TEC Alumni Series: Checking in with Andy Phillip

TEC News Stories

3/13/2012 9:51:00 AM

Story Highlights

By: Lyndsey Taylor

URBANA, Ill. (Mar. 13, 2012)--Illinois alumni Andy Phillip has been using his electrical engineering skills to create a startup that manufactures high-precision parts.

Microlution makes industrial cutting equipment, specializing in technology that requires small parts.

As co-founder and president, Phillip handles product, technology and market development, as well as sales.

As Microlution has matured, the company now has 12 employees. Phillip said as their industry is primarily dominated by companies overseas, he takes “a lot of pride” in working for the venture in the U.S.

Prior to Microlution, Phillip worked for GE for four years after graduating in 2000 from the University of Virginia in mechanical engineering.

“I always enjoyed thinking about business ideas and possibilities but I hadn't actively worked on any startup ventures until I came to Illinois,” he said.

Phillip said graduate research at the University of Illinois with mechanical science and engineering professors Shiv Kapoor and Richard Devor laid the “technical foundation” for the venture.

Closer to graduation, Phillip and co-founder Andrew Honegger sat down and had a casual conversation about starting Microlution together and decided to go for it.

Phillip graduated from Illinois in 2005 with a masters in mechanical engineering and Microlution won the Cozad New Venture Competition in 2006.

“If it weren't for the University in general, Microlution wouldn't exist,” he said.

“The bottom line is networking and learning as much as you can, as fast as you can,” he said. “Don't ever tire of telling people about your idea, especially those who are critical of i.”

Understanding what is already out in your market of interest is of equal importance, he added.      

Phillip hopes to reach “top-line growth” in Microlution's future. “We have a goal of being a market leader in the technology and in the type of systems we're developing here,” he said.

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