Reflecting on your legacy
Back in the day, and we mean way back in the day, Phil Pangrazio wrote a column for the ABIL monthly newsletter. It’s likely he approved a quarterly magazine simply to cut the writing down for himself.
And so as he departs, we thought it fitting to truly get him used to retirement by letting him off the hook. No doubt we’ll be inviting him back to reflect on the occasional story but for this special edition we reached out to some of those in our community who know him best to add some final thoughts.
Good luck, Phil. Thanks for making Ability360 such a great place.
Andrew Reilly, Ability360 Board Chairman:
“I’m a lawyer, so [in my mind], the legacy that someone leaves is kind of what they leave behind for other people. That’s probably the biggest part of Phil’s legacy that I see, the tremendous growth that’s occurred at Ability360. The fantastic people that he’s hired to help lead, it’s just such a great group of people, and I think that’s a very big reflection on him as a person. The organization is in an incredible state. It’s very secure financially. It continues to grow, and serve so many consumers. And it’s just this wonderful organization with wonderful people.
“I’ve been around a lot of organizations, and very rarely, if ever, have I seen a group of people that are so great at what they do and so passionate about what they do. And that’s not just the VPs we have now, but the VPs we had before. They’re a reflection of Phil, otherwise, you wouldn’t have seen that great continuity and growth we’ve had as an organization.”
Mark Cundall, ABIL Board Member 1981-1991:
“I was on the selection committee when we selected Phil. Well, I think he was the right guy at the right time. He had the financial background, and experience through Maricopa County Hospital. We had been smaller [and] successful but we were ready to take that next big step and Phil had the right skillset to take it forward.”
“Taking the organization to that next huge leap, that was really a very huge undertaking. It was back under Bob Michaels that he talked about developing a campus and doing the kinds of things that Phil was there to bring into reality. So it was a fulfillment of a vision I think, and the dedication to stay there, be there long enough to see that success occur. That’s a pretty big legacy, in my opinion.”
Brad Wemhaner, Board Member:
“For the last nine years I’ve been on the Board of Directors for Ability360, and watching him as CEO he’s kind of been a mentor. Just seeing his leadership style, his techniques, you know how he tries to anticipate things, how he communicates, his relationship with the board, his relationship with his VPs. I’ve learned from that in my professional role as a leader, as a director of my team.
“I think Phil’s legacy is really the growth of what was ABIL to now Ability360 over the past 20 years. The number of consumers served, moving from Downtown Phoenix to the current location, being able to provide the office space for all the different disability organizations. That’s definitely a huge accomplishment.”
“He’s the identity of Ability360, to be honest. And from the second he got here, he has done nothing but improve the lives [of people with disabilities] and take it to the next level. When I first met Phil, many, many years ago, he was one of the first guys I met, when I moved to town, he became one of my mentors, one of my good friends. And now he’s like family. He and I had this vision of having this gym where we could play rugby, and be able to go there, whenever we want. He just had this dream of making a sports facility to help out the disabled and he brought that to life. Basically, the Sports & Fitness Center is a special place for people with disabilities to go train and make themselves better, not just athletes, anyone with a disability to go down there for recreation socially and physically and I think that’s what Phil is known for; bringing that to life.”
Kelly Buckland, Executive Director of the National Council on Independent Living:
“Well, I think that is Ability360. He’s built that organization into something incredible. It’s probably the crown jewel of [CILs], there are a lot of good [CILs] but Ability360 is one of the crown jewels.”