R.V. “Red” Phillips (1912-1996)
Haines City Citrus Growers Association
Citrus World, Inc.
Citrus Central, Inc.
Florida Citrus Commission
Sales Manager Club
Florida Packinghouse Managers Association
Florida Tangerine Cooperative
Florida Council of Farmers Cooperative
Florida Fresh Citrus Shippers Association
Growers & Shippers League of Florida
Citrus Industrial Council
R.V. “Red” Phillips was born April 5, 1912, in Bacon Level, Alabama. In 1930 he came to Polk County and began working at the Waverly Packinghouse. The youthful Phillips attracted the eye of the manager, who gave him a small role in the sales office. In 1936, he was appointed Traffic and Assistant Sales Manager, and he later ascended to Sales Manager in 1942.
In 1951 Phillips became general manager of the Haines City Growers Association (HCGA). His sense of humor and outgoing nature made him popular within the organization, and he was known for an ability to make his workers productive. He was also known for always being able to find ways to save the company money. Phillips revamped the entire HCGA packing system, thus increasing wages while actually decreasing the cost the company was paying per box. Phillips was always lauded for his willingness to try new things. This paid off during his time with the HCGA as he set the foundation for the organization to grow and prosper in the future.
Throughout his career, he became known to the citrus industry as the “Champion of the Cooperative,” an outspoken advocate of the “total” cooperative. He was among the first growers to plant and encourage the development of the Murcott, which later became known as the Honey Tangerine.
Phillips developed a lengthy list of associations during his career. He served on the Board of Directors for Citrus World, Inc. for 27 years, and Citrus Central, Inc. for 14 years. Later in his career, he served as a member of the Florida Citrus Commission from 1974 through 1982. He also served as President for the Sales Managers Club and participated in the Florida Packing House Manager’s Association, the Florida Tangerine Cooperative, the Florida Council of Farmer’s Cooperatives, the Florida Fresh Citrus Shipper’s Association, the Growers and Shippers League of Florida, Citrus Industrial Council. He was also a member of the Advisory Board of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association. He also served in non-citrus organizations, serving as president of the Rotary Club in Haines City, for which he was a member. He was also a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Winter Haven and was on the Hesco Corp. Board of Directors. Red Phillips retired in 1977, although he continued to serve with the HCGA as Executive Vice President.
Phillips and his wife Marjorie had a son and two daughters. He passed away on August 28, 1996, and was inducted into the Florida Citrus Hall of Fame in 1983.