Ronald L. Phillips
Founder and former president and CEO of Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
Ronald L. Phillips helped create Coastal Enterprises, Inc., a community-based development and financial organization in 1977 to support ventures that benefit people and regions at the margins of society. For CEI’s first major investment project in 1979, Phillips secured $300,000 as part of the financing to rebuild, modernize, and expand the community- and fisherman-owned Boothbay Region Fish and Cold Storage plant after a fire. The organization, including its subsidiaries, now employs over 80 people. As of the start of 2016, it has provided $1.19 billion in loans and investments to 2,555 businesses, created or retained over 33,000 full-time jobs, and created or preserved 1,882 units of affordable housing, and over 5,500 child care slots. Last year CEI consolidated its Portland and Wiscasset offices into newly built, pending LEED Platinum $5 million headquarters in downtown Brunswick. This summer Phillips, after leading the organization for over 38 years, stepped down as president and CEO. He says one of his proudest accomplishments is the coalition of employees, board members, and investors from the public and private sectors who carry out CEI’s work to secure triple-bottom-line returns on investment: economy, equity, and ecology. “We are part of an international field of development that addresses both the safety of the environment and the planet, and also, the sharing and distribution of ownership and prosperity for low-income individuals, children, and families,” he says.