John B. Phillips
August 8, 2008
John B. Phillips died Aug. 3, 2008, at home in California after a recent serious illness. He was 75.
John was born Feb. 27, 1933, to Ralph E. Phillips and Dorothy Phillips, of Los Angeles. He studied humanities and engineering at Columbia University before joining his father’s engineering firm in Los Angeles. Called the “Machiavelli of electric power,” he formed the Engineering Supervision Company (ESCO) in 1964 after leaving his father’s firm. He pioneered the use of energy cooperatives and load-management techniques, which partnered utilities and large power users.
In 1975, John founded the California Energy Coalition, after the Middle East oil embargo and its accompanying energy shortage. There he expanded his work to the local and community level ” including programs for school-aged children ” and created projects throughout California, the Midwest, the Northeast and Sweden.
Today, called simply The Energy Coalition, this nonprofit continues to advance the
cause of energy efficiency.
In 1990, John came to Aspen, buying a vacation home first on Waters Ave. and then building a house on Willoughby Way, overlooking the Rio Grande Trail and the Roaring Fork River. He and his wife began spending about four months a year in Aspen.
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In 1994, he established the Aspen Accord, a biannual conference of delegates who meet and work to advance the exchange of energy efficiency and demand-response management, using the best environmental and energy efficiency practices employed in California and Sweden. The group meets in Aspen and in Sweden.
John taught at MIT, was commended by President Reagan for his work and was heralded in countless journals and newspapers for his foresight and leadership. He worked tirelessly to advance his vision until his death.
He loved all things Swedish and was passionate about biography, history and tradition. A brilliant mind, adventurous spirit, agent provocateur and dreamer, he joins the company of those who have gone before: his wife, Viola (d. 1997), and his sons
Erik and John-Christian (d. 1985). He is mourned by his wife, Christine, daughter Anna, brother Ralph, sister-in-law Kiki, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Irma and Hans Mossblad, of Stockholm, son-in-law Arthur, grandchildren Eugenia and Viola, godchild Mercie and his entire Swedish family, as well as countless friends, relatives and colleagues.