ILS3 and Discover.Travel Group Managing Partner Robert Phillips is Thunderbird Entrepreneur of the Year 2010
ILS3 and Discover.Travel Group Managing Partner Robert Phillips is
Thunderbird Entrepreneur of the Year 2010
Thunderbird School of Global Management awards Alumni for
Travel, Internet Marketing and Consulting Company in Brazil
Salvador, Bahia, Brazil – June 23,
2010 The Thunderbird School of
Global Management closely observes
international business trends and
latest developments, and based on
global research elects one Alumni
each year as “Thunderbird
Entrepreneur of the Year”. This year,
Robert Phillips has been honored
with the award for his
entrepreneurial spirit and initiative in
founding Intelligent Leisure Solutions
and the Discover.Travel Group, a
Group that today is composed of five
companies, that create, implement
and manage innovative solutions
merging technology, travel,
sustainable tourism and real estate, being based in Brazil and acting globally.
The Thunderbird School writes about the 2010 Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year:
“Entrepreneur Robert Phillips ’94 assumed he would stand out as a globetrotter when he arrived at
Thunderbird as a Presidential Scholar with experience in South America, the Middle East and the United
States. Instead, he met classmates who spoke more languages than him and had ties to more countries.
“Thunderbird gave me exposure to people who were truly international,” he said.
Robert, the 2010 Thunderbird Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year, said many of these classmates have
remained his friends over the years.
The network has been a support to Robert during his launch of Intelligent Leisure Solutions, a group of
five Brazilian companies focused on Internet solutions for luxury travel, tourism development and real
“Seriously, I must have 300 friends from Thunderbird,” said Robert, a U.S. citizen who lives with his wife
and children in Brazil. “It would be hard to find any other place in the world besides Thunderbird where
you will meet so many diverse cultures and people.”
Robert said his family background helps him appreciate diversity and see opportunities to create value
through global trade.
He was born in Bolivia to a U.S. father and Bolivian mother. His grandfather and other relatives are from
Spain, and his wife is from Brazil.
Robert grew up speaking Spanish, English and Portuguese in different parts of South America while his
father worked in the oil and gas industry. Today he thinks and dreams in the language of his host
country, which alternates as he travels.
“That is a trait of T-birds,” he said. “We adapt to wherever we are.”
Robert earned degrees in electrical engineering and space power from Auburn University in Alabama,
which led to an oil exploration job in Kuwait. His entrepreneurial spirit created a desire for an MBA, and
he eventually found his way to Thunderbird.
The idea for a Web-based travel company emerged in 2003, when Robert worked for construction,
chemical and petrochemical giant Odebrecht in Brazil. The company had studied possible expansion into
Latin American tourism but eventually decided against the idea.
Robert recognized a missed opportunity, so he quit his full-time position at Odebrecht and launched
DiscoverBrazil.com, an online travel site that evolved into Intelligent Leisure Solutions.
The startup company focused its resources on Internet marketing and quickly jumped ahead of
competitors on search engine sites such as Google and Yahoo. That led to requests for online marketing
help from companies in other industries, and Robert launched Intelligent Web Solutions in 2007 to meet
Three more companies followed, each one building on the previous and creating strategic advantages
through the spillover effects.
Lack of ideas for new ventures has never been a problem for Robert, who rewards his employees with
50 percent ownership of any innovation they develop. His employees call him the “seed planter.”
Robert’s motto, “Adapt, Improvise, Overcome,” comes from a Clint Eastwood movie. Another favorite
motto, “Stay hungry, stay foolish,” comes from Steve Jobs.
In the immediate future, Robert said the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil will
create ample consulting and business opportunities. “The world’s eyes are on Brazil,” he said.
Robert is Thunderbird’s second Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year, an award from Thunderbird’s Walker
Center for Global Entrepreneurship. Judges include Walker Center faculty and advisory board members.
Trevor Stansbury ’92, president of Supply Dynamics in Loveland, Ohio, won the award in 2009.”
(Source: http://knowledgenetwork.thunderbird.edu/alumni/2010/06/22/phillips )
For further information on Robert Phillips and Intelligent Leisure Solutions, please visit the company’s
For further information on ILS3 and the Discover.Travel Group’s personalized Travel Services, Brazil and
South and Central American travel destinations, hotels, luxury travel packages and contact with a
specialized travel consultant please visit the Discover.Travel Group’s websites
http://www.Discover.Travel, http://www.DiscoverBrazil.com, http://www.DiscoverSouthAmerica.Travel
For further information on Intelligent Leisure Solutions’ Internet Marketing Services, please visit
Intelligent Web Solutions’ Website http://www.intelligentwebsolutions.com.
Recent accomplishments by Intelligent Leisure Solutions and the Discover.Travel Group:
• 2008 Ulysses Award for Innovation in Tourism Enterprises from the UNWTO (United Nations World
• World Travel Award 2009 for South America’s Leading Travel Management Company,
• World Travel Award 2009 for South America’s Leading Travel Agency,
• World Travel Award 2010 Nominee for World’s Leading Travel Management Company,
• World Travel Award 2010 Nominee for World’s Leading Travel Agency,
• Managing Partner Robert Phillips was elected ASTA Chapter President for Brazil.
• Selected by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism as an Affiliate Member of the United Nations World
• Authenticated by the Tralliance Corporation and the .Travel Registry.