In 1949, a 17 year-old boy named Ted Phillips partnered with his cousin, Clyde Phillips, to do a $495 Tennessee Valley Authority land clearing job in Mississippi. Ted borrowed his dad’s car, loaded cross-cut saws and axes, picked up Clyde and two other men and headed down the narrow, curvy two-lane roads over 450 miles from the mountains of Robbinsville, North Carolina to Philadelphia, Mississippi. The all-manual work was hard, hot, and tiring. It wasn’t a large job but, after expenses, they finished with a good profit.
Ted had no idea when he took on this little clearing job he would be planting the seed of what would become Phillips and Jordan, Inc. The many Tennessee Valley Authority clearing jobs in the 1950’s, coupled with the Federal Aid-Highway Act signed by President Eisenhower in 1956 authorizing over 41,000 miles of highways provided a fertile environment for this seed to grow. Both meant a substantial amount of land clearing and earthwork.
Ted’s high school friend, Ted Jordan, partnered with him in 1952, and Phillips and Jordan was born. In 1953, they got their first big break when the company was awarded the right-of-way clearing for sections of the West Virginia turnpike. In 1959, in a joint venture with Herman H. West & Co., they were awarded the land clearing for the Flaming Gorge reservoir in Utah by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. While the low bidder by 1 million dollars, they were still able to make 1.5 million dollars on the project. The completion of the Flaming Gorge project led to the award of several other reservoir clearing projects throughout the United States. The successful and profitable progress of P&J was well on its way.