Phil graduated from Birmingham University in 1974 with an honours degree in Metallurgy and then joined British Steel at Swinden Laboratories in the Physical Metallurgy department. After several years he moved to the Engineering Metallurgy department combining metallurgical skills with fatigue, fracture mechanics and welding. Phil predominantly worked on the development of steels for the then thriving offshore and construction industries. He gained several years experience leading large projects both within British Steel and in multi-partner projects across Europe. In 1997 Phil became Manager of the Metallurgical Applications department which covered steel development across all product portfolios. In latter years after the merger, firstly being Corus and latterly Tata Steel, he became Manager of the Steel Metallurgy department which covered product development both in the UK and in Holland.