Landstar business capacity owner (BCO) Gary Buchs was overwhelmed when he stood at the podium in March to accept the Owner-Operator of the Year award from the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and Overdrive magazine. It’s an honor, Buchs says, he never dreamed would be possible.

“It was a very surreal experience,” says Buchs.

“I was standing next to Landstar Vice President of Safety and Compliance Mike Cobb when they announced I had won. I felt my knees give out, and leaned into Mike. It was very emotional – more emotional than I thought it would be.”

The announcement was made during TCA’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. On stage, Buchs attributed his success to his family, his wife Marcia, their children and grandchildren. But, especially to his late parents, who he says raised him the right way with a “tremendous work ethic,” and to have “a caring attitude about life.”

“I had prepared the speech, and wanted to shine light on those who helped me become who I am. My parents, who have been deceased for a number of years, gave me such an education about life,” says Buchs.

He says he first learned how to drive a truck on his parents’ farm in the late 1980s, then started driving professionally in 1990. Since the start of his career as a professional truck driver, Buchs has clocked more than 2.3 million miles on the road.

Buchs, who joined the Landstar family in 2003, is no stranger to the limelight. In 2015, he was honored as one of TravelCenter of America’s Citizen Drivers of the Year.

“Customers know who I am because of these honors, it verifies what Landstar is made of and gives agents confidence in me as a business capacity owner,” says the 27-year industry veteran who lives in Colfax, Illinois.

To be eligible for the Owner-Operator of the Year contest applicants must first be nominated by their company, then meet a long list of specific criteria including safe DOT highway miles and proof of income. Buchs also submitted three essays and a business plan to TCA as part of the application.

Filling out the nomination portion of Buchs’ application, was something Landstar Director of BCO Retention Mark Gillette says was a privilege and a pleasure.

“Gary represents Landstar’s finest. From his safety record to his efforts to create a positive image of the trucking industry, he was the best choice for Owner-Operator of the Year,” says Gillette. “I know I speak for the entire Landstar family when I say how proud we all are of Gary’s accomplishments.”