Our Founder - William T. "Ted" Phillips, Sr.

A Fearless Leader with a Compassionate Heart

Always bold and fearless, Ted Phillips took his first contracting job in 1949 at the age of 17. He partnered with his cousin to perform a $495 land clearing contract for the Tennessee Valley Authority in Mississippi. Ted borrowed his dad’s car, loaded cross-cut saws and axes, picked up his partner and two other men, and headed down 450 miles of narrow, curvy, two-lane roads from the mountains of Robbinsville, North Carolina, to Philadelphia, Mississippi. The manual labor was hard, hot, and tiring, but, after expenses, they finished with a profit. 

Ted had no idea when he took on this little clearing job that it would become his life’s work, or that this work would eventually grow into one of the largest contractors of its kind in the country. Under Ted’s leadership, P&J expanded into one of the 200 largest contractors in the United States with annual revenues of one-half billion dollars and more than 1,200 employees. He led the daily operations of P&J until 2010 when he entrusted stewardship of the organization to his wife, Avis Phillips. He continued his service as Director and Chairman Emeritus until his death in 2018. Avis, an accomplished business leader and innovator in her own right, continues Ted’s legacy in her leadership of the formidable enterprise.  

In addition to his professional interests, Ted supported numerous educational opportunities for young men and women. He and Avis created the Ted Phillips Scholarship Fund for Construction Management at Western Carolina University, and the Ted and Avis Phillips Endowed Nursing Scholarship Fund at Lincoln Memorial University.