Ambipar Alabama’s perpetual-motion man.
Emergency Response. Waste Management & Disposal. Routine Industrial Services. Doesn’t matter the size, scope or severity of the problem. Phillip Birdsong likes to say he eats, breathes and sleeps this business. Which is a good thing, since — most days — he gets-by on about four hours of bed sleep.
“I guess I’m into punishment,” he says with a chuckle. “I’ve always enjoyed the hands-on aspect of this work. It’s something different every day, and there’s always the challenge of figuring-out a solution for every problem.” Which points to two key reasons Phillip jumped at the opportunity to join Ambipar Response: The people and the resources.
“I’ve been in this business for decades. The kind of people I’ve got working with me at Ambipar — who not only do the work, but enjoy it — are getting fewer and farther between every day. And the equipment? Nobody, in my opinion, competes with us there. But again, without the right people, a multi-purpose $200,000 Industrial Vacuum Truck is just a truck.”
“Decatur, we have liftoff.”
Phillip joined Ambipar Response in December, 2022, as the Base Operations Manager of an office that didn’t exist. With staffing and sales objectives that didn’t seem possible. “He made three critical hires his first month,” says Southern Regional VP Tony Feagins. “Shortly afterward, he secured a plant-cleaning assignment to keep them busy 45 hours a week for a solid month — with the potential for a lot more work if they do a good job.”
Based on Phillip and Ambipar’s track records over the years, Feagins admits he’s optimistic. “Phillip has already exceeded his own projections, much less mine.”
What’s his secret? There isn’t one.
“I’ve always taken my professional responsibilities very seriously,” Phillip says. “I genuinely care about the clients I serve.” Sometimes maybe a bit too much.
“It distresses me when clients I care about — and that’s pretty much all of them — hire fly-by-night outfits to save money on critical jobs.” Not because his feelings are hurt, mind you. “I just know what’s likely to happen.” So when those clients call back months later, hat in hand, asking if Phillip would help them now get the job done right, “we both know how much time and money they could’ve saved if they’d let us do it right for them in the first place. Particularly when the outcome’s bad enough that they have regulators breathing down their necks.”
Focusing on the needs
”There are so many manufacturers in the region. In my opinion, this market has been historically underserved. Particularly by companies, like Ambipar, who can do everything. With our equipment and professional know-how, we can vacuum-clean entire facilities — and properly dispose of their waste.
“At the same time, there are plenty of opportunities to support companies needing immediate help for unexpected events — like hazardous-material spills. Oil and fuel spills happen in plants all the time, and we’d like to be the go-to choice for companies who want jobs done fast and right.”
“Honey, I’m home.”
Phillip’s career has taken him and his wife Sandy to several states over the years, including Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, but they’ve developed a particular liking for Alabama. “We like the people of Alabama. For me, there’s a lot of great fishing here. And for both of us, we’re perfectly located for vacation and weekend travel to a lot of good places: Memphis. Nashville. The beach.”
Places where, truth be told, Phillip actually doesn’t eat, breathe and sleep business.