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On the Job with ... Kenny Phillips

Photo by Barry Levine

Photo by Barry Levine

"On the Job with..." is a weekly feature of Sunday Inc. Today's segment is on Kenny Phillips, executive director of The Anchorage.

Q. If you were a young adult fresh out of college, what would you do first in searching for a job?

A. Because of the Internet popularity, I would find myself searching the Internet for opportunities and probably would even search nationwide.

Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first paycheck?

A. My first ever job was working at Winn Dixie as a courtesy clerk in Americus and my first check wasn't all that much. However, living in a single parent home, I'm sure I gave my mother most of my check to help pay for my expenses like gas to and from work, food and so forth.

Q. What's the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?

A. Treat each and every employee the way that you would like to be treated. Be respectful and willing to roll up your sleeves anytime you are needed.

Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?

A. Jesus Christ himself led me to my current position. I was working for the state and was miserable and told my wife about my frustration. The first thing she asked was if I had prayed about it. Unfortunately I had not. But right there and then we begin to pray inside Moe's on a Monday night. Tuesday morning I received a call from a former employer in Albany who told me about the Anchorage and the fact that they had an opening. On Wednesday an elder at my church asked me to review some material. It was about a drug and alcohol treatment center. Finally, on Thursday a friend, a foreign missionary who I had not seen in years, was visiting. He looks me straight in the eyes and says God has given me something for you and I don't understand it. He told me it was simply a word -- addiction. After that week of events I was blown away. I have now been at the Anchorage for the past seven years and believe with all my heart that I am right where God wants me to be.

Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?

A. Judge Richard W. Brooker. I had never met a man like him before starting my employment with the Dougherty County Juvenile court. He taught me so much during my almost seven years. He taught me how to be a better man, a better husband, a better dad and, most importantly, a better Christian. Those lessons have never been forgotten and I am truly honored to have had my path cross his.

Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?

A. That you have to be innovative and not continue to do things the same way in the future as you did them in the past. But the biggest thing is to know that God is still in charge and we must be faithful and obedient.

Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology - examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. - what would you most like to see go away?

A. Although cell phones have certainly been a mighty convenient device, it has certainly proven to be a huge distraction. I'll admit that it would be hard to get through the day without it.

Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?

A. I suppose my Blackberry Storm 2. I am truly amazed at all this information that fits in your hand and how much access you have within this tiny device.

Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?

A. Not much on book reading. However, I do read several devotionals both online and in hardback format. The most regularly read book is my Sunday school study book and my Bible.

Q. I'm up and going by? And what is your morning routine?

A. I'm up and going by 9 a.m. usually. I am a night owl and sit up to all hours of the night and morning working on my computer researching grants and working on proposals. As far as a routine, mine changes daily. I usually drive straight to my office each morning and check in, go through the mail, check e-mails and respond to those e-mails and return voice mail messages. From there I go in several different directions.

Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?

A. I love to travel although we don't get to do much these days. I love music, all kinds of music. spending time with my wife of 22 years and our 21-year-old son ranks right at the top of my priority list.

Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?

A. If I had to put my finger on one thing it would have to be I wish I had been more understanding of people during disagreements.

Q. Best thing about your job?

A. I get a chance to see men come to Christ and get excited about their futures as changes husbands, daddies, sons and so on.

Q. Worst thing about your job?

A. Every man doesn't get it. I am sometimes saddened by men who are not ready and continue to run from responsibility.

Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?

A. Typing I, Typing II and Typing III. I am so thankful to Mrs. Marie Bell for teaching me where the home keys are and how to truly type with speed.

Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?

A. I have my dream job, and it is outside my career path. I spent almost 17 years in law enforcement, but this job has truly been rewarding and encouraged me to have hope in people again.

Q. Finish this thought; "on the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself...

A. I see myself as finally being prepared to truly travel the United States and see so much more than just south Georgia.

Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?

A. We must be willing to listen. not just listen to other business leaders, but to almost everybody. I have learned so much from people that I wasn't expecting to learn from. Your children, at times, can be so wise and thought provoking.

Q. Crystal ball time: What's your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?

A. I believe the economy is creeping in the right direction and it may still take another 18 to 24 months before we see a full recovery.

Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?

A. My iPod is filled with music from the early to mid 80s and is a true wide variety of music.

Q. What was the best vacation you've ever taken? Why?

A. It would have to be trips to the north Georgia mountains with family and friends. Something about the quiet and peacefulness of the mountains that I think I could get used to. Nothing like it.

Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?

A. The biggest change is the huge increase in non-profits in our area. There seems to be so many more non-profits vying for a piece of the local economic pie than there was in 2004.