Born on September 23, 1959, in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, the son of Samuel and Faye Simmons. In 1962, the family moved to Hendersonville where he was educated in the Sumner County public school system. He attended Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin where he received an Associate Degree in Pre-Engineering in 1979, Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville where he received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1981, and The University of Tennessee at Knoxville where he received a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering in 1986. He began working for the Tennessee Department of Health, Division of Water Pollution Control in 1981. He left the state workforce in 1991 and worked for several engineering/environmental firms from 1991 until 1999. In 1999, he returned to the state workforce with the Tennessee Department of Environment and conservation, Division of Water Pollution Control. He has served as manager of the Municipal Facilities Section of the Division of Water Pollution Control since 2002. Phil is licensed to practice engineering in Tennessee.
Phil is a member of Eulia General Baptist church in Westmoreland, Tennessee where he serves as a deacon and Sunday school teacher. Phil is also the clerk of the Mount Union Association of General Baptists.
Phil was raised a Master Mason in Trammel Lodge No. 436 Free and Accepted Masons on May 11, 1982. He served as Worshipful Master in 1987 and 1988. He served as secretary from 1989 through 1992, 1999 through 2004, and from 2006 until the present. He served the Grand Lodge in the position of County Chairman during the period of 2005-2006. Phil is the Grand Representative for the Grand Lodge of Columbia near the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.
Phil was exalted in Jere Baxter Chapter No. 197 Royal Arch Masons on July 26, 1986. He
later transferred to Cumberland Chapter No. 1 Royal Arch Masons where he served as Excellent High Priest in 1990. He received the order of High Priesthood on March 26, 1990. He is a dual member of John T. Harbison Chapter No. 240 Royal Arch Masons. He served as District Deputy Grand High Priest for District No. 6 from 2002 through 2006. Phil is the Grand Representative for the Grand Chapter of Nova Scotia near the Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of Tennessee.
Phil was greeted in Nashville Council No. 1 Cryptic Masons on August 30, 1986. He served as Illustrious Master in 1993. He received the Order of the Silver Trowel on March 22, 1993. He has served Nashville Council as recorder since 2006. Phil is the Grand Representative for the Grand Council of Iowa near the Grand Council Cryptic Masons of Tennessee.
Phil was knighted in Nashville Commandery No. 1 Knights Templar on September 27, 1986. He served as Eminent Commander in 1993 and 2005. He received the Knights Crusader of the Cross on April 23, 1993. He has served Nashville Commandery as recorder since 2006. He served as Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Tennessee during 2006-2007. Phil is the Grand Representative for the Grand Commandery of Nebraska near the Grand Commandery of Tennessee.
Phil was elected to membership in Tennessee Priory No. 15 Knights York Cross of Honor on March 22, 1994.
Phil is a member of Middle Tennessee York Rite College No. 143 and is presently serving as an officer in that organization. He received the Order of the Purple Cross on July 28, 2007.
Phil is a member of the Middle Tennessee York Rite Association and served as President
Phil is a member of the Nashville Scottish Rite Bodies and Al Menah Shrine. He is also a
member of Tennessee College Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis; Tralee Council No. 41 Knight Masons; Lafayette Chapter No. 379, Order of the Eastern Star; Tennessee Lodge of Research; Old Hickory Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine; Parthenon Court No. 9, Order of the Amaranth; Nashville Shrine No.2, White Shrine of Jerusalem; Tennessee Forest No. 195, Tall Cedars of Lebanon; Arch E. McClanahan Council No. 358, Allied Masonic Degrees; and the East Tennessee Past Masters Association.
Phil was elected Grand Captain of the Guard of the Grand Council on March 19, 2007, and
advanced each year being elected Most Illustrious Grand Master on March 22, 2010.