David Philippi: Dad, Son, and CEO
Peter Philippi founded Strategex with a dream, a loan, and a business partner.
It was 1993. Bill Clinton was the US President. The general public was about to experience the release of the world wide web. The Maastricht Treaty took effect to establish the European Union. A gallon of gas cost $1.11. The US was glued to watching the Waco siege unfold, while American kids were busy watching Jurassic Park and collecting Beanie Babies.
Against this backdrop, Peter Philippi founded Strategex with a dream, a loan, and a business partner. After an eight-year tenure at a Voice of the Customer research firm, he had to fulfill a nagging vision: to venture out on his own.
His mission was to teach clients how to grow through strategic planning, customer insights, and business development. A dedicated business developer, he walked the halls of major organizations to develop relationships and generate awareness. The company has since evolved into an international consulting firm, dedicated to implementing strategies that facilitate our clients’ growth.
Peter has always recognized the value of people; since he hired his first Strategex employee, he made a point to stop by the desk of every single person in the office to greet them, appreciate them, and get to know them. This simple gesture has launched a family-like culture that continues to this day.
To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we asked our founder to reflect on Strategex’s inception.
While Strategex was founded in 1993, my story begins in 1992. My wife, Joyce, and I were in our mid-forties, and my children (Sharon, Karen, David, and Rebecca) were between 12 and 17 years old. We were about to have four teenagers in our home when I was faced with the decision of whether to look for new employment or create my own job. I had been a pastor for 12 years and then worked for a small Voice of the Customer (VOC) research firm for eight years. Circumstances were such that a change became necessary.
I approached Trish Lynch, a brilliant chemical engineer-turned-consultant, and her partner Ray Rex about starting a company together. It was October 4th, 1992.
We were supposed to meet with a client to sell consulting services. The client forgot about our meeting and stood us up. I took the opportunity to tell Trish I was leaving the research company and wondered if she and Ray would be interested in joining forces. Trish responded, “Funny you should ask. Just yesterday, Ray and I discussed that if we really wanted to make a go of our company, we needed someone like Peter Philippi to join us.”
We spent four months preparing our start-up company, and on February 1, 1993, Strategex was launched.
A few months later, Ray decided that this was not for him and took a job as Vice President of Operations at another company. I—the consummate entrepreneur—would be responsible for relationship building and business development, while Trish would lead all project work.
As we deliberated on what to call the company, we wanted the name to represent who we were and what we offered to our clients. Our primary consideration was to have our name reflect that our services would be strategic…hence the name Strategex.
A company’s success is determined by the strength of its people.
Strategex is our brand name, but it is our people who have impacted thousands of lives, both professionally and personally, and hundreds of businesses over the years. In fact, when I reflect on the past 30 years, some of the most pivotal points in Strategex’s history—and my own—were the occasions when I met the people who would ultimately join the team. A company’s success is determined by the strength of its people. Over the years we have assembled an elite team of highly qualified professionals who have delivered more than three billion dollars in operating income improvement.
Over 30 years, we’ve grown as a company and a team. We’re a family business, so a key moment in our history and my life is when I appointed my successor as CEO, my son, David Philippi. It has been over four years with David as CEO. He led Strategex through the COVID pandemic and has taken the company to new levels of growth and expansion. He is a focused, kind, empathetic, and hardworking servant leader.
Any company that exists for 30 years is a company that experiences disappointments and difficulties. It is forced to take risks to survive and ultimately thrive. There were times we had to put everything on the line. Whatever the challenges, we always found a way. The reward is to see what Strategex has become and to envision with great anticipation where we are going.
With our strong culture, and our vibrant, energetic, and high-quality team, along with our visionary leadership and board, differentiated services, strong competitive advantage, and huge market size, the only way to go is up!
Growth brings opportunities, and change brings challenges, all of which prepare us and position us for even greater opportunities.
To the current team, my message is simple: embrace growth now and inspire future generations to do the same.
Three Decades of Success
Since its inception, Strategex has become a premiere consulting firm. Our clients in the Fortune 1000 and Private Equity space rely on us for 80/20 Profit & Growth, Customer Insights, and Customer Due Diligence.
When we asked our current CEO, David Philippi about our three decades of success, he attributed it to the team and the culture. He said in a statement, “Strategex has fostered a healthy environment and a high-performing culture. The trust and respect of each employee empower everyone to create their own path, develop new ideas, learn new skill sets, and make Strategex the best it can be for clients and employees.”