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Pilot Company surprises long-time driver with custom truck

July 13, 2021
Daniel Abshire recognized for 40 years of service with Peterbilt similar to model his dad drove during long tenure with company

Pilot Company recently surprised one of its long-time drivers with a custom Peterbilt truck.

Carrying on a family tradition, Daniel Abshire has driven for Pilot for more than 40 years, so was honored for his contributions during a luncheon on July 7 at the company’s sales and support center headquarters in Knoxville.

The “rig of a lifetime,” reminiscent of the truck his father, Jim Abshire, drove during his tenure at Pilot, was presented to Daniel during the event.

In 1971, Jim was the second driver hired by Pilot, which has been a family-owned business for 63 years. Based in Virginia, he became the company’s first lead driver and drove for Pilot for 42 years. Following in his father’s footsteps, Daniel joined the company in 1980 at the age of 21, and 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. “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 oversees the trucks and drivers based in Staunton and Roanoke, Va., where he resides. During his 40-year career, Daniel has:

  • Driven 2.5 million miles, the equivalent of five trips to the moon and back, or 1,650 trips from Knoxville to New York and back.
  • Amassed 9,800 safety days in the cab of his truck, the equivalent of more than 26 years of safe driving.
  • Delivered more than 200 million gallons of fuel, the equivalent of 300 Olympic swimming pools.

“I’m still in shock,” Daniel 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.”

Both Jim and Daniel are Peterbilt fans. Inspired by a photo of Jim from the 1970s with his Pilot truck, Peterbilt designed the truck that Daniel will drive as a throwback to the 389 model with updated red and yellow Pilot Flying J graphics.

“Everyone at Peterbilt would like to congratulate Daniel Abshire and the whole Abshire family for the millions of miles they have spent on the road delivering fuel for the Pilot Company,” said Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president. “To be a part of this celebration is a privilege and we look forward to seeing Daniel on the road behind the wheel of his Peterbilt Model 389 outfitted with a throwback design honoring the legacy of his father.”

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