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Richard G. Phillips, Jr.

Richard G. Phillips, Jr., Board of Directors

Headshot of Richard Phillips

Richard G. Phillips, Jr.

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, 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 has seen remarkable growth. Revenue rose from $250 million in 2005, to approximately $850 million in 2015. Earnings have grown almost thirty-fold. The company now services the most mission critical shipments for the U.S. military, supporting both combat and relief operations around the world, including critical shipments into war theaters. It also handles supply chain and logistics for various other federal agencies, as well as the world’s largest and most complex corporations. It has increased its international capabilities, and opened overseas offices in Hong Kong, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, and Mexico. The company has also become a global leader in e-commerce fulfillment and is the carrier of choice for the largest e-commerce companies in the world. It has opened automotive, as well as value-added logistics and warehousing divisions, as well as its own customs brokerage. It has greatly expanded its national accounts program, nearly tripling in size from 2008, at $108 million in revenue, to nearly $300 million in 2017. This diversification has 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. He remains as Chairman of the Board, guiding the company to its next level of success.

In 2018, Richard accepted a fellowship at the Yale Divinity School, where he leads their initiatitive 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. 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.

Meet our Boards of Directors and Advisors

Learn about all of the members of RespectAbility’s Board of Directors and Advisors:

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the Vice President, Communications, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. As an individual with an acquired invisible disability - Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy - she writes about the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. From entertainment professionals to presidential campaigns, journalists to philanthropists, she conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible. Behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Appelbaum engages decision makers and creatives to improve the quality and number of authentic, diverse and inclusive presentations of people with disabilities on TV and film so audiences can see people with disabilities as vital contributors in America and around the world. She and her team have consulted on projects with Amazon, Disney/ABC Television, NBCUniversal, Netflix, and The Walt Disney Studios, among others. Appelbaum also enriches the pool of disabled talent in Hollywood by nurturing and connecting them to those who can assist with their careers, both on the creative and business sides of the industry. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit, which was created to help entertainment professionals to be as inclusive of people with disabilities as possible, and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working behind the camera. To reach her, email

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