Reid Austin Phillips
Company: Enventys Partners
Position: Director of Business Development
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?
Aside from college years at UNC Chapel Hill, all my life.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?
Born and raised in Charlotte, NC, I grew up spending most of my life on a soccer field playing year-round from the age of 8 to 18. I have amazingly talented, loving, and supportive parents and two younger brothers who couldn’t be more unique to I. The oldest of three boys in the span of 42 months, to say our house was a circus in my younger years, would be an understatement. But man, was it fun.
In addition to soccer, I was a talented golfer and played both sports throughout middle and high school (Alexander Graham and Myers Park respectfully).
I spontaneously decided to walk over to football practice in my sophomore year of high school after soccer practice had finished to try my hand at kicking. The football team was already 3 games into the season and this was a Wednesday. Two days later, I kicked a game-winning extra point against West Charlotte on the road.
This launched a 5-year period wherein soccer transitioned to football as I showed potential real promise as a kicker. It became clear I could play collegiately at the D1 level in either sport but in football, I started to attract some real attention.
A talented student as well, I was an International Baccalaureate Diploma recipient at Myers Park HS and involved in numerous clubs – even a school play.
I tested well and had solid college opportunities including a number of scholarships – both academic (the most noteworthy being the Terry Scholarship – a full ride to Davidson, and a competing full ride to Vanderbilt) and athletic.
Ultimately, however, I decided to attend UNC in that I felt it gave me everything I wanted in a college experience – it was diverse, large, and academically strong – and walk on as a “preferred walk on to the football team.
I played for 2 years as the backup kicker before an injury ended that story. I segued that into two years of giving tours of the campus to prospective students and their parents and co-managed the completely student-lead wing of the University’s Admissions Department that facilitated all prospective student campus visits.
I joined serial Charlotte entrepreneurs Mac Lackey and Ross Saldarini at KYCK as the employee #1 and was pivotal in shaping the direction and development of the company over a five-year period before it was sold to NBC Sports.
Following KYCK, I joined the local non-profit Drumstrong to assist in numerous marketing and festival logistics roles leading up to their tenth annual festival at the Misty Meadows Farm in Waxhaw, NC.
I’ve now been with Enventys Partners since August 2016 and have thoroughly loved every minute of it. My role truly feels like an episode of the Shark Tank every day and I’m amazed at the work our team is capable of. To play the role I do in all of that is truly a special opportunity for someone my age. What we do – launch new products through prototyping and marketing services – is fun, requires teamwork, is different every day, and gives me the ability to have a direct impact on the outcome of it all.
I’m incredibly passionate about several other things – fairly well detailed below.
DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORIAL MOMENT?
Though unbelievably now a decade ago, I still have flawless memories of my service trip in 2007 to Rio de Janeiro.
Through church, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to spend two weeks in Brazil at a favela camp where our group of roughly 30 high school students and chaperones-built houses, reconstructed a church, and orchestrated a slew of activities for the community’s youth and elderly.
I had attended similar trips annually for the last five years and as a young adult, found these experiences culturally eye-opening and fundamental to my personal growth and understanding of the world beyond what I had grown up accustomed to. Costa Rica, Mexico, New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, etc. however in Rio, the level of poverty and depravity I experienced was unmatched.
It’s an amazing thing for a single city to be considered both one of the richest and poorest places on Earth. For two weeks we worked tirelessly in the July heat to construct two family homes in addition to the programing we put on.
A lifelong soccer player, the standout highlight for me from that amazing trip was unloading 30 or so donated deflated soccer balls, pumping them up one by one, kicking them onto the local commune’s cracked hardtop tennis court turned soccer pitch – tires for goals and all, and watching screaming, laughing children coming running down the hills for a game of pickup.
More recently, playing in the house band (Underground Detour) for the Autism Charlotte fundraiser at the Mint Museum was a real treat.
IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY?
Growing up in Charlotte afforded me some amazing experiences and I feel I took full advantage of them. My fellow students, friends, teachers, coaches, life and business mentors, are all a huge part of who I am today. I like to think I have unique versatility and touch a lot of corners of our community.
In a social sense, my band, Underground Detour, plays 6-10 times a year – each time associating ourselves with a local charity and raising funds along the way. Autism Charlotte, A Child’s Place, The Battered Women’s Shelter, etc. are all local charities that over the past five years we’ve helped raise more than $40,000 for.
In the past I’ve been a soccer coach and ref for Charlotte Junior Soccer League hoping to relay some of my passion for the game and its many lessons to generations of our local youth.
Professionally, my current role at Enventys Partners puts me in an exciting position to help startups and entrepreneurs, both local and beyond, pursue their dreams. I have tremendous passion for what we do as a company and the value we can add to a passionate founder’s creative and business development processes. In coordination with this, I’ve helped arrange and speak at local meetups to various tech and entrepreneurship groups here in Charlotte.
My past professional roles have seen me co-found a local tech startup (rarity) – KYCK.com, which ultimately was sold to NBC Sports. Following KYCK, I joined the non-profit Drumstrong and assisted in numerous functions – marketing and festival logistics – in preparation for their 10th annual event.
In a less related, but in my opinion equally important way, I engage with our community by eating local, supporting small and independent business, participating in yoga classes, kickball leagues, etc. It’s introduced me to a lot of amazing people in town that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?
Where do I begin? Almost everything interests me. I’m obsessed with, play, and go see as much music as sustainably possible. Guitar – electric/acoustic/classical -is my passion but I dabble with the banjo, bass, and mandolin as well.
I’m a “foodie” and love trying new restaurants and cuisines and cooking at home.
I love sport and play pickup soccer around town (wishing I had time and the legs for a formal league these days) and golf when I can.
I travel as often as possible and make a point to get to a new country every year. I have some great friends scattered all over the US and rest of the world and don’t need my arm twisted to invest in travel.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?
“And in the end, the love you take, is equal to, the love you make” – The Beatles
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS? 10 YEARS?
Provided I feel like I’m learning and growing and feeling encouraged by the direction of my life, I try not to “overplan”.
That said, at the current rate, in five years I could see myself managing a new office for Enventys in a new strategic location, or even having started my own company.
In ten years, I would hope to experience the confluence of my various passions click into a business opportunity that enabled me to impact lives at scale and provide a unique value/experience to those it touched.
CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
I’ve yet to attend a World Cup and would have loved to have done so this year for my 30th birthday in Russia. Alas, the US failed to qualify.
Attending a World Cup – preferably in a foreign country – is an absolute bucket list item.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?
August 2017 – Tulum, Mexico to explore cenotes with a group of friends.
WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?
I’ve once had a double-eagle. Rarer than the hole-in-one.
You certainly wouldn’t know it by looking at me, but I turned a lifelong soccer career into a field goal kicking career and played (though never started) for the Tar Heels for two years.
WHO IS YOUR HERO?
I feel the answer to this question changes depending on where I am in life.
At times it could be my mom or dad. Paul McCartney, Bob Marley, or Trey Anastasio, etc. etc.
Presently, Elon Musk simply astounds me. The combination of perseverance, creativity, intellect – I could go on and on – that he combines into working towards some of the most forward-thinking solutions to not only today’s but our future problems, is inhuman.
WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
Never Split The Difference – Chris Voss
WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?
Saving Mr. Banks
WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?
Jazz is PHSH – a jazz tribute to Phish in Asheville, NC 4/7/19