Livonia, Michigan – Successful businessman, William T. (Bill) Phillips, will sign copies of his new autobiography An American Entrepreneur on Saturday, August 14, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Northville Barnes & Noble bookstore on Haggerty Road. The 76-year-old founder and chairman of Livonia-based Phillips Service Industries (PSI) has spent the last four decades providing innovative products and services to the aerospace, defense, automotive, semiconductor and other manufacturing industries.
As an eight-year-old growing up in Detroit, Bill was challenged to a fight by a neighborhood bully. The object of desire for this fight was a pint of chocolate milk that young Bill received for his stellar report card. The result of this seemingly nonessential event, however, taught Bill a valuable life lesson that he still lives by to this day: always fight for what is rightfully yours.
“It’s always been about the chocolate milk,” explains Phillips in an early chapter of An American Entrepreneur. “That’s what I tell people who want to know how I managed to come from next to nothing and go on to build several multimillion-dollar corporations.”
Bill joined the United States Air Force in 1952 during the Korean War. His four-year stint in the military led to three significant life-changing events. First, Bill met his wife of over 50 years, Bridget, while stationed in Newfoundland. Second, Bridget gave birth to the couple’s first child, Lynn. And, third, Bill learned how to repair aircraft hydraulic systems, which helped shape his future career path.
“One of the great things about America is the entrepreneurial spirit of our country. And Mr. Phillips is an entrepreneur,” said George W. Bush, former President of the United States. “And one of the things we’ve got to do in America is keep that entrepreneurial spirit alive and well.”
From 1956 to 1970, Bill and Bridget Phillips expanded their family with seven additional children. During this time, Bill applied the skills he learned in the Air Force to a hydraulic specialist position with Chrysler, where he solved a stubborn power steering glitch, and then a sales engineer position for a small parts distributorship/design company, where he helped design a hydraulic salt-spreading system for the Michigan Highway Department. In 1967, Bill officially became an entrepreneur when he established PSI, which specialized in designing all types of hydraulic systems and mechanical devices.
“Bill Phillips is one of the greatest entrepreneurs I have ever met,” said Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., owner and chairman of Ralph Wilson Enterprises and owner of the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League. “I always considered myself an entrepreneur, not afraid to take risks, but Bill passed me headed for the end zone. Anyone who is interested in reading about an entrepreneur and business should buy this book.”
Over time, Bill realized there was a significant demand for the repair of industrial components, so he shifted his business strategy to focus on industrial component repairs. PSI Repair Services, a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries, is currently the world’s largest independent repair company for electronics, hydraulics and precision mechanical assemblies.
“Bill Phillips didn’t wait for circumstances to shape his life,” said Livonia Mayor Jack Kirksey. “He saw opportunities overlooked by many and worked hard to bring them to reality.”
Bill was not content to sit on the success of his repair business. He acquired four companies over the past 13 years to fulfill various needs in the marketplace, as well as to keep up with changing technology. One of the companies, Beaver Aerospace & Defense, designed an innovative actuation solution to improve homeland security at 500 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silos for the U.S. Air Force – the same military branch that Bill used to serve.
Today, total revenues for the five PSI companies exceed $120 million annually. Bill and Bridget Phillips reside in Northville, where they enjoy entertaining their 20 grandchildren. The couple has given generously to local organizations, such as St. Mary’s Hospital, Madonna University, Angela Hospice and The Fallen and Wounded Soldiers Fund.
“Bill Phillips reminds us all of what it is that makes America,” said David Brandon, athletics director (AD) at the University of Michigan and former chairman and CEO of Domino’s Pizza, Inc. “He is a classic entrepreneur who has used his talent, perseverance, willingness to take risks, and strong work ethic to create something bigger than himself – and, thankfully, reminds us all that it is ‘all about the chocolate milk’!”
The Northville Barnes & Noble is located at 17111 Haggerty Road, just north of Six Mile Road. An American Entrepreneur is available for purchase on Amazon.com. To learn more about the book, visit williamtphillips.com or facebook.com/williamtphillips.
Author Bill Phillips is available for interviews by appointment. Interested media professionals may contact Jay Hollingsworth at 734-853-5000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.