This month we caught up with Jim Phillips from the consultancy services team. Read on to find out all about his role, his background in the RAF and his love of cycling.
When and why did you decide to join Commerce Decisions?
I joined in mid-2018 after a couple of years as a systems engineer, and 33 years before that as an RAF Engineering Officer. I joined Commerce Decisions as it had many of the answers to issues that I had experienced while managing procurements in the MOD, and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to go back and support others doing the same.
What are your main responsibilities?
I have recently become the Managing Consultant for the MOD sector which allows me some control on how Commerce Decisions’ offer is presented and delivered. I will continue to operate as a consultant, supporting some fantastic clients, but will need to devote more time to the management function and ensuring that my colleagues are assigned to the right projects to maximise the client experience.
Where are your current focus and priorities?
There are many. Top of my agenda is supporting my team and our clients as the country slowly recovers from the Pandemic. Over the past two years we have learned to engage meaningfully with our clients by various remote channels and we look forward to building on this, alongside starting to meet with people in person again.
I also have a strong focus on ensuring that my team of consultants is always learning – we promote opportunities for knowledge share and allocate time for training, self-learning and special projects. Our work is stimulating and rewarding – and the team is ready for any challenge in the knowledge that Commerce Decisions is behind them always.
What was your background before you joined Commerce Decisions?
I joined the RAF in 1982 as an avionics apprentice and worked up through university to become an engineering officer, specialising in aerosystems avionics. I had many different and rewarding jobs including: preparing VIP aircraft for Mrs Thatcher and the Queen; being one of the first maintenance officers on the Sentry aircraft (maybe better known as AWACS); developing electronic countermeasures; working as an exchange officer for the USAF; and being the chief engineer and deputy base commander of a deployed operating base. Through 33 years I gained a degree and 2 masters and became a chartered engineer, a membership that I maintain with Commerce Decisions. As you might imagine, what I learnt in the military has given me a sound basis for the way in which I work today.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Several injuries and an expanding waistline dictate some physical activity, so I swim and cycle, running a small cycling team called the Church Lane Cranks. A dog with high walking expectations ensures regular walking, often long distance. I have recently embarked on collecting first vinyl pressings of favourite albums, mostly early 70s progressive rock.
What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?
I am learning to relax, which is something I’ve been poor at all my life. I now try to resist the temptation to react quickly; taking a pause in order to be more considered and helpful. It’s a work in progress and there are days when I overwork and flop exhausted rather than managing my time, but I’m working on it.
What’s an accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
There are many things that I am proud of, but my role as a father is currently top of the tree. Parents will know that parenthood is a constant challenge – whilst we’ll never be perfect, just surviving can be the best to hope for. My eldest daughter started university during the Pandemic and has endured considerable challenge, but as I type, she is on placement performing as a radiographer. I could not be prouder, and I have another daughter currently doing A levels and looking to become a doctor.
What’s one thing you’re currently trying to make a habit?
Exercise. I am convinced it’s the route to enjoying life rather than enduring it, but I have discovered with disappointment that I am weaker than I thought and must bully myself into it. It’s (always) a work in progress that competes with lying on the sofa listening to vinyl.
Find out more about our team by visiting out Meet the team page here.