Skip to main content
Winter Park Library Archive

Phillip B. Crosby

Philip B. Crosby ... Business philosopher

Philip Bayard Crosby was born June 18, 1926 in Wheeling, West Virginia. His parents were Mary and Dr. Edward K. Crosby. His father was a Podiatrist. He had one brother, David. He attended public schools in Wheeling, graduating from Triadelphia High School in 1944. He joined the Navy and became a hospital corpsman.

In the fall of 1946 Mr. Crosby entered the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in Cleveland. After graduation he returned to Wheeling and practiced podiatry with his father. He soon discovered this was not his field.

He was recalled to military service during the Korean conflict, this time he served as a Marine Medical Corpsman.

In 1952 Mr. Crosby went to work for the Crosley Corporation, (Richmond, Indiana) as a junior electronic test technician. He was asked to join the American Society for Quality Control, the Richmond section, and this is where his early concepts concerning "quality" began to form.

In 1955 he moved to South Bend, Indiana, and went to work for Bendix Corporation as a reliability technician. Bendix and the U.S. Navy were developing and testing the TALOS missile. As a quality engineer, Mr. Crosby was to investigate defects found by the testers and inspectors. As time passed, it became evident that if he was going to "make things happen" he needed to become an executive and Bendix was not where it was going to happen.

In 1957 he was offered a job as a senior quality engineer with Martin Marietta Company in Orlando, Florida. During his eight years with Martin Marietta, Mr. Crosby developed his "Zero Defects" concepts, began writing articles for various journals, and started his speaking career.

In 1965, IT&T (International Telephone and Telegraph), hired Mr. Crosby as a vice president in charge of corporate quality. During the fourteen years with IT&T, Mr. Crosby worked with many of the world's largest industrial and service companies. He began implementing his pragmatic management philosophy, and found that it worked.

In 1979, he founded Philip Crosby Associates, Inc., with headquarters in Winter Park, Florida. Over the next ten years it grew into a publicly traded corporation with 300 employees around the world and $80 million dollars in revenue. Philip Crosby Associates taught management how to establish a preventive culture to get things done right the first time. General Motors, Chrysler, Motorola, Xerox, many hospitals, and hundreds of corporations worldwide came to Philip Crosby Associates to understand quality management.

In 1991, he retired from Philip Crosby Associates and founded Career IV, Inc., a company that provided lectures and seminars aimed at helping current and prospective executives grow. In 1997, he purchased the assets of Philip Crosby Associates and established Philip Crosby Associates II, Inc. with offices at 1954 Howell Branch Road, Winter Park, Florida.

Philip B. Crosby died August 18, 2001.

This article was written by former archivist, Barbara White, MLIS.