Joe was 22 years old, in 1986, when he joined George J. Donovan, A. I. A. & Associates. He obtained a Bachelor's of Architecture professional degree from Temple University in 1987. He is the sole current firm owner and successfully transitioned the business, in cooperation with late founder George Donovan over a number of years to Phillips & Donovan Architects, LLC.
When Joe first joined the business, he never thought that one day he would own it. He did, however, have the example of his late father, Harold Phillips, owning his own business - a construction company - and felt that this step was a natural progression as part of his career. He had his dad's example to know what it takes to be a successful businessman.
Municipal projects are one of Joe's favorite type of architecture. His college thesis was a municipal project. He likes the varied program elements in them - each project of this type has nuances that depend on the management style of those in leadership roles in the particular client municipality. Joe enjoys designing a structure to fit those nuances. He also likes renovation and addition projects because of the unique requirements and design opportunities they provide. He is a big advocate of sensitivity when it comes to altering historic structures and is the Architectural Historic Officer for the City of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania's Historical Architectural Review Board. A LEED AP certified architect, Joe's goal is to make every project as energy efficient as each project's constraints allow.
Joe is unique among many architects because he has firsthand construction knowledge from having worked with his father for many years. He knows how a building is put together, because he has built them. He and his wife, Heather, built their own house.
When Joe is not working in the office, he likes to get lost in guitar-making - for him building guitars has a meditative quality. He also enjoys riding ATVs, hiking, boating, and kayaking.