Name: Phillip Harmon Campbell
Residence: Birmingham, Alabama
Profession: Software engineer
Favorite hobbies or pastimes? Why do you enjoy them? Cycling, photography, pottery, drumming, too many hobbies to get really good at any of them, but I enjoy them all too much to concentrate on a single one. I guess I have been riding bikes since I was 7 years old, and enjoy the freedom and simplicity of travelling on your own power. I got into photography and pottery in college, mainly as a way to hang out more with my girlfriend and soon to be wife. I took so many art classes I ended up with an art minor!
When did you first hear about the town of Phil Campbell, Alabama? My dad told me about it when I was in kindergarten.
Were you able to attend the Phil Campbell Hoedown of June 2011? Yes
What did you think of the experience? The hoedown of 2011 is an event that I will never forget. The experience for my wife and me started when we came to Phil Campbell after the storm to help clean up the future site of the festivities, and seeing how well things came together, how far the town had changed in just a couple of months was impressive. Once the big day came, meeting all the other Phils for the first time; that was living in a special time in history. The great distances that once separated us geographically, the different backgrounds and cultures we all came from to be together in that one place at that time melted away as we got to know each other. We were all there for the same reason, and immediately had something in common, besides our names. We were there for the town, and because of the town, and also because of who we were. Despite the similarities we shared, I think we all left there as changed people.
You are a Phil Campbell. What do you think of that name? Funnily enough, I went by Phillip my whole life, but since the summer of 2011, I tend to use Phil more often than not. I was named after my father, who was always called Phil, so I am especially fond and proud of the name. Being named after someone, life carries a bit of extra weight, forever reminding you that you are part of something bigger and giving you an immediate benchmark to live up to. With all these other Phils, it’s nice to know that whatever may come, I am not alone.
Tell us a little about yourself, as many words as you would like. Wow, this is hard. I don’t usually write about myself, but when I do,I get my wife to do it for me. I grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, kind of on the outskirts of town. I was by far the youngest of four kids and spent a lot of time running around in the woods on my own, which worked out well for my super-introverted personality. I read a lot, thought a lot, got away with some dangerous stuff…all the regular fare for a kid growing up through the 1970s.
I went through the public schools, graduating from George Washington Carver High School in 1987. My high school career included such high points as playing on the tennis team, kicking for the football team (in practice only, never even dressed out, but got out of health class for months!), serving as student council chaplain which entailed praying aloud over the PA at home games, and playing the cymbals in the marching band. I met my wife here during our senior year. We both attended Huntingdon College, where after an unpleasant beginning as an English major, I settled on the then fledgling computer science program and graduated in 1991. I married my wife in October of 1991 and began working in the field of IT while pursuing a Master’s degree. We moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 1995, thus the name “Birmingham Phil.”
We currently live with our Doberman/Black and Tan Hound mix named Tom Gilligan Jenkins. He is the most recent in a long line of dogs in my life. I can’t imagine my life without a puppy or two in the house. In my spare time, I still read a lot, still think a lot, but don’t do so much dangerous stuff these days, unless you count working too much and spending too little time outdoors.
Knowing the Phils has been a true highlight in my life thus far and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved in this incredible encounter!