Headshot of man with glasses and beard, Phillip LesterEarlier this year, Applied Development and Thomas & Herbert Consulting LLC (T&H)’s joint venture P3 Innovation received a contract to provide financial technical assistance to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As with everything we do and all the services we provide, people are at the core of our successes. The P3 team led by project manager Phillip Lester works to make sure that millions of Americans have access to quality housing they deserve. 

Phillip was eager to put a career’s worth of project management experience into practice at P3, and found the HUD contract particularly exciting. “I knew of the tools and the key players from HUD” from working on HUD projects for four years before joining P3, says Phillip. He leads a team of four people to provide operational maintenance and enhancements to seven tools.

These tools move and managed $4.5 billion, which ensure that Americans have access to affordable and adequate housing across the country. “The opportunity to work on a program supporting millions of Americans sounded like a great place to work,” he adds. 

He also feels that this project, although done through the Applied Development and T&H’s joint venture, is a great fit for our portfolio. This program champions the rights of people to have decent and dignified housing, he says. “Applied Development takes its expertise and uses it in a manner that benefits the country and its citizens.”

Phillip’s project management experience spans from his time in the U.S. Army Reserve to his almost complete Doctorate in Executive Leadership. He remembers learning Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and Critical Path Method (CPM) with pencils and a calculator at the Engineer Officer’s Basic Course nearly 35 years ago in the Army.

“Our first projects were to building housing for a 200-man unit,” he says. And from there, “As a soldier, I ran horizontal and vertical construction projects for the military for years. When I was not heading up a construction unit, I used project management in most every other job, to include deployments and exercises.”

Like many veterans, Phillip used what he learned in the military to further his career. 

After receiving his Master’s Degree in Business Management in 2010 and working as a project manager, Phillip decided to enroll in a Ph.D. program for Executive Leadership at the University of Charleston. This year, he will defend his dissertation. His research focuses on urban leadership.

He says he’s gained knowledge and practical tools as a student and instructor in the graduate program. “Knowing your leadership style and how as a leader we can best support our team has become a great tool” in the office, he says. “The program has helped with understanding and setting my own expectations for the team and senior leaders.” 

As a project management professor for the Master’s students, Phillip says he is “able to relate to them and provide them with real life examples of the theory and concepts being discussed in class.”

As a fellow professional well into a career and looking to grow their educational experiences, Phillip knew that his students needed more than just the basics. “I developed a program to teach project management, and not just teach the Project Management Professional (PMP) test,” he says. 

Today, Phillip uses his experiences, background as a teacher, and knowledge gained during his doctoral studies to bring success to the P3 contract.