Digging in with Rob Phillips, VP Software Engineering

Digging In is a regular series of blog posts profiling UDig employees. We hope this series helps you get to know our team and understand why we dig what we do! Today, we are sitting down with Rob Phillips, VP Software Engineering.

UDig: Tell us a little bit about your background and your role at UDig.  

RP: I have always loved technology and how it can be used to make life easier. I studied Computer Science at Virginia Tech and have been in healthcare and retail for much of my career. Most recently, I was with CarMax, where I was responsible for the software and systems that run the 200+ stores across the nation. Additionally, I had the opportunity to start the technology teams that managed their data assets and started the machine learning and AI capabilities that create insights and actions from that data. 

Here at UDig, I am the Vice President of Software Engineering. My goal is to make our employees better engineers and advisors for our clients. A mantra I learned previously that I believe is if I take care of the team at UDig, the team will take care of the clients, and the rest of it will take care of itself. 

UDig: Why UDig? What made us the right decision for you?  

RP: I have known the leadership team at UDig since they recruited me to CarMax back in 2010 when they were solely a recruiting company. As UDig switched to consulting, I remained in contact with the team and have been in regular contact since then.  

UDig’s goal of being a trusted partner to their clients is something that resonates deeply with me. Other agencies I have worked with simply meet the clients’ request and look to maximize their margin by shipping work overseas. UDig is different, they focus on how to generate value for the client and that is what is important to me. 

Additionally, UDig is a company full of great people who listen and care for others. I believe that working with those types of people is key to having a great work-life balance.  

UDig: What does “We Leave You Better” mean to you? 

RP: To me, “We Leave You Better” means that our team brings different perspectives and ideas to our clients. Our clients are busy individuals, and busy people often tend to get to a solution as quickly as possible. This often means a solution from the viewpoint that is most familiar to them. As an external partner, we bring a unique perspective. We can solve their problems in a way that they have not thought of and ideally bringing additional value to the client.  

UDig: Why software? You led data and machine learning teams in your last role – what is it about software that brought you back?  

RP: I personally do not separate the two. They work hand in hand with one another. Software converts actions into data and software uses that data to create some action which creates additional value. Prior to working with data management and machine learning teams, my viewpoint on data was narrow and focused on the transaction. I have learned that to build data-driven systems, you must have a broader view of the data. This expanded view gives insight into customer patterns that will help shape how your systems can respond to new and changing situations. 

UDig: What is your favorite procrastination tool?  

RP: YouTube. YouTube has a wealth of knowledge on it and provides many different perspectives on many different things. My favorite videos to watch are sailing videos; anything covering things to do or fix on sailboats.  

UDig: What did you want to be when you grew up? 

RP: Growing up, I knew I wanted to be in technology. My dad brought home our first Apple II computer when I was in elementary school, and I quickly began learning Apple Basic Programming. I have always gravitated towards taking computers apart and learning what I can make a computer do.  

UDig: What’s the most played song in your library?  

RP: I’m not sure if I have one most played song; I enjoy a wide variety of music and genres, but if one song had to come to the top, I think it would be Everlong by the Foo Fighters.  

UDig: How would you spend your day if we told you to take the day off?  

RP: I would be on my sailboat at the Chesapeake Bay. Ideally, I would be sailing but realistically, I would be fixing something on the boat. I spent large amount of time on the water growing up and it is the place that pulls me when I need time to recharge. I have been sailing since 2016 and it is by far my favorite past time.