Phillips grew up along the Trent River near New Bern, North Carolina, just outside Croatan National Forest. His father, also a real estate developer, passed away in a tragic plan crash when Phillips was only 14 years old. Growing up witnessing the love and admiration for his father had toward his business, Phillips real estate interests were sparked at an early age.

Phillips is an avid sportsman and traveler. He has visited more than 20 countries on five continents and is a certified pilot with over 2,000 flight hours. Additionally, he enjoys field sports, fly-fishing, and boating off Floridas West Coast with his beloved family of five children.

Phillips gained an appreciation for natural conservation in his youth and relishes time spent with friends and family at his lodge outside of Raleigh, NC. This respect for the environment resonates in many ways including his membership in the Sierra Club, which allows him to promote the enjoyment and responsible use of the earths ecosystems and resources.