Franklyn W. Phillips graduated from MIT in 1941 with a degree in mechanical engineering and went to work at the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, later moving to Lewis where he did research on aircraft engine materials and stresses. In 1945 he became a member of the NACA director's staff and served as administrator for a variety of NACA research programs in aircraft engines and aircraft and missile structures and loads. In October 1958 he became special assistant to Glennan. He gave up that position in January 1959 to become acting secretary of the National Aeronautics and Space Council, but in February 1960 he returned to his position as Glennan's assistant. He continued in that job under James E. Webb until 1962, when he became director of NASA's new North-Eastern Office. In 1964 he became assistant director for administrative operations at the new NASA Electronics Research Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.