2001 Distinguished Service Award: Kenneth Phillips

// Electrical & Computer Engineering

Tags: alumni, ECE E-Day, Engineers' Day, Kenneth Phillips

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Kenneth P. Phillips
Manager, Advanced Development
Drives Business, Rockwell Automation
BSEE ’60

Kenneth P. Phillips has become a key leader in power electronics, influencing the industry’s advanced research directions, particularly in electric-drive technology. Early on, he applied his knowledge of electromechanical concepts to solid-state power conversion techniques in the textile, machine-tool, test-stand, Navy-control, elevator and crane industries. And throughout his career, he developed many advances in alternating current power conversion.

Today he is manager of Rockwell Automation’s Advanced Development Group in Mequon, Wisconsin. As a member of Rockwell’s Technical Council, he helps set engineering technical direction for the corporation, and is responsible for setting the direction of its advanced research projects. Prior to that position, he worked in several capacities at Eaton Corporation/Cutler Hammer, Litton/Louis Allis, and Control Technology Corporation, Milwaukee. Phillips began his career at General Dynamics Electronics in Rochester, New York.

He received his bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison in electrical engineering in 1960, and 30 years later, earned a master of business administration degree from Keller Graduate School of Management. He is a founding member of the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium, one of the largest technology transfer organizations of its kind, and is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). In addition to committee work, Phillips also has lectured about engineering graduate needs at UW-Madison.

The Racine native has been married since 1992 to his wife, Ann, and has four sons and three grandchildren. Son Tim is a senior electrical engineer in Milwaukee; Mark is a jazz musician and educator. Mike is a free-lance writer in New York City, while Jeff is employed at a local processing industry. Phillips, a long-time jazz enthusiast, admires Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, and often visits homes and buildings the architect designed. He and Ann enjoy gardening, grandparenting and spending time year-round at their home in Wisconsin’s Door County.