Founder Of MI-Based PSI Passes Away At Age 79
Bill Phillips Brought Innovation and Economic Growth to Southeast Michigan and Beyond
Livonia, Michigan – Phillips Service Industries, Inc. (PSI), a privately-held global manufacturing and services holding company, has announced that its Founder and Chairman of the Board, William T. (Bill) Phillips, passed away after a hard-fought battle with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 79-years-old, and a long-time resident of Northville, MI.
In 1967, Bill launched PSI Hydraulics, a small two-man operation based in Detroit, which initially focused on servo valve repairs. Bill received his hydraulic systems training working on B-25 Bomber aircraft while serving two stints in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Over the next three decades, Bill expanded the business to include repair and remanufacturing services for electronics and precision mechanical assemblies, as well as other hydraulic components. During this time of rapid growth, PSI Hydraulics was renamed PSI Repair Services, Inc. and relocated to Livonia, MI, where it remains today as the world’s largest industrial component repair company of its kind.
“Bill Phillips was a one-of-a-kind visionary, with incredible integrity, who treated his employees like family,” said Jay Hollingsworth, Public Relations Manager at Phillips Service Industries, Inc. “PSI is very fortunate to have the strong leadership of Scott Phillips, who possesses the same qualities and passion for innovation as his father.”
Bill leveraged the success of PSI Repair Services to acquire other technology-driven companies that fit his vision for growth, and created Phillips Service Industries (headquartered in Livonia, MI) to serve as the overarching parent company. The acquisitions included Beaver Aerospace & Defense (Livonia, MI), Sciaky, Inc. (Chicago, IL), Evana Automation Specialists (Evansville, IN), Mountain Secure Systems (Longmont, CO), POWERTHRU (Livonia, MI), and Skytronics, Inc. (El Segundo, CA).
Today, PSI and its subsidiaries are a $130 million dollar enterprise, with over 500 employees, led by Bill’s oldest son, Scott Phillips, who has been the acting President and CEO since 2010.
“My dad’s passing has, of course, affected our entire family very deeply,” said Scott Phillips, President and CEO of Phillips Service Industries, Inc. “The thing that amazes me, though, is how many people outside the family feel the same way. In the days following his death, many people told me about acts of kindness and generosity that he had kept to himself, and that some thought of him as a father figure. His life touched so many others. I think this, beyond all the professional accomplishments, will be his enduring legacy.”
In 2010, Bill, who was an avid reader, published a memoir titled “An American Entrepreneur,” which recalls his life-changing experiences, from growing up on a farm in Tuckerman, Arkansas to driving innovative, multimillion dollar projects for the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Military.
“Bill Phillips was the consummate leader,” said David Brandon, Athletic Director at the University of Michigan. “He was the perfect example of a self-made man, who achieved tremendous success, but never forgot where he came from.”
Bill, along with his wife, Betty, who passed away in 2012, donated millions of dollars over the years to charities and local institutions like St. Mary Mercy Hospital, Angela Hospice, and Madonna University, all of Livonia. They also provided financial support for wounded soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Bill Phillips was a generous man, who didn’t wait for circumstances to shape his life,” said Jack Kirksey, Mayor of Livonia, Michigan. “He saw opportunities overlooked by many and worked hard to bring them to reality. The City of Livonia lost a great ambassador, and I’ve lost a great friend.”
Bill is survived by his eight children, 20 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
About Phillips Service Industries, Inc.
Established in 1967, Phillips Service Industries, Inc. (PSI) is a privately-held global manufacturing and services holding company, which oversees a diverse collection of innovative subsidiaries: Beaver Aerospace & Defense, Inc., Evana Automation Specialists, Mountain Secure Systems, POWERTHRU, PSI Repair Services, Inc., PSI Semicon Services, Sciaky, Inc., and Skytronics, Inc. We serve a wide range of high-tech industries like aerospace, defense, automotive, alternative energy, healthcare, security and semiconductor. Our award-winning products and services help reduce costs and maximize efficiency for many Fortune 500 companies around the globe, as well as the U.S. Military. We push the bounds of technology on critical programs like Homeland Security, Defense research and space exploration, delivering innovative solutions for land, sea, air and space. We’re PSI: Always innovating. Everywhere.™