KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Pilot Flying J is in growth mode. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based company, which has more than 750 stores in 44 states and six Canadian provinces, spent 2019 investing $2 million in renovations such as new showers, employee break rooms, fuel dispensers and back-office systems. Pilot Flying J has also focused on foodservice, technology, fuel and employee initiatives in the past year. Here's a look at four of those efforts ...
1. More stores
Pilot Flying J grew by 30 new and acquired locations in 2019. In June alone, Pilot Flying J announced plans to open six new travel centers in West Texas with a combined 250 truck parking spaces. Three of the six stores opened that month, in a two-week time frame. They included a Flying J Travel Center in Kermit, Texas, and one Pilot Travel Center each in Monahans and Midland, Texas. The final three—in Odessa, Midland and Andrews—were slated to be built by the end of 2019. Pilot Flying J expects these six stores to add about 150 jobs and contribute more than $6.4 million in state and local tax revenue. While the amenities vary by store, most include the company’s PJ Fresh Marketplace, a Dunkin’ Express, numerous diesel lanes and fueling stations, CAT scales, truck parking spots and showers.
2. People push
Pilot Flying J held its first national hiring day in May 2019, making it the largest in-person and virtual hiring event in the travel-center company’s history. The company aimed to hire more than 5,000 new team members across its network, with an average of 10 positions per location. In September, Pilot Flying J added paid, gender-neutral parental leave to its employee benefit package. The benefit provides 100% paid parental leave for six weeks to all team members, both full-time and part-time, who have at least one year of service and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months.
3. One9 network
In January, Pilot Flying J launched the One9 nationwide fuel network, aimed at small fleets. It provides faster fueling, plus access to personalized credit and enhanced loyalty options at a variety of travel-center brands either owned by or in partnership with Pilot Flying J. The One9 network includes access to more than 170 locations, including Mr. Fuel, Pride and Stamart travel centers, as well as designated Speedway commercial fueling lanes. Members can earn myRewards benefits across the One9 and Pilot Flying J networks. One9 also has no transaction or monthly fees.
4. Tech solutions
In August, Pilot Flying J gathered about 120 employees for a two-day “hackathon” at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Ten teams developed and presented technology-forward solutions for the company and its customers, which the company plans to implement. Winning ideas included an online portal to streamline communication across teams, an app that allows truck drivers to find and reserve parking spots and a tool to help detect and stop human trafficking in the chain’s parking lots. The three winning teams saw $10,000 go to each of their preferred charities, courtesy of Pilot Flying J.