KNOXVILLE, Tenn.— Carrying on a family tradition, Daniel Abshire has driven for Pilot Co. 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. Pilot and Peterbilt surprised Abshire at the event, presenting him with a custom Peterbilt truck that is reminiscent of the rig his father, Jim, drove during his tenure at Pilot.
Hired in 1971, Jim Abshire was the second driver ever hired by Pilot. He became the company’s first lead driver and drove for Pilot for 42 years.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Daniel Abshire joined Pilot in 1980 at the age of 21. When his father retired from the position of lead driver in 2013, Daniel stepped into the position. Today he oversees the trucks and drivers based in Staunton and Roanoke, Virginia, where he resides.
“The Abshire family and Pilot transportation are synonymous,” said Jim Haslam, founder and chairman 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.”
During his 40-year career, Daniel Abshire has:
- Driven 2.5 million miles, which is the equivalent of five trips to the moon and back, or 1,650 trips 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, which is the equivalent of 300 Olympic swimming pools.
“I’m still in shock,” he 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 Abshire and Daniel Abshire are fans of Peterbilt trucks. Inspired by a photo of Jim from the 1970s with his Pilot truck, Peterbilt designed the truck that was presented to Daniel 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 Co.,” 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.”