KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Pilot Company recognized one of its long-time 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, Tenn.
Pilot Company and Peterbilt surprised Abshire at the event 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 Company, which has been a family-owned business for 63 years, and this tradition holds 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 he 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, founder and chairman emeritus of Pilot Company. “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, Virginia, where he resides. During his 40-year career, he drove 2.5 million miles, the equivalent of five trips to the moon and back or 1,650 trips Knoxville-to-New York and back. He also amassed 9,800 Safety Days in the cab of his truck, the equivalent of more than 26 years of safe driving. Plus, he delivered more than 200 million gallons of fuel, the equivalent of 300 Olympic swimming pools.
“I’m still in shock,” 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.”
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