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Pilot Flying J celebrates 60 years with $2 million in donations

In celebration of its 60th anniversary this month, Pilot Flying J announced donations totaling $2 million at a Nov. 1 presentation at the company’s headquarters in Knoxville. More than 20 nonprofit organizations, several of which attended the donation announcement, will receive contributions. Pictured from left: Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley President and CEO Bart McFadden; Pilot Flying J Founder James A. Haslam II; Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee Executive Director Elaine Streno; Hire Heroes USA Chief Financial Officer Nathan Smith; Feeding America Chief Development Officer Andy Wilson; and Pilot Flying J Community Relations and Events Manager Meg Counts. (Photo: Pilot Flying J)

To celebrate its 60th year in business, Pilot Flying J will be donating $2 million this month to 20 charities, including those supporting veterans and the trucking industry, the company announced on Thursday.

“We have a responsibility to give back to our communities, not only in Knoxville, but in all of our communities across the country,” James Haslam, founder and chairman, said during a conference call.

With over 28,000 employees and 1.3 million visitors each day to its more than 750 retail locations in 44 states, Haslam, who is a Korean War veteran, said the charities reflect both Pilot Flying J’s team members’ and customers’ causes.

“Our 60th anniversary is a very special milestone,” Haslam said. “We’re grateful to our thousands of team members and millions of guests.”

Among the organizations that will receive donations are the St. Christopher’s Trucker Relief Fund, Feeding America, Truckers Against Trafficking, Trucker Buddy International, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Hire Heroes USA, Folds of Honor, Fisher House Foundation, and Bunker Labs.

“A spirit of community and philanthropy was instilled in our company’s culture from the beginning,” Meg Counts, community relations and events manager of Pilot Flying J, said. “We are proud to partner with these important organizations, supporting their missions and programs to help our communities and veterans thrive. Together, we are truly able to fuel life’s journeys.”  

On Veteran’s Day, Pilot Flying J will offer active duty and retired military members a free Pilot coffee of any size with their choice of a PJ Fresh breakfast sandwich, packaged pastry item or a Cinnabon Center of the Roll. Redemption of the offer is done through the Pilot Flying J app.

On the call, Brian Ferguson, chief merchant for the company, provided some updates on Pilot Flying J’s third-quarter performance and Haslam took a few questions. One of those focused on the company’s joint venture to form PWT. PWT is a venture of Pilot Flying J, Produced Water Transfer1 LLC and Complete Vacuum and Rental LLC, which formed PDPS, operating under the PWT name. In July, PWT then acquired Bridger Environmental, a salt water transportation and disposal company, and FerrellGas Partner’s crude transportation business.

These companies are focused in providing third-party crude hauling and logistics, primarily in the Permian Basin.

“Because of the people we have down there, hopefully we can source our petroleum products from the region and pass some of that savings along to our customers,” Haslam said.

Ferguson also noted that Pilot Flying J hopes to expand the number of locations that offer urgent care facilities.

“We are looking to expand that network,” he said. “It is a resource our drivers say they need.”

In March, the company announced an expansion of its Truck Care network. That network has now grown to 17 locations with 3 more expected online before the end of the year, Ferguson said. It includes 135 service trucks and services offered in 36 states. The service locations offer DOT inspections, tire service, light mechanical services and 24/7 roadside assistance.

In other updates, Ferguson said 20 new locations have opened this year and more than 900 additional parking spots have been made available. The company offers over 72,000 parking spots nationwide, and it continues to look for more opportunity to open additional parking.

The company’s app continues to grow in popularity, with a 50% year-over-year monthly increase reported for finding parking, an 80% increase in app usage to reserve shower time, and a 90% increase in app usage for mobile diesel fueling transactions.

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]