Chadwick "Chad" Phillips poses in front of construction in a building.

The Interview: Chad Phillips

The construction project coordinator and father of nine seems too busy to ever have a kanak attack.

A multi-tasker by nature, Chadwick Phillips oversees construction on the job and as a hobby. The native Hawaiian also owns a mental health clinic and previously owned a coffee shop and a landscaping company.  

Getting into construction

In 1990 when I graduated from high school on Oahu, my father said, “Purchase boots. You start work tomorrow.” That’s exactly what he said.

I am a fifth-generation plumber by trade and am a licensed plumbing contractor in three states. I gradually moved into construction. It goes hand-in-hand. You learn from others on the job. In plumbing, I have worked on five five-star resorts in Hawaii. In construction, I have worked on roughly 100,000 homes in Nevada. For myself, I have built five homes. 

Original plans

I ranked second in the semi-pro bodyboarding competitions in Hawaii in ’88 through ’90. I wanted to become pro. My dad said, “You can’t feed a family bodyboarding.” I resisted plumbing and construction for a little while, but then loved it and wanted to know all about it. It was something I excelled at.

Moving to Las Vegas

I wanted more and had the island fever — the “rock” fever. I had two children. (He now has nine children, six girls and three boys, ages 1 to 26.) I took a leap of faith and came to where the work was booming in ’97.

At UNLV

I have worked here four years and am a construction project coordinator III. I am involved with all kinds of construction projects — remodels, renovations, and upgrades for facilities on all the UNLV properties.

Pride project

We did a campus classroom carpet upgrade last year on the main campus. It involved 10,000 square yards of new, fresh carpet to enhance the classrooms across campus. That project made so many people happy. It was a challenge for us. We took shifts overnight to make it happen, working from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day so that we would not interfere with students. We tried to be as chameleon-like as possible.

The connector

In the past year, I purchased a mental health clinic here in town and am operating it. My adult children are all in the medical field. This will help them to grow. This is a new chapter for me. I’m about helping people. My mom calls me “the connector” because I am good at connecting with people.

A show to binge watch

The last show that was incredible was Stranger Things. That was phenomenal — the intense cinematics and the way that the director/writer wrote about the Upside Down world.

Super Bowl prediction

I have never watched a football game in my entire life and would hate to try and figure that one out.

Final meal

The answer is simple — an authentic Hawaiian luau with all the raw foods overflowing each bowl. Lau lau's with prime fat and butterfish, squid luau, lomi lomi salmon, kalua pig straight from the ground, opihi, a'ama crabs, chicken long rice, haupia, and two-finger poi...mmmm. Kanak attack (the laziness that follows such a large meal) would be the goal after devouring all of that.

Favorite spot on campus

I like the Doc Rando (Recital Hall in the Beam Music Center). It’s beautiful in there. The hand-crafted organ is just incredible. It’s something people should see at least once.

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