The husband and wife joined Columbus Partnership President and CEO Alex Fischer in a conversation at OCLC, covering their businesses, philanthropy and, of course, the Cleveland Browns-which the Haslams purchased in 2012 for $1 billion.
Peanut butter and jelly. Fred and Ginger. Business and golf.
Some pairings just work.
As has been tradition for the last several years, Columbus 2020 and the City of Dublin helped the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide kick off the competition with the Leaderboard Breakfast, which this year featured Jimmy and Dee Haslam. The husband and wife joined Columbus Partnership President and CEO Alex Fischer in a conversation at OCLC, covering their businesses, philanthropy and, of course, the Cleveland Browns-which the Haslams purchased in 2012 for $1 billion.
Jimmy Haslam is chairman and CEO of Pilot Flying J, No. 8 on the Forbes list of America's largest private companies; Dee Haslam is CEO of RIVR Media, producer of television series such as Trading Spaces and World Series of Poker.
Since its 1958 founding, Pilot has expanded to include fast-food franchises and convenience stores and has locations in 44 states, plus most of Canada. But with companies like Amazon disrupting retail, change is coming. "You have to think about ... how technology can help us run our business more efficiently, how it can help us take care of our customers, but also what, technology-wise, could knock us out of business," says Jimmy Haslam.
The Haslams have directed their considerable fortune to education-centered philanthropy, giving $11 million to charter schools in Cleveland alone. This, along with support for charters in their hometown in Knoxville, mark "the largest investment in charter schools of almost any private family in America," notes Fischer. The Haslams have also given millions for new and improved sports fields for students in both cities.
"It sounds like it's all about youth football, but it's really not," says Dee Haslam. Kids who participate in extracurricular activities have an improved chance of graduating, she says.
Meanwhile, the Haslams remain focused on improvements to the Browns after a dismal 3-13 record in 2015.
"There's no manual that says, 'this is how you do it,'" Jimmy Haslam says. "We've been criticized for making changes, but we wanted to get it right."