Pilot Founder Speaks to Young Professionals Group

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Pilot Founder Speaks to Young Professionals Group


OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- Pilot Corp. founder Jimmy Haslam spoke about success in business and the good it can do for other people during an appearance at a Young Professionals of Oak Ridge meeting, according to an OakRidger.com report.

Haslam, the father of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, discussed his early career following a stint as a company commander in the army during the Korean War. After two years working for LaFollette, Tenn.'s Fleet Oil Co., he purchased a gas station in 1958 in Gate City, Va., which became the first Pilot.

More Pilot stations quickly followed, and in 1976, the company built its first convenience store. The first Pilot Travel Center opened in 1965, and the company merged with Flying J in 2010.

"Business is always about cash. You have to have cash to pay the bills and pay people," Haslam told the group. "But you have to listen to other people, too. You can always learn more from other people than you can yourself."

Haslam stressed the importance of Americans looking out for one another, adding, "We need to put more money back into the private sector. We need to start taking care of each other."

He offered several business tips to the local community, government and business leaders who attended the meeting: work hard, set good examples for other people, think long-term and get people involved with the community. Most importantly, businesspeople should not be set in their ways. "If you're not gonna change, you're never going to be a success at anything you do," he said.

According to Haslam, individuals must look to themselves first instead of passing on responsibility to others. "The happiest you will ever be is when you do something for somebody else," he said. "It starts with you."