Last month, we introduced a new segment, Founders Feature, that takes you behind-the-scenes of the company starting with the team who was behind it all. This month, meet Phillip Mitchum, where he walks us through all of the late-night conversations had between all of the partners before they made the leap and turned their dream into a reality. Read on for the full story!
Q1: What were you doing prior to LG? // I graduated with a BS in Finance from Clemson University in 2008. Banking and real estate (which is where I thought I wanted to enter the finance industry) weren’t exactly in the best of shape at that time, so I needed to make a pivot. At the time, my brother was living in Greenville and couldn’t say enough good things about the city, so I decided to move in with him and start my career search. After about 3 weeks of living here, a recruiter gave me a call and informed me that General Electric (GE) was building an in-house logistics division utilizing one of their wholly owned subsidiaries, Granite Services, Inc. I actually didn’t quite understand what logistics entailed (keep in mind, this was pre-UPS commercial “we do logistics” days), but since it was for General Electric, I was intrigued. Within my first round of interviews I was introduced to the Global Logistics Sourcing Leader, Vikash Patel, whom I would be working closely with in this role. Right away, Vikash and I hit it off. I could tell he was intense and passionate about his work, and I believe he understood early on that I was extremely eager to learn and ready to dive in to this role 100%.
Q2: How did you find your way to LG? // I’m going to break this next part down into 4 sections because it was certainly a long path to get here!
- Over the next 4 years, I soaked up as much information and experience GE had to offer. I was promoted several times, from the Standard Truckload analyst position to the Specialized Truckload Sourcing Analyst role. After another year, I was promoted again to handle multi-mode specialized transportation and strategy. And in my final years, I was promoted to leading the souring team covering, all modes, standard and specialized, across all energy sectors globally.
- Throughout the entirety of my time at General Electric, my role kept me working along side Vikash, developing strategies for complex projects across the GE portfolio, growing relationships with key strategic service providers, navigating the complex world of General Electric and their client base, and finding ways to lead a team and organization to execute these strategies.
- In addition to working closely with Vikash, my involvement in GE Energy project logistics put me in a direct relationship with Mihir Patel, Will Stephan and Robert Sweatman. The lifecycle of an energy project was controlled in some form or fashion by each of us. Vikash led the Commercial strategy for a project, Mihir developed the planning and government relations process, Will developed the supplier qualification/EHS program, I handled the sourcing and operational execution, and Robert developed the transportation management system and technology processes.
- After years of working together, numerous meetings discussing strategy, and countless late night back-of-the- napkin sketches of ideas surrounding how to do things better, the 5 of us began to wonder if we had the ability to start something of our own. GE is a world class organization, but as we continued to grow in our roles, we were learning that logistics was our passion. We realized that at the end of the day, GE is a manufacturing company. In order to really advance our careers, there was a high likelihood that we would need to shift gears and move toward a manufacturing management role. We spent too much time and energy developing an understanding of complex project cargo logistics, and forming the strategic relationships in the industry, to simply shift gears and start down another path. We also came to understand that given the size of a company such as GE, enacting change takes much longer to bring to fruition than what we felt we would be able to achieve on our own. So, after an excruciating amount of deliberation and thought, we decided to take a swing at it and put in our notice to GE at the end of 2012.
Q3: What does your day-to-day role at LG look like? // Fast forward 8 years and 85 employees later, I am now the Vice President of Execution at Logisticus Group. Over the past 8 years, all of us have worn a countless number of hats in the company. For example, I took a QuickBooks class in 2013 to learn how to manage our books and cut invoices. Today, my day-to-day consists primarily of helping our commercial and sourcing team develop strategies for our clients specific needs and requests. We have an extremely talented group of young professionals that have learned and grown with us over the past several years and we are finally in a position to spend our time coaching and examining process, as opposed to working the details in the day-to-day. I thoroughly enjoy digging in to our tools and processes that give our team guidance on how to approach complex problems and tasks, and ensure they are as efficient and comprehensive as possible. What looks good on paper, may not be practical in real-life, so I always look to ensure our coaching lends itself to practical and repeatable application.
Q4: What is something about you that is not on your resume? // Those that know me well know that I love getting the most out of life, while laughing as much as possible along the way. I love a good sense of humor. I also enjoy fishing, golf, surfing, hiking, snowboarding, camping (tent style) and generally being outdoors. My wife and I have been married 5 years this November and she is just as active and outdoorsy as I am, if not more. She and I both come from very competitive families, so during our family gatherings, we find ourselves playing darts, cards, board games, corn-hole, chipping contests and generally any game you can think of. We have an amazing little boy, Wesley (16 Mo.), and he has brought a light in to our lives that grows brighter and brighter every day. Becoming parents and being lucky enough to have family surrounding us while we grow, has been an absolutely amazing experience.
Q5: What do you want others to know about LG? //Aside from the obvious that LG provides a superior service to our client base, I would like others to know how passionate our team members are for what they do within our company and as part of this industry. Most of our individuals are not seasoned veterans in the project logistics industry. They do however, have extremely high “give-a-damn” meters, and have spent the last several years learning from everything this industry has thrown at us. Our company thrives on utilizing a philosophy we put in to place from the very beginning: Put your operational supervisors out in the field on every project, do not leave them in the office, and utilize technology to its fullest potential. Our adherence to Process drives safety and productivity.
We told you we’d take you behind the scenes, right? Stay tuned for next month’s Founders Feature!