2021 Tillman Scholar
Setting aside a passion for studying water cultivated while growing up in Colorado, Phil followed a family tradition of service and entered West Point at 17. He met and married another military officer after graduating, and they deployed with the 101st to Afghanistan beginning a high-paced six years of service. As an infantry platoon leader on his first deployment, Phil worked with U.S.AID, tribal leaders, and Afghan police to bring drinking water access and security to multiple communities near his firebase in Giro; a remote roadless district.
Over the course of the year, Phil coordinated closely between Army Rangers and tribal leaders to improve security. Seeing the difference Rangers were making, Phil applied to join their regiment. Phil went on to lead a Ranger strikeforce and execute hundreds of missions with the 75th Ranger Regiment on three further deployments. Deploying with Rangers was challenging and rewarding, however, Phil wanted to pursue serving in other creative ways. Phil left the Army and walked into a management job where he could apply his leadership skills.
After several years, Phil determined that he needed to pursue a new career and return to his early passion for water resources. His wife and four kids made this big move and now Phil is in his second year of graduate school pursuing a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Washington State University. Phil intends to use his degree to improve stewardship locally and globally of our most precious resource.