The Legacy Sam Landrum Has Created in the Driver’s Seat

Sam landrum with his maverick transportation truck

When Sam Landrum, a Maverick driver, entered the world of trucking he was not motivated by a desire for picturesque landscapes or personal accolades. In fact, initially, he may not have seen himself sticking around in the industry for long. However, he persisted and gained decades of driving experience, covering millions of miles on the road, culminating in his recognition as Maverick Transportation’s 2023 Over the Road Driver of the Year.


“I’m incredibly impressed and encouraged by Sam Landrum. As much as anyone in the company, he knows how far we’ve come and how far we can go if we continue to work together and strive to make the driving job better,” said John Coppens, Maverick’s vice president of operations. “Sam is a great addition to the Driver of the Year group, and I look forward to working with him as part of our ongoing advisory councils.”

While this isn’t Landrum’s first award as a driver, the 67-year-old emphasizes the significance of Maverick’s award.

“What was so special about being named Maverick’s OTR Driver of the Year is the fact that other drivers voted on it,” he said. “It really meant a whole lot to me when I had fellow drivers come up to me to say, ‘Man, I hope you get it. I voted for you!’ Just to be known and liked by fellow drivers meant a lot.”

His journey into trucking began early in life, influenced by family members involved in the industry, although he didn’t seriously consider it as a career until the downturn in farming during the 1980s.

After graduating from high school in 1975, Landrum worked on the family farm until 1981 when interest rates rose 21%.

“The banker wanted to know if I wanted to continue. He was afraid my dad was going to be out on the streets without anything,” Landrum said. “They were getting scared, so I decided to quit farming. … My wife and folks were from Dallas, so we went down there (in 1982). I got a job working in a factory, building cabinets for houses and stuff. The first four years, it was all right, but the last two years, I hated even having to go to work.”

His career path took a significant turn when a fellow church member offered him a job driving a local delivery truck. Impressed by Landrum’s natural skill behind the wheel, his friend suggested he try his hand at driving a semi-truck.

Initially hesitant, Landrum took on the challenge when asked to fill in for the regular OTR driver who was on vacation.

“My first trip was to Colorado. I don’t think I slept the whole week because I was so nervous. I had to go through the mountains and all that stuff,” Landrum said. “… I’m my own teacher. I made a lot of mistakes and I learned from mistakes. Of course, things are different now. Before anybody will even look at you, you’ve got to go through school and all that. I learned it hard-core.”

Landrum discovered real enjoyment in the job, particularly liking the camaraderie among drivers. He valued the sense of community, knowing that he could always connect with fellow drivers for advice or assistance at any truck stop or over the CB radio.

“When we started out, we didn’t have no GPS, didn’t have no cellphones, no nothing. We had to buy a suitcase full of city maps,” he said. “Back then, drivers would talk to each other. So, if you went to a truck stop and said, ‘Hey, man, you ever been to this area?’ they might say, ‘Yeah. Avoid this road; there’s an old bridge here.’ Everybody talked to each other a whole lot more than they do now.”

Over the past 30 years, Landrum has remained dedicated to Maverick, and his passion for the job has only grown stronger. His commitment has earned him recognition from both the carrier and his peers, with four nominations for Driver of the Month and his current status as Driver of the Year. He emphasizes the consistent support from his wife.

“I have a real good wife who held down the fort while I went out and made more money for our family,” he said. “I tell you what, it takes a special woman to put up with a truck driver! … I also want to say that Maverick was a godsend to me. I couldn’t have gone with a better company. That’s why I’ve been here so long. I’ve got 30 years and 3 million safe miles with them, and I can only say good things about Maverick.”



Source: The Trucker

Photo: Maverick