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Teammate Spotlight: Sean Phillips – A Rising Star


Sean Phillips, P.E. has accomplished a great deal in his first nine years at Hargrove Controls & Automation. He began his control systems engineering career in 2014 as a co-operative education student with Hargrove. During this time, Sean graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.

After accepting a full-time position with Hargrove Controls & Automation in 2017, Sean quickly became a technical lead on a handful of large-scale DeltaV migrations before transitioning into project management. Currently, he holds the title of Senior Project Manager. Sean’s role entails taking ownership of a project from start to finish.

“My outlook on project management is making sure everyone on the project team has what they need to be successful in their roles, and backfilling those roles when necessary,” explained Sean.

Sean has led several successful projects in the specialty chemical and pulp and paper industries. On a current project for a local non-profit science center, he committed personal time to locate and purchase hardware to upgrade several of the center’s systems.

Leadership in the Industry

Sean continues to expand his education and leadership skills. In 2022, he received his Professional Engineering (PE) licensure.

Sean currently serves as the President of the Mobile-Pensacola “Emerald Coast” Chapter of the International Society of Automation (ISA). He played a key role in the relaunch of the chapter after it had been disbanded for several years. The chapter is dedicated to the development of professionals in the automation industry and provides great opportunities for career development and networking.

Sean is also a member of Control Engineering’s Engineering Leaders Under 40 Class of 2022. Engineering Leaders Under 40 recognizes the faces of the future of automation and how they’re working to advance the industry. The 2022 class consisted of 36 young professionals who have shown dedication and passion in their industries.

A Rising Star in Controls and Automation

This year, Sean received the prestigious 2023 Rising Star Award, part of the 2023 Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) Executive Conference’s annual awards that recognize member contributions to the industry. The Rising Star Award is given to an individual who has shown leadership qualities in the industry. Recipients of this award are innovative, dedicated, and passionate members of the control system integration community.

“Hargrove Controls & Automation is proud to have Sean Phillips as part of our team. Sean’s past and current contributions to the integration industry are no doubt just the beginning of his industrious career,” said Joshua Payne, Division Leader, who nominated Sean for the award. “We are excited to support Sean in his professional pursuits of excellence within this industry.”

Work-Life Balance

Sean, a lifelong Alabama resident, grew up in North Mobile County but has relocated to the midtown area. He’s grateful to live close to his parents and brothers, all living within a few hours of each other so they can visit often.

When he’s not at work, you might find Sean out on the golf course or remodeling his historic home. He also works on restoring his ’78 Camaro and plays guitar in a 90s cover band.

Sean has really enjoyed his fast-paced career at Hargrove. He believes that if you put in the extra effort, you’ll find multiple opportunities to make the changes you want to see.

“If you are someone who likes a challenge and gets bored doing the same thing for extended periods of time, then Hargrove is the right place for you,” said Sean. “Every day presents a new and interesting opportunity to grow in yourself and your career.”

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