In 1971 Lamar Perlis opened Perlis Truck Stop, embarking on a journey that would benefit the truckstop industry, his fellow operators and his community. Earlier this year, Perlis’s dedication and hard work was honored when he was welcomed into the NATSO Foundation Hall of Fame.
The award recognizes current or past NATSO members whose participation in their communities, the industry and the association brings honor to and serves as a source of pride for the travel plaza and truckstop industry.
“Lamar’s decision to enter the truckstop business has benefited his community as well as the industry as a whole,” said NATSO Chairman Bobby Berkstresser when he presented the NATSO Hall of Fame Award to Perlis at The NATSO Show in February. NATSO has presented the Hall of Fame Award only four times since 2004.
NATSO Steering Council member Bill Sherrif called Perlis a “lifelong learner” who has “made this industry a better place.”
In 1971, at age 46, Perlis opened Perlis Truck Stop in Cordele, Ga., a nationally known truckstop that he built after serving his country in World War II and after serving his family as a partner in the family clothing business. He later purchased and operated a second truckstop in Cusseta, Ala. And in 1980, Lamar organized the Heavy Duty Distributors truck parts business. Perlis served as chairman of NATSO in 1981.
Chad Ingram, chief executive officer of Garvin Oil Co., nominated Perlis for the award. “He knows so many people in the industry and he had a very large truckstop back when there weren’t very many large truckstops out there,” Ingram said. “I felt that for him not to be nominated was a shame.”
In addition to his commitment to the truckstop industry, Perlis has strong ties to his community. He has been affiliated with the Boy Scouts and Kiwanis Club. He has served as chairman of the board for the Cordele Banking Company and currently serves on the Georgia Tech President’s Scholarship Council. Lamar has been a board member for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Upper Flint Water Council and a member of the local Cordele-Crisp County Chamber of Commerce. In 1996, Lamar was inducted into the Georgia School of Technology Engineering Hall of Fame.
Throughout the years, Perlis’s wife, Jackie, assisted in the business. “She was my mainstay,” Perlis said.
Sherrif said of Lamar and Jackie, “They exemplify the relationships between husbands and wives that build this industry.”
Upon receiving the award, Perlis said, “It takes 86 years to get to this point…and with God’s help the best is yet to come. Thank you more than I can truly say.”
This article originally ran in Stop Watch magazine. Stop Watch provides in-depth content to assist NATSO members in improving their travel plaza business operations and provides context on trends and news affecting the industry.
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