Director of Planning and Community Development, Town of Southington
Robert Phillips (MPA 2012) currently works for the Town of Southington as the Director of Planning and Community Development, where he leads the Planning and Building Departments in land use development, preservation and revitalization. As a Department Head, he is responsible for the management of a staff of ten at an operating budget of approximately $1 Million annually. Robert frequently works with the public, other town staff, attorneys, developers and regional organizations on various development proposals and sound planning practices for land use management.
Robert first earned his Masters of Science from UConn in 2001 and worked in the environmental field for a few years. He then found himself changing career paths to an allied field in land use work. Before long, he realized that the public sector was a good fit for him and found great interests in public service and policy. Robert discovered UConn’s MPA program and what it had to offer through its strong national ranking and the faculty interests. He then enrolled in the program focusing on City Management and Urban Policy but ended up with a greater focus on Public Financial Management.
The MPA program has offered Robert skills such as broad and deep understanding of how the public sector works; particularly the roles and responsibilities of departments providing the essential functions of a municipality. It gave him the confidence to be able to have multi-departmental interaction by having a deep understanding and being able to “speak their language”. Confidence and a general understanding of how all the parts work lead Robert to a greater ability to lead and organize initiatives that many times result in internal and external policies in the municipality. The UConn MPA program solidified his commitment to public service by empowering him to make the best use of his abilities to serve the public. That helped make him a more effective leader and facilitator.
Robert lives in Farmington and has no free time between running his kids around to activities, Southington work, and night meetings. Robert is an elected official and volunteers in the Farmington community on ZBA and EDC, respectively. Also, Robert runs the Mudhogs youth flag football spring/fall programs with over 200 kids and 50 coaches as well as coaching his team as well. Robert and his family ski virtually every weekend all winter up in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Colorado.