Kaplan is first woman to win local trucking awardWritten by Autumn Lee | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Caitlin Wright
Special to Toledo Free Press
Kim Kaplan of K-Limited burned rubber through the male-dominated trucking industry recently when she was honored as the first woman to receive the Trucking Professional of the Year Award.
Kaplan is the chief operating officer, president and 60 percent owner of K-Limited, a trucking and distributing company founded in 1997 in Perrysburg. Although there is a growing number of women in the trucking industry in management and sales, female involvement in ownership is relatively rare, Kaplan said.
“I was truly, truly honored to receive the award. It’s very prestigious and really makes a statement. I respect the others who have won in the past and it shows a great amount of respect shown to me, especially because I am the first woman,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan was nominated by her peers and chosen by the Toledo Transportation Club. Many of Kaplan’s co-workers were not surprised to hear of Kaplan’s award, citing her vibrancy and the sense of unity she brings to the workplace.
“There is not a better woman out there that could have won this award. She’s taken this company, made it her own and made it successful,” Safety Manager and co-worker Nedal Awada-Krnas said. “Not only does she have 30 years experience, but she’s been able to continue to succeed and uphold an accessible attitude in a volatile and male-dominated industry.”
Kaplan handles the largest responsibilities, including all operations, customer services, contracts, client negotiations, financial and insurance issues and dispatch, but co-workers say she remains humble about her contributions.
Kaplan credits much of K-Limited’s success to its family and teamwork-oriented nature. She started working for her now-husband Dean’s parents’ trucking company, then worked for Fleeceway for 16 years. At Fleeceway, she started in dispatch and worked her way up to management positions.
When Fleeceway went out of business in January 1997, Dean and she decided to start their own trucking company. With the sponsorship of Sunoco, they began with five trucks and the customer base Kaplan had built in her former jobs.
K-Limited grew much faster than the Kaplans had anticipated and expanded to run operations from Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia as well as maintain headquarters in Toledo. With this year as its tenth anniversary, K-Limited is operating 70 trucks and 125 trailers, but plans to keep its customer base relatively small.
“A lot of our success can also be contributed to our control growth; we don’t want to be everything to everybody, we want to provide the safest and best possible service for our employers,” Kaplan said.