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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 22, 2016 6 years ago

From struggle to success

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There was a time when Brandon Phillips had so little money he had to choose between filling his car with gasoline to visit a prospective client or buying food for dinner.

There was a time when Brandon Phillips had so little money he had to choose between filling his car with gasoline to visit a prospective client or buying food for dinner.

He picked the gas.

Phillips, founder of Fort Myers-based Global HR Research, which provides employee background screening for businesses, including Fortune 500 companies, sold his company last year for $42 million to Patriot National. Phillips recounted the struggle to build the company during a recent Founder's Talk organized by Tamiami Angel Funds in Naples.

Speaking to the group of investors and entrepreneurs, Phillips talked about his humble origins as the child of a single mother. Through perseverance and determination, Phillips started and grew Global HR from a tiny startup in a 150-square-foot office. He remains president and CEO.

Global HR's first customer was developer Bonita Bay Group, and soon the company landed contracts with bigger clients, including hospital giant Health Management Associates. “It was enough to keep the doors open,” Phillips says.

To grow the company, Phillips sold a majority stake to Austin Shanfelter, former CEO and president of Miami contracting giant Mas-Tec. The move echoed a theme throughout the presentation: “I couldn't have done it on my own,” says Phillips.

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