The Phillips file Featured

11:57am EDT September 27, 2004
Born: Columbus, 1958

Education: Graduated from Capital University, 1980, MBA, 1986

First job: Staff accountant, Deloitte Haskins & Sells

Career moves: Joined The Fishel Co. in 1983 as corporate controller; promoted to CFO in 1989; promoted to vice president of the Western Region in 1992 and relocated to Arizona; promoted in 1998 as executive vice president and COO

What is the biggest challenge in business you've faced and why?

My biggest challenge was the telecom train wreck in 2002. Nineteen of our top 32 customers went bankrupt. We had to downsize the business quickly and protect our balance sheet and look for new opportunities.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?

I admire Jeff Keeler (chairman of Fishel Co.). He is an incredible leader, motivator, mentor and friend.

What is the greatest lesson you've learned in business?

Once you've made a decision or decided on a direction, act quickly and stay focused. Don't let the noise distract you.