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A Personal Calling to Safety

Landstar Safety Officer (LSO) of the Year Wyatt “Ike” Tate remembers the exact moment he learned the importance of putting safety first around commercial vehicles.

“It was 1979. My wife, Mimi, was newly pregnant and we were driving in rush hour traffic on the interstate,” says Tate. “The next thing we knew, we were being side swiped by a big rig. We were able to pull over but the truck didn’t stop. We learned later, the driver didn’t know he had hit us. We were in his blind spot. He didn’t even know we were there.”

Tate says he has shared that story many times during his 30-year career in transportation. As he explains it, the experience is what sparked his drive to put safety first.

“It was an important lesson about being safe on the road around trucks. One that I’ve always kept with me,” says Tate. “Fortunately, we were okay. But we will never forget that day and how lucky we were.”

Tate first joined the Landstar network in 1991 as a corporate employee. Nineteen years later, he partnered with an independent agent in Charlotte, North Carolina, before becoming the agency owner in 2016.

Tate makes promoting safety a daily practice at his agency Charlotte Express Center Inc. – a commitment to safety that earned the independent agent the 2018 Landstar Safety Officer of the Year recognition.

As a Landstar Safety Officer (LSO) or ambassador of safety, Tate has made Landstar’s safety culture a priority by educating his agency staff, Landstar business capacity owners (BCOs) and his community about the importance of safe driving.

“What people don’t know can hurt them,” explains Tate. “We constantly promote safe driving habits to everyone we come in contact with, including customers, BCOs and employees. Specifically to remind everyone in our community about safety around trucks and that distracted driving, at any time, is dangerous.”

Tate was nominated as the 2018 LSO of the Month in May 2018 after hosting a Landstar Safety Thursday meeting which involved a hands-on educational experience about the dangers of distracted driving.

“I connected with the Charlotte Mecklenburg police department and we took several Landstar executives and employees on the police academy’s distracted driving training course,” says Tate.

“On the drive through the course, we quickly saw just how scary distracted driving can be,” Tate added. “You always have to plan for an out and remain focused on the road at all times.”

Tate planned the experience as a harmless way for others to learn the lesson he did years ago. “You can
never be too careful when it comes to safety on the highway and especially around large trucks.”


  • Practice safe and compliant dispatch procedures
  • Follow proper handling of high-risk commodities in accordance with the law
  • Maintain lawfully required hazardous material certification
  • Participate in Landstar’s Mutual Understanding of Safety Together or M.U.S.T. program
  • Participate in Landstar’s monthly Safety Thursday Conference Call and Landstar Safety Officer meeting


Landstar recognizes one Landstar Safety Officer of the Month as Safety Officer of the Year for his or her individual safety efforts. The 12 LSOs selected throughout the year become candidates for the title of LSO of the Year which is announced at the annual agent convention the following year.



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