Industry News & New Products

Zip's Spotlight: SAS Towing & Recovery

by Cameron Hanson | Mar 15, 2024

Already life partners, James and Amy Peterson became business partners three years ago when they decided to purchase SAS Towing & Recovery in central Texas.

They believe the decision to go into business for themselves has brought them closer together, both as a couple and as a family.

“Just being able to work side by side with him every day has been awesome,” Amy said of her husband of 19 years. “Then bringing in our family, including his brothers and our five kids, it keeps us all together on a daily basis. The most rewarding thing about working together is that it has made us stronger.”

Based in Jarrell, TX, the Petersons purchased SAS in July of 2021. They were both working for another Texas tow company, Cedar Park Wreckers, at the time when the opportunity to purchase SAS presented itself. Shortly after buying SAS, they also bought Cedar Park and continue to identify opportunities for growth and expansion.

Amy, who spent most of her career in the dental industry, admitted there were “challenges” when they decided to take the leap from employee to owner, but the fact they’ve already spent nearly two decades together gave them the conviction and confidence they could succeed in their new business venture.

James said the fear of failing is a great motivator, and his long-term goal with the company is to build a foundation for his family’s future.



“My biggest fear in purchasing the company was failing and wondering if I could do this and having the confidence in myself to be able to do it,” James confessed. “That’s why I get up every morning to keep everything going, to see our business continue to grow and to succeed and not to settle. I want to keep this thing going for my kids, so I have something to hand down to them.”

“One of the things James talked to me about before we bought SAS was how he worries about failing because he does carry all of our employees and their families on his shoulders, and they all rely on him to succeed,” Amy added. “He understands by showing up every day and making it all work means all of them and their families are succeeding as well.”


Leading by example


SAS currently employs 25 team members, including tow truck operators, driver managers, dispatchers and shop technicians. Amy describes herself as a “driver problem solver,” and James likes to consider himself a hands-on boss, willing to fill in for other drivers as needed and still responding to calls. That direct involvement isn’t lost on rotator operator Stan Collins.

“James is a fantastic leader and has a ferocious work ethic,” Stan said. “Of all the bosses I’ve had in my career, he’s the one who’s been the most willing to get in there and get dirty with the guys. There’s only been one or two heavy calls that I’ve been on that James hasn’t been a part of in some way. He’ll walk the walk and talk the talk. He’s right there with us every step of the way. I’m willing to push myself harder because I see him in there.”

James said leading by example helps with employee retention and morale. Keeping good drivers is key to their current and future success. He said all drivers are “part of the family” at SAS, and many employees know the names of their co-workers’ spouses and children. They encourage each other to get to know each other on a personal level and to become a valued member of the team.

“Some of the challenges we face in this towing business is making sure we have enough drivers who want to succeed and grow with us,” James said. “Trying to find people who fit in and want to go with that is kind of difficult sometimes. This is a very demanding job. It can be very dangerous. Any time you have to stop on the side of the road to pick someone up, there’s a high chance to get injured. So finding someone who wants to do that is a whole other challenge.”

Going the extra mile

To make them feel wanted and appreciated, the Petersons go out of their way to accommodate their employees. Stan said he witnessed that firsthand when he was out on a call 90 minutes from home when a tree fell on his house. He said the Petersons immediately stepped forward and took care of everything, arranging for a crew to remove the tree and to clean up the mess. He said he greatly appreciated the gesture and generosity.

“They called the tree service right away and paid for it on the spot. I didn’t even have to pay them back for it,” Stan said. “They’re always willing to help with family issues.”


“James is a good boss and owner,” heavy operator Lee Giampietro added. “He takes care of the employees. He takes care of the equipment. He makes sure we’re taken care of.”

Lee was already an SAS employee when the Petersons took the company over. During the transition period, James asked Lee for input and what direction he would like to see the company go. He responded by telling his new boss he wanted to spread the word about breast cancer awareness in honor of his sister, who recently survived two bouts with the disease.


What resulted from that goal-setting session was a brand new 2023 Peterbilt Century 9055 last year. The custom heavy was trimmed in pink graphics and featured plenty of dual-color accent lighting: amber on the road and pink when parked. The unit was built by Zip’s, and they worked closely with sales rep Trent Russler to make Lee’s dream a reality. The truck won two ZIPSYS awards last year and continues to turn heads in the Lone Star State.

“I’ve received a lot of compliments on it, and I’m able to share the back story behind it,” Lee said. “It allows me to spread the word about breast cancer awareness and means a lot to me because of my sister.”

Future growth

The Petersons have been a customer of Zip’s since they took over SAS three years ago. Trent said they first met each at a formal dinner four years ago, and what began as a business relationship has evolved into a “personal friendship.” “I look forward to working with them going forward as well,” Trent added.

Their first truck with Zip’s was an 1150 rotator with a kneeboom. In addition to the 9055, they also purchased two light-duty wreckers and a handful of car carriers from Zip’s. Besides the rotator and a pair of 50-ton wreckers, the company also owns a 5130 and several flatbeds. They also keep skidloaders and dumpsters on hand for accident cleanup and spill response services.

The company currently operates out of six locations in Texas but is always looking to grow, thanks to the dedication of their employees and their loyal customers.

“We are a small family business that’s about to get very big,” Stan predicted.

“We are going to continue to add more light duty wreckers, thanks to a customer base that’s allowed us to grow and open up everything we’re able to do,” James said. “I purchased this company so I could have something to pass down to my kids and keep everybody together.”

“James has worked so hard for us and our kids and to see what he has now and for what he has provided for us and our family is amazing. I’m so proud of him,” Amy said. “He has taken this company to a whole new level.”