Jimmy Haslam (’76)

Category: Awards | Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna

2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner

Jimmy Haslam serves as chief executive officer of Pilot Flying J. Headquartered in Knoxville, Pilot Flying J has more than 750 retail locations and is the largest operator of travel centers in North America.

A native of Knoxville, Haslam began his career at Pilot Corporation in 1976. In 1980, he was named vice president of sales, development, and operations. At that time, Pilot operated 100 convenience stores with annual fuel sales of about 125 million gallons.

In 2010, Pilot Travel Centers LLC joined with Flying J Inc. The chain has partnered with numerous restaurants, as well as chef and UT alumnus Tim Love, to provide diverse food options for travelers and truckers across the country, along with maintenance services, rest facilities, and fuel. Pilot Flying J has been rated 14th on the Forbes 500 list of the largest privately held companies and recently attracted the investment of Warren Buffett.

In 2008, Haslam became a part owner of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, marking the first time that ownership of the franchise expanded beyond the Rooney and McGinley families. In October 2012, Haslam sold his interest in the Steelers, and he and Dee Haslam acquired primary ownership of the Cleveland Browns. In 2019, he became a co-owner of Columbus Crew Soccer Club, one of the founding MLS teams.

Haslam has been an active and supportive alumnus of the University of Tennessee. He and his wife, Dee, were co-chairs for the Campaign for Tennessee. Their personal investments have strengthened UT’s academic reputation by establishing the Haslam Scholars program—a premier honors program that will provide unprecedented opportunities for some of the best and brightest students. Further investments have advanced top-ranking programs such as the Marco Institute, the Forensic Anthropology Center, and Cinema Studies.

Haslam is also extremely involved in the Knoxville community. He has served on the boards of directors for the United Way of Greater Knoxville and Lakeshore Park in Knoxville. He formerly served as campaign chair for Knox Area Rescue Ministries and United Way of Greater Knoxville.

In Ohio, Haslam served as Honorary Chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland campaign committee.

He was inducted into the Junior Achievement of East Tennessee Business Hall of Fame in 2007, and in 2010 was named a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Southeast region. In 2011, Haslam received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UT College of Business Administration, now named the Haslam College of Business in honor of his father.