations since 2017, Kelly admits the road wasn’t always easy and she often faced obstacles. However, she credits her hard work ethic in getting her to the position she has today.
Where do you see the role of women in the trailer industry in the next 10 years?
“As a woman, you must work extremely hard to earn respect and recognition in the trailer industry, which means having to challenge gender imbalances every step of the way. It means proving that leadership has absolutely nothing to do with gender, but is just about having the ability to successfully lead your team.”
KAREN SWEARINGEN (CO-OWNER) ¦ SHARP MANUFACTURING, LLC
With the departure of Rob Swearingen’s business partner in 2007, Swearingen’s wife, Karen, joined Sharp Manufacturing, LLC full time as Co-Owner. Now, Karen plays a leading role not only in the company, but in her hometown community of Blue Rapids, Kansas as well. Being able to combine 35+ years of accounting experience with other jobs, including the local Farmer Coop, led to an incredibly thorough understanding of the trailer industry, making her transition to a management role in Sharp Manufacturing, LLC seamless. Now a family business, Karen ensures the entire team, including Rob and Karen’s children, build a business with a reputation of high-quality products and superior customer service.
What do you think is the most significant obstacle for leading females in the trailer industry?
“I think there are plenty of women in leading roles, but aren’t the face of the company. One of the obstacles women deal with is not being recognized as having adequate knowledge of the industry.”
If you would like to nominate a female in the industry to be featured in a future post, please contact Corey Langley at firstname.lastname@example.org.