Mr. Phillips is internationally credited with being very instrumental in launching instant messaging, the PDA, Cable Modem, PCS, Fixed Cellular, Time Magazine’s Medical Invention of the Year – the VeinViewer, and iPix, at the time, the world’s largest provider of digital imaging infrastructure for the internet, in such areas as virtual tours, telepresence, online real estate, hospitality, and security. Throughout his business career, Jim has held numerous prominent positions and founded and co-founded many successful corporations while introducing many products used by millions worldwide. He started his career in 1975 with Northern Telecom, when the company was the 2nd largest telecom manufacturer in North America, rising in management to Vice-President; became President & Co-Founder of SkyTel– the nation’s largest messaging company; President & Vice Chairman of Telular Corp.; Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Motorola, PCS and Multimedia divisions, where his team invented the cable modem and pioneered “the cable bundle” which included the invention and deployment of the cable modem, cable telephone service and the set top interactive TV module with the world’s leading cable interactive service providers. Mr. Phillips received the Motorola Patent Disclosure Award for the tablet computer. As President and Vice-Chairman of Telular Corporation (WRLS) Jim took the company public (NASDAQ) and was instrumental in the development of the wireless local loop; cellular voice and data telephone (wireless dialtone); pioneering machine to machine communications (M2M) for wireless telemetry applications around the world in energy, transportation and agriculture; and wireless security alarm systems protecting hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across the U.S. While President of Telular, Mr. Phillips was awarded the patent for PCS One, and sold 20% of the company to Motorola. Jim served as Senior Vice-President of Mobilecomm, the second largest provider of cellular and paging services in the U.S. at the time. Jim also Co-Founded iPIX Corporation where he served as Chairman and CEO. During his tenure with iPIX, he led the company to become what Forbes called “the Kodak of the Internet.” The company revolutionized imaging across the internet, inventing virtual tours that are a staple on real estate, hotel & entertainment websites and the only 360×360 security camera system used by the White House and many government agencies and corporations. Millions of internet users experienced immersive imaging and “telepresence” for the first time through iPIX. Under Phillips’ leadership, the company created the first augmented reality system using virtual eyeglasses that provided a live 360° viewing experience to anywhere in the world. In addition, through the acquisition of Bamboo.com and Picture Works, Jim’s team oversaw the development of the popular ”drag and drop” image submission process utilized by millions of e-Bay users everyday. Mobilecomm Corporation was sold to BellSouth Corporation, SkyTel Corporation was sold to MCI Verizon, iPIX was sold to Sony Corporation, Luminetx was sold to Christies, and Telular was sold to AVISTA.
While furthering his management career in the financial sector, Mr. Phillips served as CEO in Residence and Special Advisor to the Private Equity and Investment Banking Groups at Morgan Keegan & Co.
As Founding Chairman and Executive Director of the FedEx Institute of Technology (FIT), he helped establish this leading research park on the campus at the University of Memphis. Information Week called FIT “the technology industry’s newest center for innovation” and WIRED Magazine compared it to the Media Lab at MIT.
In 2004, Jim was named an Information Week Magazine “Innovator of the Year”. That same year, he became Chairman and CEO of Luminetx Corporation and led with his management team the development, FDA clearance, and commercialization of the breakthrough medical device he branded as the “VeinViewer” named by Time Magazine as “Coolest Medical Invention of the Year,” and Red Herring Magazine featured Luminetx Corporation at the top of the list of North America’s 100 Best Technology Startups in 2006 under Mr. Phillips leadership. VeinViewer is a mobile vascular imaging system that allows health care providers to clearly see accessible vasculature in real time directly on the surface of the skin. VeinViewer is the first and only vein illumination medical device that uses harmless near infrared light, and other technologies to illuminate a real time HD digital image of subcutaneous vasculature and blood patterns directly onto the skin surface.
Jim also founded and served as Chairman and CEO of Snowflake Corporation – a leader in biometric identification technology awarded the 2009 Frost & Sullivan Innovation of the Year Award for the biometrics market.
Mr. Phillips personally named and branded VeinViewer, Luminetx, Skytel, SkyPager, SkyWord, SkyMail, PCS One, CellDock, CyberSurfer Cable Modem, the surfboard cable modem, Snowflake Technologies, and the CPX (Cellular Phone Exchange), nGlide, nGuard, TriboTuff and ElementX.
Among his many honors and awards, Jim has won the 2014 Edison Award, 2013 R&D100 Award, 2014 Tibbetts Award, the CLIO Award, the BENNY Chairman’s Award, the University of Memphis Distinguished Graduate Award, the Fogelman College of Business Distinguished Executive of the Year, the Herff College of Engineering Distinguished Service Award, the National Golden Key Award, and was named Tennessee Businessman of the Year in 1999 by the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 2006, he was inducted into the Memphis Entrepreneurial Society.
His innovative contributions and business leadership have been chronicled in many national publications including: Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, The Standard, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He has made numerous appearances on Fox News, CNN, CNNfn, CNBC, the BBC and CBS Morning News. His business affiliations include:
- Member, Council on Competitiveness (Executive Committee)
- Member U.S. Technology Leadership Council
- Member U.S. Manufacturing Initiative
- Trustee of National Health Museum
- Board Member Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (Audit, Compliance & Investment Committees)
- Board Member Texas A&M (TEES)
- Board Member The Curiosity Project
- Trustee University of Memphis
- Trustee Memphis Music Foundation
- Board Member UM Herff College of Engineering
- Board Member UM Fogelman School of Business
- Board member United States Materials Genome
- Member, Memphis Entrepreneurial Society
- Vice Chairman – Memphis Chamber of Commerce
- Vice Chairman – Tennessee Technology Development Corp
- Co-Founder, past Chairman, Director-EmergeMemphis
- Board Member Bioworks Foundation
Jim holds BBA and MBA degrees from the University of Memphis, graduating with academic honors. As a student, he was President of the Tennessee Student Association, Cadet Commander of the largest ROTC Detachment in the U.S. and Vice President of the SGA. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant and attended Jet Pilot Training at Webb AFB in Texas. He was honored with the Professor of Aerospace Studies Award and the United States Air Force Distinguished Military Graduate Award.
Jim and Barbara Phillips (his wife of 38 years) have three sons, Parker, Preston & Palmer. Mr. Phillips is eternally grateful for the many brilliant colleagues, fellow employees, and wonderful friends that have made it possible for him to play a role, along with them, in launching companies and introducing new technologies and products that have made a positive contribution to society.