Pilot Co. is recognizing one of its longtime drivers with the rig of a lifetime. Carrying on a family tradition, Daniel Abshire has driven for Pilot for more than 40 years and was honored for his contributions during a luncheon on July 7 at the company’s Sales and Support Center headquarters in Knoxville.
Pilot Co. and Peterbilt surprised Abshire at the event, presenting him with a custom Peterbilt truck that is reminiscent of the rig his father, Jim, drove during his tenure at Pilot.
Family is very important for Pilot Co., which has been a family-owned business for 63 years, and this tradition rings true with Jim and Daniel Abshire. In 1971, Jim Abshire was the second driver ever hired by Pilot. Based in Virginia, Jim became the company’s first lead driver and drove for Pilot for 42 years. Following in his father’s footsteps, Daniel joined Pilot in 1980 at the age of 21, and eventually assumed the role of lead driver when Jim retired from the position in 2013.
“The Abshire family and Pilot transportation are synonymous,” said Jim Haslam, Pilot Co. founder and chairman emeritus. “Daniel is the best. And that’s because he learned from the best – his father, Jim. This job requires patience, endurance and a deep regard for everyone on the road. We are very proud of these two long and legendary careers, and it’s an honor to recognize Daniel for his 40 years at Pilot with this specially designed Peterbilt truck.”
Today, Daniel Abshire oversees the trucks and drivers based in Staunton and Roanoke, Va., where he resides. During his 40-year career, Abshire has:
- Driven 2.5 million miles, the equivalent of five trips to the moon and back or 1,650 trips Knoxville-to-New York and back.
- Amassed 9,800 Safety Days in the cab of his truck, the equivalent of more than 26 years of safe driving.
- Delivered more than 200 million gallons of fuel, the equivalent of 300 Olympic swimming pools.
“I’m still in shock,” Daniel Abshire said. “I wasn’t expecting to be recognized, let alone get a new truck to drive that also celebrates my dad’s time with Pilot. I remember him driving a Peterbilt like this one, and this is my dream truck. We’ve always been part of the Pilot family, and the team here, especially the other drivers, always have been part of the Abshire family. That’s not lip service; it’s how we operate. This just illustrates how true it is. We are family.”
Both Jim and Daniel are fans of Peterbilt trucks. Inspired by a photo of Jim from the 1970s with his Pilot truck, Peterbilt designed the truck that Daniel will drive as a throwback to the 389 model with updated red and yellow Pilot Flying J graphics.
“Everyone at Peterbilt would like to congratulate Daniel Abshire and the whole Abshire family for the millions of miles they have spent on the road delivering fuel for the Pilot Co,” said Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president. “To be a part of this celebration is a privilege and we look forward to seeing Daniel on the road behind the wheel of his Peterbilt Model 389 outfitted with a throwback design honoring the legacy of his father.”
Pilot Co. employs more than 1,200 drivers as the third largest tanker fleet in North America and has open positions for company drivers, as well as at its travel centers across North America. To view job opportunities, learn more about Pilot Company’s culture and benefits, and to apply, visit jobs.pilotflyingj.com.
Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot Co. has grown its network to more than 1,000 retail and fueling locations, and as the third largest tanker fleet in North America, supplies more than 11 billion gallons of fuel per year to the market. Its Pilot Flying J Travel Center network includes more than 750 locations in 44 states and five Canadian provinces with more than 680 restaurants, 74,000 truck parking spaces, 5,300 deluxe showers, 6,200 diesel lanes and offers truck maintenance and tire service through Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J.