The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

April 29, 2010

Our Town: Retired Maj. Gen. John F. Phillips receives award

Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Retired Maj. Gen. John F. Phillips, one of Anderson County’s favorite sons, has been awarded the esteemed 2010 Defense Acquisition University’s David D. Acker “Skill in Communication” Award.

Phillips, the son of longtime educators Sadie Phillips of Neches and the late Obie Phillips, serves as the senior vice president of Enterra Solutions, LLC, a leading integrated global management consulting and technology services firm located in Reston, Va.

Presented annually in memory of former Defense Systems Management College Professor David Acker, the honor is bestowed to an individual who, through words and deeds, has demonstrated proven acquisition management excellence to the acquisition workforce.

The Acker Award is synonymous with the highest standards of the Department of Defense’s acquisition community and is recognized as the most prestigious accolade of the Defense Acquisition University. The award was presented to Phillips at the DAU’s 22nd Annual Acquisition Symposium on April 13.

Phillips is the former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Logistics), appointed by former President Bill Clinton. He recently left Home Depot as vice president of the Government Solutions Group, which he formed. The organization propelled Home Depot into the federal business, growing to over $100 million in the first 12 months of operations. He is now president of Phillips Defense Consultants. His organization includes experts across the range of defense operations from IT, supply chain management, and acquisition, to Network Centric Warfare.

Phillips brings more than 30 years of comprehensive acquisition, aviation, IT, logistics and leadership experience to the organization. He served as vice president of Government Services for Honeywell, where he held several positions since 1997.

Prior to joining Honeywell, Phillips served as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Logistics), overseeing an organization of 850,000 military and civilian personnel with a budget of $114 billion where he established an outsourcing and privatization program for the federal government. He led the 1994 Quadrennial Defense Review. The recipient of more than 250 awards and decorations, Phillips was honored with Al Gore’s Hammer Award in 1999.

Phillips served for more than 27 years in the United States Air Force, retiring with the rank of major general. His last assignment was commander at  McClellen Air Force Base in California. The military depot was responsible for aircraft, satellites and microelectronic technology. Phillips earned the highest Department of Defense certifications (level III) in Program Management, Acquisitions Logistics and Computer Systems Development (DOD Black Belt equivalent). He is a fighter pilot with over 3,000 flying hours, 300 hours in combat. He earned wings as a navigator and pilot and was awarded German pilot wings. He has flown the F-15, F-111, T-38, KC-135 and T-37 aircraft.

Phillips graduated from the old Clemons High School in Neches in 1959.

Phillips holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, and a Masters of Science degree in Logistics Management from the Air Force Institute of Technology. He was awarded the Degree (Honorary) Doctor of Laws, from Jarvis Christian College. In addition, he is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; the National War College; Defense Systems Management College; Industrial College of the Armed Forces; and the University of Southern California, School for Safety Engineering. He is an internationally known speaker and consultant on national defense.

Active in civic and professional affairs, Phillips is currently a member of the Army Science Board; International Society of Logistics Engineers, Board of Directors; Association for Enterprise Integration; Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Conference; Board of Visitors, Defense Acquisition University; Shades of Blue (Aviation Mentoring), Americorps National Civilian Community Corps, and is a former chairman of the Board of Advisors of the Tuskegee Airman Inc and formerly served on the Board of Boys and Girls Club of America. 

His other accomplishments include authoring the book, “Navigating the Pentagon” and co-authoring the book, “Military Project Management,” as well as numerous articles and lectures on leadership and management. Phillips is a current member of the Air Force Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. China Policy Foundation, The Corporate Council of Africa, The Navy League and the Association of U.S. Army.

He and his wife Blanche have three daughters, one son and four grandchildren.

101st Birthday

Longtime Palestine educator and civic leader Owena Hall Saunders celebrated her 101st birthday on Tuesday.

She was born April 27, 1909. She received an Associates of Art degree from Paul Quinn College in Waco, a Bachelor of Science degree from Wiley College in Marshall, and a Master of Science degree from Prairie View A&M College. For further study, she also attended The University of Chicago and East Texas State University in Commerce.

Saunders served as a teacher at Union Hope, Green Bay, Fourth Ward and Alamo schools. She served as supervisor of instruction for Anderson County Rural Schools and was an instructor for Prairie View A&M College Extension.

She was the past director of the Palestine Day Care Center. She has been active at Mount Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church for many decades. She was a member of the Senior Steward Board, conference coordinator and co-chairman of the Souvenir Program Committee, a member of the Publicity Committee and president of the Laymen’s Association.

She still remains involved with her church.

Her civic activities over the years have included the following: past governor of the South Central District of the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Club Inc.; past chairman of the Governor’s Council, National Association of Negro BPW Clubs Inc. South Central District; past president of the Palestine Negro BPW Club Inc.; member of the national sorority Phi Delta Kappa; past chairman of the Health Committee of the Health Advisory Council of the East Texas Council of Government; executive trustee and board member of Mount Vernon Charitable Trust; and more.

She also won the Exemplary Leadership Provider in East Texas award in the area of education from the East Texas Leadership Forum.

Her hobbies include gardening, reading, dressing up for special occasions and wearing beautiful hats.

Her family members include nieces, Veatrus Dixon and Lois King; and nephew, Curtis Hall of Los Angeles, Calif.