Phil grew up on the edge of town in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the woods, fields and lakes were a short walk or bicycle ride away. Phil’s father, a veteran of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, inspired his son’s love of the outdoors on vacation trips to the woods and Great Lakes of northern Michigan.
Phil earned a BS with high honors in zoology in 1973, and began his career in the outdoors and conservation; he continues in his 5th decade of that work. He spent 30 of those years with the National Park Service in the protection and preservation of the parks.
He began as a park ranger at Boston National Historical Park, advancing through the ranks at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Amistad National Recreation Area and Everglades National Park then chief ranger of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. He also worked temporarily as superintendent at Springfield Armory and Sagamore Hill National Historic Sites. After an assignment as chief, regulations and special park uses at the National Park Service headquarters in Washington, D.C., he finished his NPS career as associate regional director, park operations, in the National Capital Regional Office.
Phil manages the National Park Trust lands program, collaborating with the NPS, partner land trusts and the Park Trust’s pro bono attorneys to acquire critical parcels of land adjacent to or inside parks and ensure their transfer to the National Park Service.