Jim Haslam III, founder of Pilot Corporation, likes to advise young businesspeople: “Work hard, work smart, and always do the right thing.” For Haslam, the right thing means giving back to the community. “As business leaders, we have an obligation – to the communities where we operate – to support education, arts and culture, and health care,” he says.
Haslam’s philanthropic efforts yield benefits in many communities across the country, but especially in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. In recent years, the Haslam family and Pilot Flying J have made significant contributions to the University of Tennessee, Knox County Schools, East Tennessee Children's Hospital and Knoxville Museum of Art. Among the national causes Pilot supports: United Way and organizations that provide support and resources to victims of human trafficking, which is known to occur along the interstates.
Haslam opened his first gas station 60 years ago, and today the company has 650 convenience stores and travel centers. The spirit of community and philanthropy extends to Pilot’s 28,000 team members: when stores close in the aftermath of a disaster, like Hurricanes Florence and Michael, Pilot continues to pay its employees.
“Our passion is driven by making our company a great place to work for our team members,” Haslam says, “and a great place to shop for our guests.”