By: Jag Dhatt
Pilot Flying J has been a steadfast name in the trucking industry for decades, with its roots dating back to 1958, when owner Jim Haslam opened his first Pilot gas station in Virginia.
In 1981, Pilot opened its first truck stop and by 2009, had developed an extensive network through acquisitions and mergers. In 2009, Pilot took control of Flying J, when the latter had filed for bankruptcy during the great recession. In 2010, the two names joined together and made what became known as Pilot Flying J.
With over 1,000 truck stops, the industry leader wanted to have a corporate name that reflected their energy division’s $29 billion dollar growth as well. And thus, we have the Pilot Company.
The Pilot Company has over 1,800 tanker trucks that deliver a liquid of some sort to either a gas station or travel centre every 18 seconds.
Jimmy Haslam, the son of the company founder, said, “It’s a way of showing all of our team members what the company really looks like. And we’re not done. We will be adding another 20 stores to our portfolio with respect to fuel.”
Of course, Pilot Flying J made headlines in 2016 when the FBI raided and laid charges against many top executives in the organization. In the end, 17 employees either plead guilty or were convicted of fraud schemes worth over $50 million.
During the FBI investigation, Jimmy Haslam maintained he knew nothing of the fraud that occurred. “Ultimately, the blame of the company’s underperformance lies with me. However, I knew nothing of the misconduct of our employees.” With over 28,000 employees, it is reasonable to assume that the CEO wasn’t aware of the misconduct.
Pilot will continue to be a name that resonates with the North American transport industry. And now, as the Pilot Company, the brand hopes to better reflect its divisions through the corporate name change.