Angela Phillips: Navigating Challenges and Building a Legacy in Manufacturing

This podcast episode features a conversation with Angela Phillips, the CEO of Phillips Tube Group, a family-owned steel tube manufacturing company based primarily in Ohio. Angela's story is one of resilience, determination, and a deep passion for both her family's legacy and the manufacturing industry.
Manufacturing Mindset podcast Angela miller

A Family Affair: The Early Years

Angela’s journey with Phillips Tube Group began in 1994, just a year after graduating from college. Initially planning to attend law school, Angela’s path took a different turn when her father, Ralph, asked her to join the family business. What was supposed to be a temporary 2-year stint turned into a lifelong commitment as Angela became the Vice President, working alongside her father for 15 years.

A Sudden Shift: The Passing of a Mentor

In 2009, tragedy struck when Angela’s father passed away unexpectedly in a motorcycle accident at the age of 65. This sudden loss thrust Angela into the role of CEO and President, a position she had not anticipated. Adding to the challenge, the company was facing a 40% downturn due to the recession.

Navigating Rough Waters: The Resilience of a Leader

During this tumultuous period, Angela leaned heavily on the dedicated employees who had become like family to the company. Their unwavering support and commitment helped the business weather the storm and eventually emerge stronger. Angela credits her father’s foresight in preparing the company for such a scenario, ensuring it could withstand estate taxes and avoid liquidation.

Lessons Learned: The Evolution of Leadership

One of the most valuable lessons Angela learned during this trying time was the importance of decisive, albeit imperfect, decision-making. Her father’s advice that no single decision could bring the company down liberated Angela to make choices swiftly and adapt as needed. She also emphasizes the significance of learning from other successful companies and empowering her team to make decisions.

A Passion for Manufacturing: Advocacy and Legacy Building

Angela’s passion for the manufacturing industry shines through as she discusses the challenges faced by US manufacturers, including job losses to offshore markets. She is actively engaged in political advocacy to support domestic manufacturing and promote awareness of its vital role in the economy. Angela’s dedication to building a legacy for her family and advocating for the industry’s future is evident in her every word.

Looking Ahead: The Next Generation

As the conversation turns to the future, Angela muses on the possibility of her children, a 13-year-old son, and a 19-year-old daughter, joining the family business. While open to the idea, Angela stresses the importance of her children gaining experience outside the company to earn the respect of the team before considering a role within the business.


In conclusion, Angela Phillips’ story is one of perseverance, adaptability, and a deep-rooted passion for both her family’s business and the manufacturing industry as a whole. Her journey from Vice President to CEO is a testament to her leadership skills and commitment to carrying on her father’s legacy. As Angela continues to champion domestic manufacturing and nurture the next generation of leaders, her impact on the industry is sure to endure for years to come.


Topics Discussed

1. “Navigating Challenges and Building a Legacy in Manufacturing”

2. “Lessons Learned: The Evolution of a Second-Generation CEO”

3. “Thriving Through Adversity: Angela Phillips’s Story of Resilience”

4. “The Importance of Teamwork and Empowerment in Leadership”

5. “Advocating for US Manufacturing: Angela Phillips’s Mission”

6. “Preparing for Succession: The Future of Phillips Tube Group”

7. “Finding Passion and Purpose in the Manufacturing Industry”

8. “Overcoming Obstacles: Angela Phillips’s Path to Success”

9. “Empowering the Next Generation: Angela Phillips’s Leadership Philosophy

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