Rob Phillips Receives 2023 Innovator of the Year Award

Phillips Industries

Rob Phillips Receives 2023 OCBJ Innovator of the Year Award

Irvine, CA – (Trailer Technician) – Phillips Industries, an international leader in the design and manufacturing of components and innovative technology solutions for the commercial truck and trailer industry, is thrilled to announce that Rob Phillips, CEO and President of Phillips Industries, CEO and Founder of Phillips Connect and Phillips Innovations has received the 2023 Innovator of the Year Award presented by the Orange County Business Journal (OCBJ). 

The Innovator of the Year Awards are designed to honor, recognize and celebrate individuals and their organizations who are creating game-changing products and services, and demonstrate brilliance and leadership in innovation.

Rob Phillips Receives 2023 OCBJ Innovator of the Year Award

“I am beyond honored to win this award. There was such an impressive list of nominees, and I am very humbled to receive the recognition,” said Phillips. “We are driven and focused on making huge game-changing improvements to transportation, and this recognition validates our commitment to our work. Our entire team lives in a world that doesn’t understand the word ‘impossible,’ and we thrive on the excitement that comes from success. We will continue to push boundaries, and manufacture cutting-edge technologies that make a real difference in transportation.”

Phillips Industries has joined Phillips Connect to be headquartered in Irvine, CA (within the UC Irvine Research Park). The strategic move allows all Phillips North American business units to operate under one roof, fostering enhanced collaboration and cohesiveness.

Irvine’s vibrant tech ecosystem provides a platform for innovation and community, connecting the Phillips team with a diverse talent pool and host of potential partners. Beyond business, the city offers a high quality of life with safety, cultural amenities, and recreational options. Irvine’s commitment to supporting business and advancing markets sets the stage for sustained growth and continued success in the commercial transportation industry.

About Rob Phillips:

Rob Phillips is the 4th generation CEO of Phillips Industries, the world’s largest supplier of commercial truck and trailer electric harness systems. Since Rob joined the family business in 1995, he has led large-scale expansion projects– stretching the company’s reach from a North American supplier to a global manufacturer, with more than 2,300 employees and facilities in USA, Canada, Mexico, Poland, China, and Vietnam. Five years ago, Phillips saw an opportunity to expand his 90-year old business from a hardware supplier to a leading technology and software company by launching a new business called Phillips Connect. The company created an entire industry around what they refer to as smart-trailers by enabling edge-computing sensors and cameras to its telematics gateways.  In just over two years of shipping its first products, the company has already delivered more than 200,000 smart-trailer systems and more than 1,000,000 sensors to trucking companies across North America. Phillips Connect is the fastest growing telematics company in North America today, and is on track to save its customer base well over $1 billion in efficiencies and cost-avoidances over the life of their vehicles.   Rob is always pushing the boundaries, and just recently launched a new business called Phillips Innovations, which brings an elevated level of safety, sustainability, driver comfort and automation to the industry through R&D investments in solar, backup camera technologies, and autonomous driving solutions for trucks and trailers. Phillips Innovations is Rob’s third company, and he has more plans to expand in the coming year.  

Award winners were announced at the Innovator of the Year Awards celebration on September 7, 2023, at the Irvine Marriott. Click here to read more about the 2023 nominees.


Based in Irvine, CA, USA, Phillips has been dedicated to designing, manufacturing, and distributing high-quality solutions to the commercial truck and trailer industry for nearly a century. Phillips has manufacturing and distribution facilities throughout North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. Its manufacturing facilities have earned top-quality accreditations, including ISO/IATF 16949 and ISO 14001, and have received multiple prestigious customer awards. Phillips maintains active membership in key industry associations, including TMC, ATA, SAE, Heavy Duty Manufacturing Association, and various state trucking associations. Phillips stands as a beacon of excellence, delivering reliable products that keep the world moving forward on the road.

Phillips Industries, Phillips Europe, Phillips Asia Pacific, Phillips de Mexico, Phillips Innovations, Phillips Connect, and Phillips Connect Motorsports are entities under the Phillips Family umbrella. Together, they provide comprehensive solutions that meet the evolving needs of commercial vehicle operators, with a focus on safety, security, cost reduction, and asset utilization. Phillips continues to set industry standards through its unwavering commitment to research, development, innovation, and customer-centric collaboration. For more information, please visit our website: