In January 2016, Bryant Phillips joined the Berkley Group bringing over 9 years of experience working in local government and a diverse set of expertise from current and long-range planning to budgeting and financial management. Bryant has been a key member of the Berkley Group team and has helped our company reach new heights. Bryant was recently promoted to Chief Financial Officer and we’re confident that he will continue to excel in this new position. As part of our Staff Spotlight series, I asked Bryant about his experience and accomplishments throughout his career.
What’s your favorite thing about working for the Berkley Group?
I would have to say my favorite thing about working for the Berkley Group is having the opportunity to assist a variety of clients and localities throughout Virginia. We’ve worked with clients in every corner of the state, from Southwest Virginia, to Northern Virginia, and Tidewater Virginia. This has given us experience with a diverse set of clients and local issues, as our clients in these areas have ranged from rural counties to large cities. Each of these localities has a unique set of challenges they face, and by working with and completing projects for them, we as a team have been able to gain valuable experience and expand our resumes and portfolios.
Looking back at where you were when you started this journey, where did you think it was going to lead you?
Looking back, when I first started my career, I had no idea where it was going to take me. However, I can say with certainty that I never thought I would end up as the CFO of a small business! I majored in Urban Planning at Virginia Tech, but until I started working in local government, I really had no idea what planners truly did. After working in local government for a couple of years, I decided to get my Master’s in Public Administration, thinking that one day I would eventually like to be a County Administrator or Town/City Manager. Getting my MPA opened up other local government opportunities for me, and I left the planning field for a position as a Budget Analyst for Hanover County. This position allowed me to develop budgeting and financial management skills, which eventually led to me joining the Berkley Group to assist in the financial administration of the company.
Who inspires you and why? Or who is your role model, and why?
My Dad is my inspiration and role model; he is the hardest working person I know. He started and has built a very successful small business in the construction industry. He managed to keep the business afloat during the great recession, an impressive feat considering many businesses in his field did not survive the recession.
Have you had to overcome any challenges or major obstacles in your career?
My first job out of college was as an entry level planner for Fluvanna County. When I started, there was a Senior Planner and Planning Director in the department. Within two months of me starting, both of these positions became vacant, and I was all of a sudden the most “senior” staff in the department, with only two months of experience. This was a very challenging experience for me as I all of sudden became the “go to” contact for the department, but I learned a great amount (both about myself and professionally) and gained some valuable experience during this time that I probably wouldn’t have if these positions didn’t become vacant when they did. This experience allowed me to grow professionally much quicker than I would have in a normal entry level situation.