Mr. Phillips is the District Manager/CEO of the Westmoreland Conservation District, an organization dedicated to the conservation, restoration, and wise use of our natural resources.
Since 1984, he has directed a variety of programs that address watershed restoration, soil conservation, forest stewardship, and stormwater management issues throughout the 1,022 square miles of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He is assisted in this effort by a nine-member board of directors, 15 associate directors, a staff of 19, and an annual operating budget of $2,000,000.
Under his leadership, the District also has undertaken three major sustainability efforts - the first, a $1.2-million project to adapt and reuse an historic, 1880s-era barn as the District's headquarters and conservation center…the second, a $2.1-million effort to create the first green rehabilitation of a commercial building in Westmoreland County…and the third, a $1.7-million organizational-capacity-building effort that instituted the first use of scientific monitoring of conservation projects, the creation of a countywide plan for managing water resources, and a comprehensive upgrade of the organization’s eight-acre conservation campus and the adjoining 62-acre Ann Rudd Saxman Nature Park.
Each effort was undertaken with funding support that included both public and private sources.
The two construction efforts (the District's barn headquarters and the green commercial building) feature recycled/recyclable materials, alternative energy sources, innovative stormwater management features, and a variety of low-maintenance, sustainable technologies so that the buildings themselves are teaching tools, regularly used in the District's education programs to help citizens become better environmental stewards.
In addition to his District pursuits, Mr. Phillips helped to found and continues to support a number of conservation organizations on the local, county, regional, state, and national level. He is:
A founding board member of the local Sewickley Creek Watershed Association;
A director, treasurer, and twice past president of the Regional Trail Corporation, a nonprofit partnership creating trail corridors in southwestern Pennsylvania;
A founder and past vice chairman of Penn's Corner Conservancy Charitable Trust, a nine-county nonprofit public1private partnership working to resolve natural-resource issues and develop opportunities for rural development;
A founding board member of Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling, a group that works to eliminate illegal dumping and encourage recycling in Westmoreland County;
A founder and past treasurer of the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, a 23-county organization that works to restore streams and land damaged by past coal mining;
A board member of the Westmoreland Land Trust, an organization that conserves open space in Westmoreland County; one of two Westmoreland County public representatives, appointed by the County Commissioners, to serve on the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission's Public Participation Panel and provide guidance on transportation issues, plans, and projects;
A founder of the Westmoreland County Farmland Preservation Program, which ensures that high-quality, productive soils will remain in agricultural-only use forever;
A member of the steering committees that developed Westmoreland County's two Comprehensive Plans (2005 and 2018); and
A founder of Overly’s Charitable Trust, a nationally recognized holiday light display that raises funds to benefit children’s causes.
Mr. Phillips has also served as one of three commissioners representing Pennsylvania on the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, which works to control and abate pollution in the nation's Ohio River Basin; as a member of the Board of Directors of the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County, a group that promotes sustainable land-use; and as a member of the steering committee of the Loyalhanna Creek Mine Drainage Coalition, a group that creatively used passive wetlands to remove 95% of the iron oxide polluting a 21-mile stretch of the Loyalhanna Creek between the mouth of Monastery Run and the creek's confluence with the Conemaugh River.
He also was instrumental in the revitalization and expansion of Westmoreland County's only passive recreation park, Ann Rudd Saxman Nature Park, and previously served as treasurer of Westmoreland County's 5 Star Trail.
Mr. Phillips holds a BS degree in geography and rural/urban planning from Slippery Rock University. He and his wife Leanne have an adult son, Brandon, and live in Youngwood.