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Friday, September 28, 2012

Pilot customer gets massive boost from Shark Tank

Back in the spring, we featured our customerTower Paddle Boards, as they were about to appear on ABC's "Shark Tank." Six months later, we've got some exciting updates to share. In case you missed the episode, Tower was one of the lucky companies to have a "Shark" decide to take a chance on them. Billionaire investor Mark Cuban agreed to make a $150,000 investment in the business, which has resulted in enormous growth for Tower.

I spoke with Founder Stephan Aarstol this week (in advance of an update on the company scheduled to air on "Shark Tank" tonight) about what's happened this year, and how Pilot is supporting his company's growth. Aarstol told me that since the episode featuring Tower Paddle Boards originally aired, the company has seen sales increase more than 800 percent year-over-year, taking them from $250,000 in sales for 2011, to a projected $1.5 million for 2012. And if those numbers weren't enough, an article in Entrepreneur Magazine recognized Tower as one of the top 10 "Shark Tank" success stories.

Meanwhile, Pilot is continuing to handle all of Tower's inbound freight from China, as well as domestic delivery of thousands of completed paddle boards a year. When I asked Aarstol how working with Pilot has helped his business, he told me that the paddle board industry is notorious for high incidence of damage during shipping. Before Tower started working Pilot, they had been experiencing a 15 percent damage rate. After working with Pilot to make improvements like double boxing, that rate is down in the five percent range. Additionally, Tower is partnering with Pilot to explore other possibilities for international shipping, including setting up a warehouse in Australia, from which Pilot will facilitate the delivery of paddle boards to consumers who order from Tower's website.

Our San Diego station has really enjoyed working with the team at Tower Paddle Boards, and is thrilled to see the company thriving. Once again, congratulations to Tower on the huge success -- we're happy to play a small role in making your business run smoothly!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Strong first half of 2012 shows continued momentum for Pilot

It’s been an exciting first half of the year for everyone at Pilot. Our first quarter marked nine quarters of steady revenue growth and we are happy to say that the second quarter of 2012 has been no different. As a company, we have seen significant and continued growth, increasing our revenue by 12.5 percent from the second quarter of 2011.

The fantastic team at Pilot deserves much of the credit; especially those that helped our special services business grow this quarter—now up 65.5 percent year-over-year, along with our home delivery segment, which is up 37.2 percent over last year. Take a peek below for more about our solid second quarter. In addition, we congratulate Miami and Laredo on breaking the $1 million mark in monthly revenues, and recognize Pilot Seattle for their tremendous growth.

I have every confidence in the world that Pilot will continue to make huge strides and finish out the second half of the year with long-term revenue growth. We are excited about our employees’ hard work and Pilot’s ongoing commitment to exceeding customer expectations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nine quarters of growth and counting

Over the past several years, we've seen more and more of our competitors scale back their operations, lay off employees, and in some cases, close their doors entirely. But for the ninth consecutive quarter, Pilot has seen year-over-year revenue growth -- not a small feat when the economy is still struggling to rebound.

Today, we announced our numbers for the first quarter, which reflected growth across the company, thanks to another three months of amazing work from the entire Pilot team. A couple of highlights include 71 percent year-over-year growth for our special services business, and an almost 20 percent increase for our government business. 

With numbers like these, broad-based growth across the company as a whole, and the U.S. economy showing more signs of improvement, I can tell you that it's going to be another great year for Pilot.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pilot customer jumps into the Shark Tank

Last year, Pilot's San Diego station started working with a Pacific Beach-based company called Tower Paddle Boards, handling their entire supply chain from the import of their products from overseas to warehousing and domestic distribution. The startup sells stand up paddleboards direct-to-consumer, taking a unique, web-based approach to this fast-growing market.

Next week, Tower will gain a whole new level of exposure when founder Stephan Aarstol appears on ABC's popular show, "Shark Tank," where they will ask the "sharks" to invest in the company.

Everyone at Pilot is extremely excited for Tower, and we're rooting for a bidding war among the investors!

Tune in on March 16th at 8/7c to check out the show. Good luck, Stephan!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hello, Toronto!

Last year, we opened our first international station in Amsterdam, and promised that there would be more to come. True to that promise, this month we have officially opened our first Canadian station, in Toronto.

Because of its status as the U.S.'s largest trading partner, Canada has been extremely important for us over the years. We will continue to work with Concord Transportation, our Canadian partner -- but having our own physical location in the Toronto will allow us to provide more hands-on customer service to our customers shipping into and out of the region. Additionally, because Toronto is one of the largest import/export hubs in North America, we'll be opening up additional options to our U.S. customers who would benefit from exporting their shipments via this city.

We've tapped Andy Harris, who has over twenty years of experience in the freight forwarding industry, to manage the station. Heading up customer service/operations is JoAnne Stoddart, a new addition to the Pilot team, whose strong background in international shipping will be a great asset. More staff will be added in the coming weeks to support Andy and JoAnne.

Congratulations to everyone involved in getting the Toronto station off the ground!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pilot's momentum continues into 2012

A year ago, I announced that 2010 was the year that Pilot broke all of its personal revenue and volume records. After a year like that, most companies would expect -- and be content -- to level off. Not Pilot. The numbers are in, and we have once again blown away our old records with $491 million in revenue for the year, up 16 percent from 2010. 

That number would have been impossible without every single one of our business segments marking significant gains for the year. Congratulations are in order for everyone for making this growth possible, and a special recognition goes to Larry Wenrich and the government group, which grew its revenue by an unbelievable 65 percent over the previous year. The work that they've done with both existing and new customers to serve U.S. interests at home and abroad clearly has not gone unnoticed.

As if these numbers weren't exciting enough on their own, I'm even more impressed by the fact that while we handled more volume in 2011 than ever before, we did so while achieving our best ever performance numbers. So not only did Pilot continue to grow, we also continued to deliver the excellent service our customers have come to expect. And that deserves a big round of applause all around.

After a year like that, where do we go from here? Nowhere but up.