Trucking pioneer Steve Williams has done things the “maverick” way for nearly 40 years. He founded Maverick Transportation in 1980 after the trucking industry was deregulated. With a one-room in office in Texarkana, Williams has led the privately-held transportation company to more than 1,700 units doing business across North America.
Growth has come from reinvestment of earnings in company-owned equipment and six acquisitions: Kissick Truck Lines in 1994, Jewett Scott Truck Line in 2002, Parrett Trucking in 2004, Schneider Specialized in 2006, Crossover Transportation in 2010, Haywood Trucking in 2014, Flanary and Sons Trucking, Inc (FAST) in 2015, and Marine Transport, Inc in 2016.
Williams has held high-profile positions as chairman of the Arkansas Trucking Association and the prestigious American Trucking Associations. He also served on the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science and has helped found research and safety initiatives.
In an upcoming interview with Talk Business & Politics, Williams shares his views on how he’s pushed for more government-mandated safety protocols and where he sees the future of trucking. During the conversation with Talk Business & Politics CEO Roby Brock, Williams shared some of the best business advice he ever received from one of the legends of state and national trucking circles: the late Sheridan Garrison of American Freightways, which was purchased by FedEx in 2001.
“I was in a meeting with Sheridan one day in Washington D.C. and he made some very passionate statement to the [national] board, and I sat down. I was really motivated by his speech because he was the only one speaking the way he was talking, and he leaned over and he tapped me on the hand.
“He goes, ‘Stevie,’ he says, ‘sometimes you have to be a majority of one.’ … I took that advice and have tried to do what I thought needed to be done whether it was popular or not, and because I’ve always subscribed to the belief as we make these governmental affairs, regulatory questions, whether it be legislative or regulatory, what’s good for our nation, what’s good for our industry, what’s good for my company. That’s the priority. And if you’ve got it inverted and it’s all self-serving — it’s what’s good for me, and for the industry, and the country — then you’re not looking at it right. Sheridan was the one that motivated me to have that kind of passion and take no prisoners, if you will.”
You can watch a video interview with Williams below.