Spolight on Employee Appreciation at Maverick

  Friday, May 31, 2024

Recently, Maverick celebrated our incredible employees during Employee Appreciation Week. Their hard work and dedication drive our success every day. While we believe employee appreciation is an ongoing practice in Maverick’s culture, we choose to show extra gratitude during these special events. Check out these great photos from our celebrations!

In true Maverick fashion, we want to highlight the fun we had during EAW while shining a spotlight on our people. Last month, you were introduced to one of our decorated Dedicated drivers, Kenny Neely. Today, you will meet two of our office employees whose work ethics and enthusiasm exemplify the core values of our company.

Shawn Cooper – Area Logistics Manager II

Question: What do you do at Maverick?

Shawn: I’m an Area Logistics Manager II here at Maverick and I communicate with our customers, operations team and external associates to ensure high utilization on each truck that is dispatched. I work to help maintain our company’s revenue by taking care of our internal and external customers’ needs and solicit freight for our drivers.

Question: What do you enjoy about your job?

Shawn: I enjoy that it’s fast-paced and never the same. It’s like a puzzle where you are constantly trying to get all the pieces to fit but it can change at any moment, and once it does you will have a totally different picture.

Question: What are some hobbies you enjoy?

Shawn: Going for long walks, spending time with family and friends, and traveling.

Question: Do you listen to podcasts or music? If so, what types?

Shawn: Yes. I love music! I pretty much listen to all kinds of music besides heavy metal, and my favorite would have to be R&B. As far as podcasts are concerned, I like to listen to inspirational ones as well as mysteries. Nine times out of ten, I’m listening to a Christian podcast.

Question: Do you have a funny work story you’d be comfortable with sharing?

Shawn: Back when we were having a challenge with our phone system, my co-worker Catherine was on the phone with IT, and they asked her for the number that wasn’t working. She gave them “8675309” and started singing it. They were totally confused, and we were dying laughing!

Eric Tompkins – Director of Risk Management

Question: What do you do at Maverick?

Eric: I am the Director of Risk Management. I oversee all the accidents, injuries, and the litigation that can come from that. We have the best folks in the business working here to help me with those decisions, and I am very proud to be a part of that team. I also help in making sure that we have insurance on the trucks, buildings, cargo, lots, drivers, and anything else that we need to protect to make sure that we can keep doing what we do better than every other open deck carrier: deliver freight safely.

Question: What do you enjoy about your job?

Eric: I love the people here. They have welcomed me wholeheartedly and they always see opportunity even in difficult situations. It truly is great to be a Maverick.

Question: What are some hobbies you enjoy?

Eric: I enjoy playing guitar in my spare time. I also enjoy boating, golfing and most outside leisure activities with my wife and two boys.

Question: Do you listen to podcasts or music? If so, what types?

Eric: I love both music and podcasts. Music has always been special to me, and I enjoy all kinds, like any good millennial, from the music my parents and grandparents grew up with to staying up- to- date with the current music so I can embarrass my boys! I am really into the Teskey Brothers recently, they have a strong Motown sound and if you're interested, Rain is a fantastic listen of a song. Zach Top is also in heavy rotation with me, he is an up-and-coming country artist and his songs sound like the 90’s country that I grew up listening to.

I like podcasts, so anything can get me going if it can hold my attention. I listened to My Fugitive Dad recently and it is worth checking out. I have listened to Joe Rogan before it was cool, and I enjoy it when he has guests that talk about pyramids, aliens and fitness topics. I feel like I now know a lot about fitness, but it hasn’t really panned out into practice yet.

Question: Do you have a funny work story you’d be comfortable with sharing?

Eric: Well, as a risk manager we are supposed to be extra aware of our surroundings. I will say that parking a pickup in the morning can be a little stressful, and accidents can happen to any of us. I did tap a car in the parking lot in front of a few witnesses, and yes, I am sure that Dean (Maverick's VP of Safety) would say it was preventable. I have taken my lumps about it, and I am happy to say my insurance did take care of the damage I caused to the other car. We still joke about it sometimes.

We want to extend a heartfelt, “THANK YOU” to our Maverick family and all that you do. Your hard work and consistent commitment do not go unnoticed. We know that Maverick’s success could not be built on anything but a foundation of talented and loyal people. It’s our people who matter. These stories and photos shared are just a small glimpse into the diverse backgrounds that fill our trucks and our hallways. We can’t wait to see what the future holds but are certain it will be one that is filled with FUN.

Stories from the Road- Meet Maverick Driver, Kenny Neely

  Friday, April 26, 2024

Get ready to join us for another “Story from the Road.” This month, we interviewed one of our 2023 Dedicated Drivers of the Month, Kenny Neely. We’ll explore Kenny’s introduction to truck driving and discover why he chooses Maverick each day. (There may also be some fun facts he shared!)

Q: How long have you been driving?

Kenny: “I've been driving for 25 years. I got into it out of necessity. I was working at a plant in Franklin, TN. They closed and I did not have anywhere laterally to go to make the same money. My friend said I could drive a tractor trailer delivering ice cream, so I did.”

Q: How did you get into driving Final Mile? (Final Mile is a dedicated division at Maverick that delivers goods to the end consumer)

Kenny: “I knew a driver that was driving on a final mile delivery contract through another carrier. He really enjoyed it. They ended up having to relocate and he asked if I was interested in taking over that job. Being home every day really interested me, so I decided to do it. That was almost 19 years ago. I’ve been driving on that same account since.”

Q: How has your experience with Maverick been?

Kenny: “It was so good to be appreciated with great pay and the way Maverick treated me when they got this account. I had been through this several times before, but no one ever treated me like Maverick. My truck and equipment were set up so well. Also, when I started, I didn’t lose a thing. I received prorated vacation time, and they honored my tenure! I love this company. The people here are kind and they care. Maverick makes you want to do your best!”

Q: What do you love about being a professional driver?

Kenny: “Truck driving has made me a lot more financially free to do things for my family. I can save money and that's such a good thing. Also, I love being able to pay my bills and I LOVE to eat. It’s great.”

Q: What kind of awards/recognition have you earned during your time with Maverick?

Kenny: “I’ve earned Maverick’s Ace Award for 2 years running. I’ve received safety awards and was excited to get Dedicated Driver of the Month last November!”

Q: Tell us about your family.

Kenny: “I’ve raised two kids and have been married for 31 years, and truck driving has been so good for me and my family. I also have three grandbabies!”

Q: What is your favorite outdoor sport?

Kenny: My favorite outdoor sport is hunting. I love deer hunting and when I am not deer hunting, I am setting up something for deer hunting.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant?

Kenny: “Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ in Decatur, AL- their stuffed potatoes are amazing. They are almost as big as a football!”

Q: What is your favorite music/artist?

Kenny: “Anything old country. George Jones, Conway Twitty, or Hank Williams.”

Q: Last and certainly not least, what is a fun fact about you?

Kenny: “I am a Disney fanatic. I’ve been to Disney World over 25 times. I LOVE the Tower of Terror ride! One time, we were there for 5 days, and we walked 54 miles in that time.

One thing that's clear as we share these stories from the road: being a professional driver is not just about skill, attitude and resilience, it's about the people behind the wheel. That’s what matters most - portraying the personal side of driving that shows the dreams, the challenges and the drive to succeed.

Fuel up and GO: Healthy and QUICK Recipe & Activity Ideas for the Professional Truck Driver

  Friday, March 29, 2024

Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for both physical and mental health for everyone, but especially for professional truck drivers. Thankfully, with a bit of planning and creativity, it's possible to whip up delicious and nutritious meals right in the cab of your truck. In this blog post, we'll explore some easy recipes provided by Mavericks themselves that are tailored specifically for truck drivers who are looking to eat well while on the road.

TJ Hargis, our 2020 Driver of the Year and our 2022 Trainer of the Year provided some great tips to prepare for a successful week:

“So, I don't really "cook" in the truck. I like to prepare my meals at home and bring them with me. I will pop them in the microwave and dinner is done in less than 5 minutes. I do cook eggs in the morning in the microwave and warm up some sausage that I precook at home. I use my smoker a lot during good weather. I find small packs of meat at the local grocery store and prepare different meals like that so I'm not eating the same thing over and over. I can have a week's worth of food prepared for me and my student (if needed) in about 2-3 hours (depending on what I'm cooking) while I go do other things. It saves me a lot time at home and out here, I really don't feel like sitting in here preparing a meal at the end of day, I just want to relax.

Also, I always park in the back at truck stops, which gives me a good walk just going inside and back out. When I am parked in an area that allows, I will take a walk around and just take in the sights of some of the different little places we go to.

I average about $15 for breakfast for 2 weeks solo or 1 week with a student. For my dinner, I usually only spend around $20-$25 per week depending on what I get to cook. fFor the most part, I spend $40 or less per week on food.”

Scott Claiborne, our 2020 Dedicated Driver of the Year also provided some of his tips that he has for living a healthy lifestyle out on the road:

“My girlfriend helps me prep meals by making sliced meatloaf for sandwiches, breakfast casserole and grilling brussels sprouts. I like to bring ingredients to make yogurt parfaits with blueberries, vanilla yogurt, walnuts and honey. I also like to work out in my truck with a kettlebell.

Scott’s Workout:

3 x 50 squats with a 12 lbs. kettlebell

3 x 20 donkey kicks

3 x 200 arm circles (50 reps forward and backwards palms down = 100 Then 50 more reps forward and backwards palm up = 100)

3 x 30 lateral arm raises

3 x 30 pushups (usually broken up as 2 sets of 15)

3 x 30 lawnmower pulls using the kettlebell

3 x 30 ab crunches

The information provided here is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

Maintaining good health on the road is essential for professional drivers. Simple strategies like healthy eating and regular exercise can enhance your well-being and safety. Let's commit to staying healthy and thriving on every mile of the journey.

The Juggling Act: Stories from the Road- How to successfully balance a professional truck driving career and your family.

  Thursday, February 29, 2024

Professional truck driving is not just a job; it's a lifestyle. Truck drivers spend extended periods away from home, often traveling long distances to deliver freight across our country. The solitude of the road, while offering independence and time to think, when coupled with the irregular hours, can pose challenges to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

We spoke with James Hogue, a Maverick driver who has been with us for over 9 years, to get his perspective and advice on how to successfully balance a professional driving career and family.

James has been married for 18 years and together, they have 5 children ranging in age from 2 to 18.

  • Communication is Key: Maintaining strong communication with family members is crucial. Thanks to modern technology, and his Maverick Wi-Fi hot spot, James stays connected with his family via video calls and can also help them with their schoolwork. He is also able to play online games with his oldest children. You can also connect through phone calls and messaging apps. Regular updates and heartfelt conversations can help bridge the gap and provide emotional support.

  • Strategic Planning: Successful truck drivers are detailed planners. They often create schedules that align with important family events or milestones, making sure they’re present during special moments. James ensures that his home time requests align with his children's games, special events or for some extra family time.

  • Making the Most out of your Home Time: While at home, it’s important to be intentional with how your time is spent. Whether there are “things to accomplish” or not, it’s key to create quality time with those family members while you are physically with them. James and his family enjoy watching movies together and hanging out at their pond. You can also plan special family dinners, game nights or go outside to play.

  • Highlighted Idea from James: One very special way that James likes to connect with his children is he will find out what book they are reading and listen to the audio version of it while he is driving that week so they can talk about the book and connect.
  • Embracing Flexibility: Flexibility is also key in the trucking world. Drivers who learn to adapt to unforeseen circumstances on the road and apply the same adaptability to their family life can feel more successful. Understand that plans may need to change on short notice and develop a mindset that embraces flexibility both on and off the road.

Professional truck drivers demonstrate incredible flexibility as they adapt to the challenges on the road while still tending to and developing strong family bonds. Through intentional communication, strategic planning with a strong team, intentionality, and flexibility, our drivers demonstrate that enjoying a fulfilling career and a thriving family life can indeed go hand in hand.

Maverick: At the Forefront of Technology

  Saturday, January 27, 2024

Welcome to the world of Maverick’s trucking technology! With the ongoing availability of new technology, the trucking industry is undergoing a major transformation. Join us as we dive into some of the exciting innovations that are making Maverick’s professional truck driving jobs safer and more connected.

Maverick has always been known for being a leader on all fronts; trucking industry standards, safety, pay and technology. In this blog, we’ll explore how in-truck technology at Maverick is driving the future of efficient and reliable transportation on our highways.

In 2021, Maverick committed to the full adoption of the Stoneridge MirrorEye® system in our entire fleet of trucks. This system enhances our trucks' mirrors with “integrated external digital cameras and digital monitors inside the cab of the truck.” Stoneridge Mirror Eye, 1/12/2024, 8:06 a.m., MirrorEye® Camera Monitor System (CMS) - Stoneridge

There are many advantages offered with the MirrorEye system that aid our drivers - from enhanced vantage points to infrared technology that increases visibility at night.

We sat down with Maverick’s Director of Risk Management, Eric Tompkins, and he had this to say: “This [MirrorEye] technology is an enhancement tool to make our drivers’ jobs better. In addition to automatic emergency braking, roll stability, side radar and adaptive cruise control, this tool really improves our drivers’ visibility. It eliminates almost all of the blind spots. A bonus feature of MirrorEye is that it is a great exoneration tool as far as determining accidents and who is at fault. Often, with footage from MirrorEye, Maverick is eliminated from fault of an accident.”

Here are just a few of the MirrorEye safety features that assist our drivers:

  • External cameras that turn when the trailer turns

  • Infrared Visibility- assists drivers with better visibility when backing into dark locations

  • Larger vantage points around the truck include a blind spot monitor from the steps on the passenger side to in front of the steer tire.

  • If the lights are too bright at night, drivers can change settings to dim

Here at Maverick, we’ve also installed technology in the truck to enhance the driver’s safety while stopped and/or parked for the evening. Installed in the sleeper berth of the truck is a panic button and when pushed, all the lights on the truck flash and the horn goes off. As a driver, if you hear something or feel unsafe, you can turn that on to call attention to your location.

While driving, Maverick’s onboard computer system also offers tablet popups that alert the driver to road and traffic conditions corresponding to their location. For instance, a driver may be heading into an area where there has been a high number of rollover accidents so their computer will show an alert like the below to indicate HIGH ROLLOVER. There are also alerts like, low bridge ahead, unexpected slowdown, work zone, etc.

Maverick also has a visual mapping system that allows our operations team to precisely locate a driver, which is very helpful in severe weather events. With our technology we can communicate with individual drivers, portions of the fleet, or the whole fleet more effectively as weather systems develop. We also use this technology to map drivers home locations to check on them and their families when the most severe events occur.

These are just a few pieces of technology that Maverick has invested in to keep our drivers and the motoring public safer. It’s very clear that technology is shaping our industry for the better. With advancements like Stoneridge MirrorEye® that increase visibility on and off the road, to onboard computer systems that are technological powerhouses, we feel confident about the future and our professional drivers’ ability to navigate it. Our technology not only makes our operations safer and more efficient, but it also contributes to a growth mindset that Maverick doesn’t back down from.

Stories from the Road: A Journey

  Friday, December 29, 2023

Hey there, professional drivers, travelers, and story enthusiasts! Buckle up and come along for the ride in our new series we’re calling: "Stories from the Road."

We wanted to share our drivers’ firsthand experiences and shine a light on the unique life of professional truck driving. Get ready for a journey filled with personal stories, cultural gems, and those unexpected moments that make each driver’s story unique. Ready to hit the road?

Our first story captures the experience from our very own video producer, Jake Pendergist’s, as he rode along for one week with tenured Maverick road trainer, Jeremy Tate. We'll include commentary from the cab of the truck, highlighting Jake’s expectations versus the reality that Jeremy educates us with. And we’ll also include some realities that we typically don’t think about as non-drivers.

Jake (Video Producer/Non-Driver): “The inspiration for this driver ride- along initially came from wanting to highlight our drivers performing their jobs day in and day out. We want to portray how hard they work. I was nervous, knowing that we were going to be in close quarters for long hours, but I had met Jeremy before and knew he was very personable. A positive thing that I noticed was Jeremy’s sense of travel and independence. This job is so good for independent personalities. I loved going to unfamiliar places and meeting new people. We also listened to a historical fiction novel on audio, and I got into it too!

It was a VERY eye-opening experience. I learned that there is so much more to truck driving than driving a truck; it’s mathematics, knowing how to secure and tarp all sorts of loads properly, the difficulties that come with the job, and so much more. I have a whole new level of appreciation for our drivers!”

Jake shared learning about the realities of driving professionally, including the ongoing challenge to find safe and well-lit parking spaces, getting comfortable enough to sleep with the hustle and bustle going on outside the truck, and the challenging work involved in securing, tarping, and driving the load from shipper to consignee.

Jeremy (Professional Maverick Driver): “My expectation our ride along was to be professional and answer his questions to the best of my ability. The first thing I always tell a student and what I told Jake is that I like to have fun. I am serious about work and safety, but it helps the time pass to HAVE FUN. I worked in retail management at Walmart and Staples, and we had to be serious a lot. We were always stressing about something. So now, I like to be calm and enjoy my job. This truck is our office. I love travelling and seeing new things. I wish I could explain to non-drivers how dangerous it can be to cut us off, slam on their brakes or tailgate us. We drivers do all that we can to keep the public safe. We leave a generous amount of road space so if we need to slow down, we can do it safely. My eyes are always watching the road, my mirrors, the load I am hauling and the motoring public. At the end of the day, safety is the most important focus.”

This story from the road is a great reminder to us all - there’s so much challenging work that goes into succeeding as a professional truck driver. Remember to respect them, give them space, and thank them. Drivers keep America running, one mile marker at a time.

A Closer Look at How Maverick Gives Back

  Friday, November 24, 2023

While Maverick is known for our steadfast approach to safety in the transportation industry, another core value that we hold dear is giving to others. No matter what, we prioritize giving to those in need and to those who have served our great country.

We are honored with the opportunity to donate to a myriad of organizations throughout the year including:

• Arkansas Children’s Hospital Auxiliary
• St Jude’s Children’s Hospital
• Alzheimer’s Association
• Wounded Warrior
• DAV (Disabled American Veterans)
• Special Olympics of Arkansas
• Arkansas Foodbank
• Angel Tree

Given that this time of year is known as the season of giving, we want to shine a light on The Salvation Army Angel Tree.

“Every child deserves to experience the joy of Christmas morning. The Salvation Army Angel Tree program helps provide Christmas gifts for hundreds of thousands of children around the country each year.” [The Salvation Army Angel Tree; accessed November 8, 2023, Angel Tree (saangeltree.org)]

For over two decades, Maverick has partnered with a local non-profit organization, an elementary school and the Salvation Army to provide Christmas gifts to over 50 children each holiday season. In November and December, we have employees who donate their time to either shop, wrap or deliver gifts. Check out these great photos from years past.

We want to create meaningful relationships within our communities. We believe that through connections built with these wonderful organizations, we form a strong foundation upon which positive change is built.

Exploring the Advanced Interior of Maverick’s State-of-the-Art Trucks

  Friday, October 20, 2023

Have you ever wondered what amenities await you in Maverick’s technologically advanced trucks? Well, we’re here to show you!

The Freightliner Cascadia's interior begins with its ergonomically-designed cockpit. The layout is thoughtfully laid out with a driver’s comfort and convenience in mind. The driver's seat is adjustable and comes with features like heating and ventilation, allowing professional drivers to find their most comfortable position. The steering wheel is equipped with easy-to-reach controls for features such as cruise control, audio, and phone functions, minimizing their distractions and maximizing everyone’s safety.

Additionally, Maverick installs an onboard computer system that keeps our drivers in touch with every piece of information that they need: from dispatch details to our info-loaded driver portal.

One of the spotlight features within the Freightliner Cascadia is its spacious cab design. The interior provides ample headroom, legroom, and storage options, making it a comfortable space.

The Cascadia is not just about comfort and convenience; it's also a showcase of advanced safety features. The interior includes driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and collision avoidance technology. Maverick has also taken steps to add industry-leading safety technology to keep our drivers and the driving public safe on our nation’s highways. These systems help enhance safety on the road, reduce driver fatigue, and mitigate the risk of accidents.

We hope that as you research Maverick and all we have to offer, you see the meticulous details that are put into every decision, choice of technology and care of our drivers.

2023 Maverick Driver Appreciation Week

  Friday, September 22, 2023

Last week, we had the opportunity to celebrate and honor our professional drivers during 2023’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. While we hope that our gratitude and appreciation is felt throughout the year, we also truly enjoy the opportunity to throw a larger spotlight on our drivers during this special week.

The American Trucking Association launched National Truck Driver Appreciation Week back in 1998 to honor truck drivers in this industry – 25 years of giving honor where honor is due; our DRIVERS!

From cookouts to catered meals, giveaways on social media, free driver-related gifts with included gift cards – we're celebrating our drivers in more ways than one to show our appreciation! We even produced two videos this year - a beautiful ode the life of a driver, written and narrated by one of our very own, and a fun light-hearted video that’s dedicated to those who keep everyone “Living in America” moving. We sincerely thank our fleet of Maverick drivers and ALL professional drivers for the dedication and work ethic you exhibit day in and day out for our communities, families and friends.

Please look through highlight photos from Maverick’s Driver Appreciation Week 2023 below:

2023 National Truck Driver Appreciation Week Food Schedule

  Friday, September 8, 2023

This Sunday, September 10th, kicks of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week! We’re so thankful for all of our Maverick drivers that keep our nation moving! Our gratitude is not only for one week, but all year long. We’ll be celebrating in various ways across all of our facilities, as well as at Dedicated customer locations, and there will be random giveaways and prizes on our social media channels. If you haven't ordered your gift, be sure to do so by logging into the Driver Portal and clicking on the "2023 DAW Gift" button.

Please see below for this year's food schedule! Happy Driver Appreciation Week - we're so grateful for all of you!