Back in 1941 in his home city of Detroit, Bill Phillips was in 3rd grade. At that time they gave children milk in bottles rather than the cartons that schools use today. There was always one bottle of chocolate milk that would be saved as a special treat for the one student that stood out from the day before reports

On the way home, Phillips walked with the bottle of chocolate milk, a reward for a particularly good report card. A neighborhood kid, bigger and taller than Phillips, saw him walking with the chocolate milk.

“He eyed the chocolate milk I was holding, put down his books and squared off,” Phillips said. Fists flew, punches landed and soon the neighborhood kid backed down. “I think it was a tie,” Phillips said.

During the fisticuffs, the bottle of chocolate milk broke on the sidewalk, but, more importantly, Phillips learned an early lesson in courage and fortitude that he would apply over the next nearly 70 years in his work career and running businesses in Livonia and across the country. “It is fighting for what is yours,” Phillips said.

That story and several other anecdotes highlight Phillips’ autobiography, An American Entrepreneur.

Phillips, the 76-year-old founder and chairman of Phillips Services Industries of Livonia and a Northville resident, shares his experiences gleaned from a career spent innovating and shaping American industry.

Phillips’ PSI has been providing products and services to the aerospace, defense, automotive, semiconductor and other manufacturing markets since 1967 through its five subsidiary companies. These companies carry out many contracts with prime defense contractors and the U.S. military, as well as the Department of Homeland Security.

Photo by lowjumpingfrog