deer2b                                                                                                                                                                                                       Photo by: Phil Whitesell

Change is not always easy. In fact, it rarely is. I have to admit that change can be good in the long-run, but I guess our human nature craves the security of the known versus the unknown.


On one hand I am excited for the future for Phil Whitesell, but on the other I am nervous at the possible loss of a working relationship that has spanned over 35 years.

I met Phil in 1980 after my wife, Barbara had given birth to our first child and had decided she would stay home to raise our daughter. Phil became the public relations director at Mercy Hospital after a successful career at the Charlotte News. Phil was immediately embraced by the sisters and began his new career at the beginning of tremendous growth in healthcare services.

CLK_0077I was fortunate to become one of Phil’s early suppliers and to continue the work I had begun at Mercy. At that period in my career, I was a regular supplier of photography and other photo-processing services to the three major hospitals in Charlotte. Phil and I had a great working relationship and I was very appreciative of Phil’s trust in my abilities to provide his photo needs. During his five years at Mercy where he became Vice President of Marketing, Phil kept me very busy processing his own images, as well as keeping me hopping with photography assignments.

Phil moved from Mercy to become a partner with Barron & Whitesell, a public relations firm. After 12 years of managing P.R., Phil accepted a position with Rowan Regional Medical Center as Director of Corporate Communications.

_CLK7600With each career move, when photography was needed, Phil would call. Rowan would become one of my biggest accounts. Photographic assignments were as diverse as the hospital’s services, including photography for the Rowan Regional magazine that became one of their most successful vehicles for promoting the hospital.

This year, Phil and I worked together to archive some of  Carolinas Healthcare’s history for their 75th anniversary. It has been a large project and I enjoyed working closely with him again.

Through the years, Phil and I became great friends as we worked together. It was a camaraderie. I always felt like we were on a team. It was like being on a battlefield together, knowing that we could depend on each other to get the job done.


Did Phil use other photographers? I’m sure he did. But I always felt that when the job was right for me, Phil would call. It is partly the loyalty Phil has to vendors and suppliers he trusts. It is also the consistency Phil requires of himself and those around him. His professionalism is always evident. Has anyone ever seen Phil wearing something other than a starched white shirt? He prefers the “tried and true” and likes to work with those who have been to the dance with him before.

I am grateful that I have been one of those that Phil danced with. Regardless of what the future holds for this outstanding communicator and marketing professional, I will always count him my friend. And when that phone rings, I will be ready to assist Phil with any photo need.

All photos: copyright Jim Lockman/Click!

2 thoughts on “Tried and True

  1. Good article Jim. Hadn’t heard Phil’s name mentioned in a very long time. Not since East Mecklenburg days with his children.

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