Ask Mike Lamb if he believes in luck, and the Landstar business capacity owner will nod enthusiastically. Not only did the native-born Texan find his way into the profession of his childhood dreams — being a truck driver — but he’s also an entrepreneur who found a novel way to expand his service fleet from two trucks to three.
“I have one truck now that’s mine and one that’s my son’s,” he said. “My truck is going to be paid off in about six months, and at the time I pay that truck off, I was planning on buying a second truck.”
He grins, then adds, “Of course, that was before the opportunity fell in my lap.”
That “opportunity,” as Lamb puts it, was his winning a 2022 Kenworth T680 through Landstar’s Deliver to Win promotion, one of two annual giveaways in which Landstar provides eligible owner-operators a chance to win a brand-new truck.
According to the company’s website, eligible owner-operators leased to Landstar earn entries in the Deliver to Win Truck Giveaway contest by delivering loads safely during the contest period. They also have opportunities to earn additional entries, including monthly contests held via DeliverToWin.com. After the contest period ends, all entries are pooled, and finalists are selected by a computerized random number generator.
Lamb was one of five finalists who got the opportunity to select a single box among five boxes, one of which named him the recipient of the new truck — a Concord blue Kenworth featuring a 455 horsepower Paccar MX engine, front and rear disc brakes, Bendix Wingman Fusion Driver Assistance system and a 76-inch high-roof sleeper.
Talking about his win, Lamb was still a bit shell-shocked, although he did confess having a strategy for selecting the right box, each of which was labeled with a letter.
“I nicknamed my daughter ‘Jelly Bean’ because she loved jelly beans when she was a kid,” he said. “So, I’ve got a granddaughter now, and I call her ‘Jelly Bean Jr.’ That’s where I came up with selecting the right box. There were five boxes lettered A through E and I picked B because of the Jelly Bean.”
The new truck is the latest in a whirlwind of opportunities for the independent owner-operator from Joshua, Texas — and that whirlwind was a long time coming. Lamb’s love affair with trucking began as a child, when he would visit his grandfather’s operation in Idaho.
“My grandfather, Roy Harris, owned a hay dealership,” Lamb said. “He had about eight or nine trucks when he passed away. I always had a fascination of trucks from when I was really young.”
Lamb’s initial career was in sales in the pest-control business. It paid the bills, but eventually he began to pine to do something he loved and that he could get excited about. Trucking was the natural choice.
“I was in sales for a lot of years and just wanted a change. Got tired of it, really; wanted to do something different,” he said. “I went through driving school with Schneider back in 2005 and started driving then.”
Lamb says one thing the pest-control business taught him was management skills, and he steadily began to map a plan to go out on his own in the trucking business. He’s been a BCO for Landstar since 2015.
“I pretty well managed everywhere I worked in my life, so I didn’t go into it totally blind,” he said. “I decided it was time for me to build something for myself and my family instead of somebody else. I was in a position where the time was there, the opportunity was there, and I went ahead with my business.”
Lamb’s luck held out during the COVIDI-19 pandemic when truckers were in high demand, even those who hauled auto parts like he does. The rest, as they say, came down to hard work and hustle.
“It’s taken awhile to build. You can’t just jump off into something and expect it to happen overnight,” he said. “It’s been a lot of work in the process, but I think I’ve done it right because I’m in a pretty good position right now. I really feel like I built this automotive run that I have by being able to work with customers and just solve problems.”
For Lamb, trucking is about more than just the money.
“Sometimes, it’s not about the mileage pay, it’s not all about the run — it’s all about whether or not you’re happy with what you’re doing and whether you’re able to work with the people that you work with,” he explained. “That’s a big issue in the trucking business. There’s a lot of things that you have to learn about living on the road, dealing with shipping and receiving, DOT. You’ve got to wear a lot of hats in this business.”
If the word from Lamb’s agent is any indication, he has indeed done things the right way, considering how fast his schedule has filled up over the next year. It’s going to be busy, and that’s with adding the new truck — which, he noted with some irony, he won’t get to take possession of for a spell due to a delay in parts arriving.
Until then, he’s toying with a new moniker for his as-yet unnamed trucking business.
“I’ve thought about naming the company Jelly Bean Trucking, or at least having something made that I can put on the back of the truck that says Jelly Bean,” he said with a broad smile. “It’s my good-luck charm.”
Dwain Hebda is a freelance journalist, author, editor and storyteller in Little Rock, Arkansas. In addition to The Trucker, his work appears in more than 35 publications across multiple states each year. Hebda’s writing has been awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists and a Finalist in Best Of Arkansas rankings by AY Magazine. He is president of Ya!Mule Wordsmiths, which provides editorial services to publications and companies.