Pilot Corporation

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For the Japanese pen manufacturer, see Pilot (pen company).
Pilot Corporation
Type Privately held limited liability company
Industry Truck stop
Convenience store
Petroleum
Restaurant
Founded Gate City, Virginia, 1958
Founders Jim Haslam
Headquarters Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Number of locations 550+
Area served Canada, United States
Key people Jimmy Haslam (Chairman and CEO)
Revenue US$17.77 billion(FY 2011)[1]
Operating income US$475.0 million(FY 2011)[1]
Total assets US$4.1 billion(FY 2011)[1]
Employees 19,000
Website www.pilotflyingj.com

Pilot Corporation (or simply Pilot) is a petroleum corporation in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. Pilot operates the Pilot Food Mart convenience stores in Tennessee. Along with Flying J and CVC Capital Partners, Pilot is joint-owner of Pilot Flying J, the largest truck stop chain in the United States.

History[edit]

Pilot Corporation was founded by James Haslam Jr. in 1958 in Gate City, Virginia when he purchased an existing gasoline station. By 1965, Pilot owned 12 stations, and was selling 5 million gallons of fuel yearly. Pilot built its first convenience store in 1976, and converted the rest of its locations into convenience stores.

In 1981, Pilot built its first travel center, and has focused on that aspect of its business ever since. 1988 saw Pilot begin its concentration on expanding its travel center network in a nationwide presence. Also in 1988, Pilot opened its first travel center with a fast food restaurant inside. On September 1, 2001, Pilot and Marathon Petroleum Company formed Pilot Travel Centers, LLC. On July 1, 2010, Pilot and Flying J's travel center chains merged to form Pilot Flying J. The two brands will keep their separate identities in the merged company.

Investigation of price gouging[edit]

On September 14, 2008, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum issued subpoenas to Pilot for investigation of price gouging in the days following Hurricane Ike.[2]

Sports sponsorship[edit]

NASCAR[edit]

In 1998, Pilot sponsored Gary Bradberry and Triad Motorsports in NASCAR. This venture was short lived, however, ending in 1999.

Pilot returned to NASCAR in 2011 with the help of Scott Wombold when it became the primary sponsor of Rusty Wallace Racing driver Michael Annett in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.[3] As the deal came after the Flying J merger, both Pilot and Flying J are primary sponsors of the car.

In 2012, when Annett moved to the Nationwide team of Richard Petty Motorsports, Pilot Flying J followed him to his new team.

In 2014, Annett moved to the Sprint Cup Series, driving the No. 7 Chevrolet for Tommy Baldwin Racing, and again Pilot Flying J followed him, re entering the Cup Series for the first time since 1998.

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

In 2008, Pilot president James (Jimmy) Haslam III, son of founder James (Jim) Haslam II, purchased a 16% stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers as part of the team's ownership restructuring due to some heirs of the Rooney family retaining stakes in gambling enterprises such as horse tracks and race horse breeding stables, violating NFL rules.[4] It was not known at the time if it would lead to a sponsorship deal between the two at Pittsburgh-area Pilot Travel Centers locations, or possibly a sponsorship deal with the NFL in general nationwide. The Rooney family retained control of the franchise itself.

Cleveland Browns[edit]

In August 2012, Pilot president Jimmy Haslam purchased a controlling interest in the Cleveland Browns from Randy Lerner for over $1 billion, pending approval of other NFL owners. Under NFL rules, he must sell his share in the Steelers before buying the Browns. Haslam has made plans with the Rooney family to sell his Steelers interest, and is expected to sell that stake by the time the Browns purchase is finalized in October 2012.[5] It is also expected that Haslam will sell the naming rights to FirstEnergy to become FirstEnergy Stadium.

References[edit]

External links[edit]