Philip Bayley Russell was born in 1946 in New Farm, Brisbane to parents Roy and Beryl Russell. From birth Phil grew up around trucks. He was one of those kids that had diesel in their blood and by his 15th birthday, Phil had decided he wanted to work in the family business, RB Russell Transport, which was based in Macquarie Street, Newstead. His father Roy Bayley Russell (for which the company was named), founded the family business in 1925 and serviced predominately the Commonwealth Oil Refineries and the wool carrying sector from the Woolstores at Newstead. As a teenager, Phil left school and commenced his Heavy Diesel mechanics apprenticeship servicing and repairing the company's then fleet of 20 vehicles (mainly Ford trucks).
At the age of 24, Phil took over the operations of the family business from his ailing father. It was at this time, Phil made one of his first big decisions as the head of the company, to purchase land on the (then) outskirts of Brisbane and relocate the business to Eagle Farm. This proved a sound decision and the business had remained on that site to this day.
During Phil's 40 plus years at the helm of the family business, there has been significant expansion in business functions, fleet size, vehicle specifications and customer base. Russell Transport provides transportation and logistical solutions to customers ranging from large mining machines to remote locations, to delivering to local tyre stockists, line haul deliveries of alcohol and groceries to the Sunshine Coast, quarantine and customs storage and handling in the Port of Brisbane (just to name a few). The business has over 150 employees, 100 heavy vehicles (predominately Kenworth), over 100 trailing units and a dedicated onsite mechanical, welding and painting workshop to service the diverse fleet. In addition to the transport business, Phil also established a mobile crane hire business and warehousing functionality to support the provision of a total logistical solution to customers who require it.
Phil has worked diligently to grow the family business and has also made notable contributions to the advancement of the transport industry, which has earned him industry recognition including:
- Life Membership to QTA - awarded in October 2007
- Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (FCILT)
- Past Chairman of the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA)
- Industry representative on the Road Freight Industry Council under the auspices of the Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads.
- QTA Industry Excellence Award in 2001
- ATA National Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry in 2002
Phil is focused on delivering quality customer service, in a safe and efficient manner. His commitment to vehicle maintenance and operational safety has ensured Russell Transport (and associated companies) an enviable reputation in the industry and on many occasions has set the benchmark for industry peers.
As with any family business, Phil has a strong support network of family around him. Until the late 1990s his mother Beryl worked at the family business as company secretary. Now his children Ken and Julie have taken over the daily running of the business so Phil can take stock and enjoy the elements of the workplace and industry that give him the most satisfaction.