Inducted into the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame at ReUnion 2004.In 1956, at the age of just 15, Ian started working in his father’s business. Ted Phillips (Ian’s father) had been a teacher and mentor since childhood and through this relationship young Ian soon developed a deep appreciation and respect for road transport.
Ian decided to become a mechanic and by the time he was 18, he was travelling to breakdowns, many being interstate. It wasn’t too long before the call of the road got to him and he started driving both intrastate and interstate.
The business was the known as E.C. Phillips Transport Co. and consisted of five Leyland trucks (no co-incidence as the family owned the Leyland agency in Shepparton, Victoria). Most of the time Ian used to cart fresh fruit from local farmers to the Melbourne markets. Phillips Transport worked with several different types of trucks over the years including Mercedes, UD, Scania and Volvo before purchasing their first Kenworth in 1978. The 1970s finally saw an easing in the regulations surrounding the issuing of permits and the business expanded rapidly.
Phillips Transport depots were established all over the eastern seaboard including in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. During the 1990s Phillips opened the Mooroopna Container Terminal, from which they started carting 1500 containers per annum. Ian was the first transport operator in the Goulburn Valley Region to run B-doubles. By this stage they had also outgrown several Shepparton depots. Ian and his father, Ted, loved to rebuild and restore prime-movers and trailers from wrecks and spare parts.
With the head office situated in Wheeler St, Shepparton, they sold out to Patrick Corporation on 14th February, 2003 by which time the Phillips business was operating over 102 vehicles in its fleet. With 165 trailers and 200 employees on its books it was indeed a big business. Ian worked as a consultant for Patricks for a year. He retired in 2004, having clocked up 48 years in the industry before passing away.