Pilot Flying J Pledges $1.25 Million to Trucking Group

Partnership will focus on initiatives such as health-related programming

James A. Haslam II (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Truckstops)

James A. Haslam II

WASHINGTON -- Pilot Flying J has committed $1.25 million over the next five years to Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) to assist with the growing trucking-industry movement.

The leading travel center company and the trucking industry advocacy group kicked off the partnership with a press conference at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and addressed various initiatives, including substantial health-related programming.

"Pilot Flying J anticipates expanding our popular health initiatives and Road Warrior driver engagement campaign throughout the entire industry, utilizing TMAF's wide-ranging network of professional drivers, owner-operators, technicians and more," said James A. Haslam II, founder of Pilot Flying J. "Our travel centers also reach millions of people annually, and we are excited to share in telling the trucking movement's story with such a vibrant, all-encompassing program."

Road Warrior is a Pilot Flying J-driven initiative to celebrate and honor professional drivers throughout North America for their determination and dedication.

TMAF, launched at the Mid-America Trucking Show, is an industry-wide image and internal education initiative informing policy makers, motorists and the public about the benefits of the trucking industry to help build a groundswell of political and grassroots support necessary to strengthen and grow the industry. In April, TMAF said that it had raised more than a half-million dollars since its official March launch.

"We are incredibly grateful for this generous donation as Pilot Flying J plays a key role in reaching millions of Americans and this partnership illustrates how committed we are as an industry to telling trucking's positive stories," said Mike Card, TMAF fundraising chair and president of Combined Transport Inc. "The trucking industry is essential to the well-being of America's economy, as we exclusively serve more than 82% of all our country's communities and employ more than seven million people."

Trucking Moves America Forward aims to establish a long-term industry-wide movement to create a positive image for the industry, to ensure that policymakers and the public understand the importance of the trucking industry to the nation's economy and to build the political and grassroots support necessary to strengthen and grow the industry in the future.

Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot Flying J has more than 650 retail locations. The Pilot Flying J network provides drivers with access to more than 65,000 parking spaces for trucks, 4,400 showers and 4,000 diesel lanes, with more than 4,100 offering DEF at the pump. Pilot Flying J subsidiary Pilot Logistics Services is one of the fastest growing independent energy logistics companies in North America. Together, Pilot Flying J and Pilot Logistic Services employ more than 24,000 people.

Pilot Flying J is currently facing an ongoing federal investigation stemming from allegations of a diesel fuel rebate scam that has resulted in several guilty pleas and that has forced several executives out of the company. Pilot Flying J reached an $85 million settlement with hundreds of trucking company customers; however, more than a dozen companies are pursuing lawsuits outside of the settlement. In January, a federal judge dismissed racketeering and deceptive trade practices charges against the company.

Part of CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers