Richard Phillips’ career has taken him from the U.S. Department of Justice, to the halls of the U.S. Senate, and back to his hometown of Philadelphia to run Pilot Freight Services. As an undergraduate and graduate student, Richard focused on the impacts of a fast-changing post-World War II U.S.-European relationship on the rise of nationalism and terrorism in the Middle East. In 1997, with degrees from Yale, Cambridge and Georgetown, Richard went to work at the Justice Department, where he served as lead counsel for the United States in constitutional litigation involving sensitive national security and high technology issues. In that capacity he was the government’s lead counsel for the Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, and other national security entities in several ground breaking cases. He defended federal gun control legislation and helped ensure critical health care for veterans. He also handled high profile diplomatic immunity cases. He then served as Senate Judiciary Committee Counsel to Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and later to Senator Patrick J. Leahy. While on Senate staff, Mr. Phillips was responsible for advising Senators Kennedy and Leahy on matters involving civil rights, voting rights and voter protection, technology, free trade, intellectual property, and privacy. He later served as Senior Transatlantic Fellow for the German Marshall Fund, a global organization dedicated to strengthening transatlantic cooperation on regional, national, and global challenges in the spirit of the Marshall Plan. In 2005, he returned to Philadelphia to become more involved in the family business. Richard came on as Vice-Chairman of Pilot Freight Services, supervising the company’s top executives. In 2007, Richard took over as CEO of Pilot.
Under Richard’s leadership, Pilot saw remarkable growth. Revenue nearly quadrupled to $800 million. Earnings grew almost thirty-fold. The company provides critical supply chain and logistics services to many of the world’s largest and most complex corporations. It also handles mission-critical shipments for the U.S. military, supporting both combat and relief operations around the world, including high-need shipments into war theaters. During Richards tenure as CEO, Pilot increased its international capabilities, and opened overseas offices in Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, and Spain. The company also became a global leader in e-commerce fulfillment and is the carrier of choice for the largest e-commerce companies in the world. It opened automotive, as well as value-added logistics and warehousing divisions, as well as its own customs brokerage. It also greatly expanded its national accounts program, nearly tripling in size between 2008 and 2017. This diversification helped the company to prosper even through difficult economic conditions. In 2012 Richard was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year for the Philadelphia Region. In 2016, Richard led the sale of Pilot to a private equity consortium.
In 2018, Richard accepted a fellowship at the Yale Divinity School, where he works to place human dignity at the center of private enterprise and entrepreneurism.
Richard is heavily involved in the community. In 2007 he was appointed by Governor Edward G. Rendell, and confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate, to the Pennsylvania State Planning Board. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Melmark Home for Developmentally Disabled Children, where his brother was a student and as a board member of Uplift Solutions, a national non-profit that works to enhance access to healthy food in low income communities. He is a trustee of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, and serves on the Commission on Civility and Effective Governance. In 2016, he co-founded the Keepers of the Commons, a non-profit organization that helps community and non-profit leaders to access top-tier leadership training and networks. He has also served as Chairman of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. He is the recipient of numerous awards for service to the community, starting with the Lawton M. Calhoun Prize “for doing the most to make the College a happy place” which he received as an undergraduate, to the 2013 Maguire Award for Outstanding Service to the Philadelphia Community. He has been selected as a delegate to the U.S.-European Young Leaders and U.S.-Spain Young Leaders programs. In his free time he enjoys flying, rowing, and long distance triathlons.