A Half-Century Milestone

Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc. celebrates 50 years of business this month.

LeRoy & Pat Hagenbuch, Danette & Josh Swank
LeRoy & Pat Hagenbuch, Danette & Josh Swank

Peoria-based Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc. (or PHIL, as they’re known in the industry) will celebrate 50 years of business this November. Founded by L.B. “Phil” Philippi and his son-in-law LeRoy Hagenbuch in 1969, the specialty manufacturer provides custom-engineered solutions for off-highway trucks in the quarry and mining industries. Their first product, the Autogate Tailgate, was the world’s first commercially available tailgate for off-highway trucks.

“From our humble beginnings in the basement of our founder’s home to the present… we’re proud to be known for our engineering and innovation,” notes Josh Swank, vice president of sales and marketing. The firm holds more than 100 unique patents—both domestic and foreign—encompassing tailgate design, truck bodies and water tanks, as well as safety enhancements and high-tech inventions such as body weighing systems, black-box data recording and remote-asset location monitoring. PHIL employs 40 people and remains family-owned and operated, with Hagenbuch still active as chief engineer while his daughter Danette Swank leads the company as president.

Though based in Peoria, PHIL is engaged with partners around the world. “We like to say that we have a ‘small footprint with a wide reach,’” adds Josh Swank. “A chunk of our equipment can be fully manufactured at our facility in Peoria and shipped out. If it is larger than 16 feet in width, we engineer and fabricate those products in multiple assemblies… ship them to a partner site near the end user, and work with that team to complete final assembly.” PHIL has held anniversary celebrations throughout the year at various industry events and plans to continue innovating into its fifth decade… and beyond. philsystems.com PM