SMC security officer a former CEO

Published 9:42 am Monday, October 5, 2020

DOWAGIAC — Philip Krempely was assigned to Southwestern Michigan College’s Dowagiac campus in July by Grand Rapids-based DK Security.

The former CEO, who ran companies from his mid-30s until his mid-60s, lists career highlights that include entertaining the King of Sweden in 1988; participating through an association with Rockwell Industries in the U.S. Space Shuttle Program, through which he met Chuck Yeager, the first person to break the sound barrier in October 1947; and serving 12 years with the U.S. Olympic Committee, working closely with Vice President Walter Mondale, who opened the 1980 Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York.

Krempely moved to Stevensville last summer from Libertyville, Illinois, so his wife could help their daughter raise newborn twins during her medical residency in Niles and St. Joseph. The Krempely’s three children are all in their 30s. Phil met Nancy, who taught English, Spanish and Latin, in 1976 after a transfer from Chicago to Detroit.

Twins run in the family. Krempely grew up sixth of 17 children — nine sisters and seven brothers eating in shifts — on an Illinois dairy farm with three sets of twins among his siblings. A brother also fathered twins.

Following his military service as a Vietnam combat Marine platoon sergeant, earning three Meritorious Mast Citations for Excellence from 1968-1971, Krempely obtained an associate degree in business administration and management from Kishwaukee College in Illinois. He rose to vice president and general manager for Carlson Marketing Group’s billion-dollar promotional division, where he served from 1975-92 in Minneapolis.

He was selected from Carlson’s 72,000 employees for executive strategic training which led to a degree in 1992 from the University of Minnesota. He also has qualifications as a licensed insurance agent and a financial advisor.

From 2000-2016, Krempely founded, chaired the board of directors and served as president and chief executive officer of the Cary Francis Group Inc., named in tribute to his sister killed at 19 by a drunk driver. It grew to $21 million annual revenue and 70 employees.

During 2003-2016, he similarly guided Yellow Rose Enterprises, a real estate holding and investment company involved in property acquisition, development and management. As a private residential and commercial builder between 1978 and 2008 he was responsible for 75 residences and five commercial buildings.

The Wall Street Journal on the seat beside him as he patrols the SMC campus connects the former CEO to his new career in security work, which started with Andrews International and Allied Universal in St. Joseph from May 2018-November 2019.

“Being a security guard and communicating with people is no different than being a CEO and communicating with employees,” Krempely said. “Thank goodness the campus is pretty peaceful because that’s what I wanted. Being a CEO for so long, your adrenaline runs big time. Our business was with Fortune 500 companies” such as IBM, Pepsi, John Deere, Tenneco, Goodyear, Zenith, Acura, Nissan and Bell South.

“The competition was very high and expectations were very high,” he said. “I had a heart operation in 2009 which was symptomatic of that pressure. The hardest part (of leaving the business world) was missing the energy and engagement of running something of significance, including putting on presentations for thousands of people. I always loved the excitement of seeing it all come together.”

Now, “95 percent of my job is to be a visible deterrent and friendly,” said Krempely, who starts his mornings by the Head Start center as preschoolers arrive. “I check all the buildings a couple of times throughout the day and go to the parking lots during rushes” when students arrive, depart and change classes.

“I’m here to observe,” he said. “If I see something, I say something to Lyndon” Parrish, director of security and conduct. “And I help people who come on campus by giving directions. There’s a charger in the car if a student’s battery is dead. I hope I deter questionable behavior by being somebody they feel comfortable with. I’m kind of an unofficial ambassador, as any staff member should be.”