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Meet Phil Blair of Manpower San Diego in Downtown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Phil Blair.

Phil, please share your story with us.
Mel and I were both transferred to Phoenix, him from Las Vegas and me from Tulsa, Oklahoma to join the Dayton Hudson Executive Management Program… we were both assigned to the Ready to Wear Division as Assistant Buyers because they wanted abstract buying decisions… men are much less emotional about buying for women’s departments.

We both were quickly promoted and became Buyers. To save per diem money when we traveled to New York City on buying trips every six weeks we shared hotel rooms so we had more money for fun trips. After five years it got old and we wanted to move to San Diego. After researching all sorts of ideas we settled on buying a very small Manpower branch operation that was doing $9,000 a week in sales. Now 40 years later, and adding the Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Spokane and Temecula markets the sales will be $125 million in 2018..In addition to the 3,800 Manpower temporaries out working every day we have added permanent placement, training, outplacement and career coaching to our services list.

And after 40 years we still love the business and wake up every morning anxious to go to work.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
By our definition, it has been a very smooth road…neither of us are worriers or get stressed out… our ongoing joke is “we care, but not that much” to get upset or stressed…and “it always works out.” Our cups are running over, not just half full and never half empty.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Manpower San Diego story. Tell us more about the business.
Manpower provides quality employment opportunities, training, and workforce solutions. It has become San Diego’s fourth-largest local for-profit employer, providing approximately 2,500 jobs daily through its six countywide branches. As a locally owned and operated company, we’re delighted to support our communities with employment opportunities; providing individuals not only jobs, but also opportunities for skills training and assessment, and offering companies innovative workforce solutions in staffing, including temporary, temporary-to-permanent, permanent placement, payroll, and HR consulting services.

Whether you are a job seeker looking for a new and challenging career opportunity, or a company seeking customized human resources solutions, you can rely on Manpower!

Where We Stand in the World of Work.
Contemporary working is about what’s now and what’s next in the world of work. Manpower offers insights and advice that enable clients and candidates to make informed choices today and tomorrow. We not only support building strong and high producing organizational cultures for our clients, we also build them internally. We strongly believe when a team works together towards a common mission and is engaged in not only their individual role but that of the organization as a whole – that we can make great things happen. It is this commitment to the work that we do that drives results for businesses and candidates.

Our Vision
No matter where we are or what we do, there are fundamental beliefs and behaviors that guide our decisions, focus our actions and unite us as a company. ManpowerGroup’s vision and values serve to inspire how we interact, create and deliver on our promise to clients, job seekers and ourselves.

Our Values
We care about people and the role of work in their lives. We respect people as individuals, trusting them, enabling them to achieve their aims in work and in life. We help people develop their careers through planning, work, coaching, and training. We recognize everyone’s contribution to our success – our staff, our clients, and our candidates. We encourage and reward achievement.

We share our knowledge, our expertise, and our resources so that everyone understands what is important now and what is happening next in the world of work – and knows how to respond. We actively listen and act upon this information to improve our relationships, solutions, and services. Based on our understanding of the world of work, we actively pursue the development and adoption of the best practices worldwide.

We lead in the world of work. We dare to innovate, to pioneer and to evolve. We never accept the status quo. We constantly challenge the norm to find new and better ways of doing things. We thrive on our entrepreneurial spirit and speed of response – taking risks, knowing that we will not always succeed, but never exposing our clients to risk.

The very nature of what we do – connecting people to tools, opportunities, and training that enable them to find
meaningful employment, support themselves and their families, and help build more sustainable communities – puts social responsibility at Manpower’s core. Our commitment to producing a positive impact on individuals and societies is also an extension of our values:

• Respect for individuals and communities and the important role work plays in people’s lives
• Sharing our knowledge and expertise to develop sustainable workforce practices
• Seeking innovative ways to develop socially inclusive work environments for the long term.

Our social responsibility principles and practices advance our focus on the world of work: We serve as a bridge to employment for all – linking the disadvantaged and disenfranchised to opportunities that help them survive and thrive. But it goes even further. As part of ManpowerGroup, we also strive to operate at the highest level of integrity and to be an effective and imaginative agent of change – even in the smallest communities.

Workforce Diversity
Since our inception in 1977, Manpower has been on the forefront of promoting workforce diversity in businesses. We take great pride in furthering the potential of individuals of diverse cultures, talents, and experience. We always consider what people can do, versus what they can’t do. And we make every effort to provide opportunities for anyone who is seeking the rewards and dignity of work.

Manpower is committed to providing equal employment opportunities in a professional, high-quality work environment.

Workforce Development
With a skills gap ever present in the workforce there are people who want to work – with many diverse backgrounds – but face challenges in finding gainful employment. There are employers who want to hire while increasing diversity, but can’t seem to find the skill sets they need. That’s where Manpower shines. We work directly with our associates to understand their transferable skills and connect them with employers that can benefit. Additionally, our candidates have unlimited access to powerYOU, where they are able to learn new skills for free, so employers will have access to trained, motivated workers who can step in immediately and contribute.

Community Involvement
Employers. Workers. Two cornerstones of any community. Manpower brings them together for their mutual benefit. That’s why we’re naturally committed to making our communities more sustainable places to live, work and do business. We encourage our staff to be active in their communities not only in a professional but a personal capacity. We are proud supporters of organizations that enrich the lives of people in our community.

Manpower Innovation Floor at San Diego’s New Central Library
Manpower Education Center with 2-1-1

Sitting on the boards for:
San Diego Foundation
Regional Chamber of Commerce
Urban League San Diego County
American Red Cross
Serving Seniors


2018 Corporate Champion Award

The Women’s Museum of CA is hosting the 2nd Annual Women in Leadership Awards event supporting the museum, which will be honoring the brave women behind the #MeToo and #WeSaidEnough movements and will have lots of regional elected and community leaders attending.

Senate President Pro Tem-designee Toni Atkins will be presenting the award to Adama Iwu, one of the 2017 TIME Magazine Silence Breakers. She was one of the 140 women who signed the #WeSaidEnough letter calling for a change in culture here in California politics.

United States Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters are chairing the honorary committee comprised of prominent elected officials from across the state of California.

Manpower is very happy to accept the Corporate Champion Award! We strive to always continue to be champions for equality in all aspects, so this is a great honor!

Women Leadership Awards Event Details

ManpowerGroup Named “Best Company to Work for Women”

“Creating an inclusive environment where women want to work is about more than just policies and percentages,” said Becky Frankiewicz, ManpowerGroup North America President. “At ManpowerGroup, we have long been a promoter of inclusion and gender parity in the workplace, so it is a great honor to receive this Women’s Choice Award recognition. Organizations that are serious about getting more women into leadership roles and including half the talent in the workforce must go beyond programs and change culture. Change starts from the top and must be championed by male, as well as female leaders. While leaders need to create systemic change, we can all start by doing something different today.”

ManpowerGroup’s report, Seven Steps to Conscious Inclusion: A Practical Guide to Accelerating More Women into Leadership provides practical steps to accelerate organizations to achieve conscious inclusion and close the gender gap.

“Action has never been more important than now and we take great pride in offering women an objective and uninformed reporting process so they can choose where to work with greater confidence,” said Delia Passi, CEO, and Founder of the Women’s Choice Award. “We recognize that gender discrepancies are very real in the workplace, and knowing we can help women to choose an organization that supports her values is core to our mission. It’s an honor to recognize ManpowerGroup as a company that works toward empowering their female employees.”

The Women’s Choice Award for Best Companies to Work For is the only award that reflects the needs and preferences of women based on publicly available data, which aligns with an employee and consumer appreciation for corporate transparency. Data was compiled from a variety of publicly available sources and then weighed accordingly for each of the three categories.

2018 World’s Most Ethical Company & 2018 World’s Most Admired Companies

ManpowerGroup has been recognized for the 8th consecutive year as a World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. ManpowerGroup has also been named one of Fortune Magazine’s 2018 World’s Most Admired Companies for the 15th year in a row, ranking second for the most admired company in the diversified outsourcing services industry.

“Our 70-year legacy of providing meaningful and sustainable employment is built on the belief that running a good business also means contributing to society. Ethics run throughout our organization at ManpowerGroup and every person plays a role in keeping our ethical compass firmly in place. These recognitions are a testament to our people and our values that are embraced by our employees across the globe, who provide tremendous value to our clients while helping millions of people develop skills so they can access opportunity and meaningful employment.”
– Jonas Prising, Chairman & CEO, ManpowerGroup.

Tillie’s Trotters

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k for breast cancer is an event that Manpower participates in every year. We encourage and sponsor all of our employees, and their family members or friends, to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event, inviting them to join our team called Tillie’s Trotters, which raises money and awareness for breast cancer, while celebrating the survivorship of one of our very own Manpower family members. Keep your eye out here for the 2017 date to join us in raising money for the cure!

San Diego Manufacturing Day

San Diego Manufacturing Day takes place each year in October.

We are so proud to participate in this wonderful event that highlights San Diego’s amazing manufacturing companies & products.

San Diego Rotary Club Mr. & Mrs. San Diego 2017 Award

Mel and Linda Katz have been honored to be awarded the titles of Mr. & Mrs. San Diego 2017 by the San Diego Rotary Club, an award recognized not by one or two accomplishments, but based on their community involvement over a long period of time. Mel and Linda are both advocates of their community and are humbled to receive such recognition for their dedication. Join us in congratulating them on such a wonderful honor.

Phil Blair, a Del Mar resident, is one of San Diego’s most visible and respected business leaders. Since 1977, he along with partner Mel Katz, have built Manpower San Diego into the largest Manpower franchise in the United States with annual revenues exceeding $100 million.

Manpower provides quality employment opportunities, training, and workforce solutions. It has become San Diego’s fourth-largest local for-profit employer, providing approximately 2,500 jobs daily through its six countywide branches.

Blair’s book, Job Won!, serves as a guide to acquire and refine the tools you need to find a job and develop a career you are passionate about.

An often-quoted employment industry expert, he appears frequently in local business publications, on television and radio. Blair is a long-time employment commentator, a professional speaker on employment and workforce transition issues and is the author of Strategies for Success, a career resource guide.

As an active member of the San Diego community, Blair currently serves on the board of directors for several regional organizations including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Benefits Corporation; LEAD San Diego; the United Way, and Board Chair of the San Diego Convention Center Board. He is also a member of San Diego Rotary Club 33.

Previously, Blair was on the board of directors for the American Red Cross – San Diego/Imperial Counties, the Centre City Development Corporation, and the Holiday Bowl.

He also served as Fifth District Councilmember of the San Diego City Council and was commissioner for four years to the Fair Political Practice Commission in Sacramento, Calif.

 Born 1949 in Great Bend, Kansas

 1971 – Oklahoma State University earned Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration

 Married to Catherine Blair since 1971, has two sons Trevor and Peter

 1977 – Co-Owner of Manpower San Diego, Riverside, New Mexico, Spokane franchise

One of San Diego’s most visible and respected business Leaders

Current Leadership Positions in Community, Civic and Professional Organizations:

San Diego Convention Center Board, Chair

LEAD San Diego Executive Board Member

San Diego Rotary, Member since 1980

Connect Board Member

The United Way Executive Committee, Past Chair

Herb Klein Forum Founder

Manpower Insurance Company, Board Member

The Lincoln Club of San Diego Member, Past Board Member

World War Two Marauders Association Board

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Board and Management Committee

Past Leadership Positions in Community, Civic and Professional Organizations:

San Diego City Council, 5th District Councilmember

 San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Chair – 2008

 Manpower Franchise Owners Association, Chair

 NTC Foundation for Arts and Culture, Past Chair, and Board Member

 Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC), Commissioner – four years

 Planned Parenthood, Chair

 San Diego Workforce Partnership, Chair

 Centre City Development Corporation, Chair

 San Diego Red Cross, Board Member

 ConVis Board and Executive Committee Member

 Council on Literacy Advisory Committee, Board Member

 Angels Foster Care Advisory Committee, Board Member

 SDSU College Advisory Board

 San Diego Symphony, Board Member

 Holiday Bowl Board Member

Notable Contributions and Awards:

Phil Blair Day in San Diego – Contributions to Our City – 2008

Director of the Year Corporate Citizenship – Corporate Directors Forum – 2007

“50 People to Watch” – San Diego Magazine – 2007

Most Admired CEO – San Diego Business Journal – 2007

Best Places to Work – San Diego Employers Group – 2006

Civic Tribute Award – Copley YMCA – 2005

Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation – Association of Fundraising Professionals – 2005

Best Places to Work – San Diego Employers Group – 2005

Most Admired Company – San Diego Magazine – 2004, 2003

Urban League Diversity Award – San Diego County Urban League – 2004

Business Hall of Fame – Junior Achievement – 2002

Torch Award Market Place Ethics – Better Business Bureau – 1998

Manpower-Sponsored Board Rooms:

Urban League

Red Cross

United Way

High Tech High

NTC-Liberty Station

Senior Community Centers

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

For additional information about Phil Blair, please click on:

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
The harder we work (because we love the business and working together) the luckier we get. Me and I are very different and we come to issues from different directions… and the best is usually somewhere in the middle. We have divided our businesses up and they report to either Mel or me. Whoever is in charge has final say, but we collaborate a lot, knowing we each hold veto rights, which are very, very rarely used.

Lots of fun, kidding and laughing around here!

Contact Info:

  • Address: Manpower San Diego
    1855 First Avenue, Suite 101
    San Diego, CA 92101
  • Website:
  • Phone: (619) 241-4300
  • Email:
  • Facebook: @ManpowerSD
  • Twitter: @PhilManpowerSD

Image Credit:

Melissa Jacobs, JDIXX Photography

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


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