Hoping to grow the fun and enjoyable business of wine, the Phillips family, owners of the Michael David Winery, have established two student awards for UC Davis MBA students and undergraduates in the Department of Viticulture and Enology.
Brothers Michael and David Phillips, both UC Davis alumni, and their wives, Kristy and Corene, made a generous gift of nearly $125,000 to the Graduate School of Management to create the student awards in the name of a long-time friend and business associate, Michael Fitzsimons, who passed away in December 2013.
Video: The Phillip’s Family Pays it Forward
Fitzsimons had a successful career as a marketing and business executive with several companies in a variety of industries, including E. & J. Gallo Winery. The wine industry remained a central part of his career for more than four decades. Fitzsimons served as a consultant for Michael-David Winery for many years, leading it to a strong position in the wine industry.
“Michael brought a lot of business and marketing expertise and how to run a winery to us and we want to use his name to help promote that at Davis,” said David Phillips 85, co-owner and president of the winey, which has family farming roots in the Lodi, Calif. region back to the 1850s.
– Michael Phillips 75, CEO and co-owner of the Michael David winery.
The Phillips’ gift established two awards: the Michael Fitzsimons Wine Industry Graduate Award for an MBA student planning to pursue a career in the wine industry; and the Michael Fitzsimons Wine Executive Student Award to cover registration fees for a Viticulture and Enology undergraduate student to attend the UC Davis Wine Executive Program.
Recent alumnus Daniel Turkovich MBA 14 was the first recipient of the Michael Fitzsimons Wine Industry Graduate Award. He began his wine career with Turkovich Family Wines in Winters, Calif., is founder of Winters Cheese Company, and works for Farmer’s Business Network.
“Now I’m in direct contact with the Phillips family, and have built this great relationship with them,” said Turkovich. “It is really helpful for students to have that great relationship with donors.”
UC Davis alumnus Brian Ball is the first recipient of the Michael Fitzsimons Wine Executive Student Award, and attended the 2014 UC Davis Wine Executive Program. Ball received his B.S. degree from the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program in 2013 and a B.S. degree from the College of William and Mary in 2008. He has worked for a number of wineries around the world and serves as the wine director at Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley in Yountville, Calif.
Coming to UC Davis was always part of Ball’s plan. He’s very grateful to the Phillips for the award allowing him to attend the industry’s premier executive education program. “It’s great to see people who obviously care a lot about the future and care enough to help make other people’s future better by setting up something like this. Here I am at the beginning of a new career, and it’s exciting.”
“It’s great to see people enthusiastic about the business and to know that we can, hopefully, help in a small way to encourage more people to look at the wine industry as a great, fun opportunity to be in,” said David Phillips. “What can be better than that, making people happy?
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