The Family of Philip Sprung

March 12, 2015 08:00 ET

Philip Sprung, 83; unconventional businessman and humble philanthropist, not an ordinary man

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - March 12, 2015) -

Editor's Note: There is a photo associated with this release.

Philip Davis Sprung, former President of Sprung Instant Structures, passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on Monday, March 9, 2015 at the age of 83 years.

Those closest to Phil knew him for his extraordinarily generous spirit, endearing eccentricity and unconventional approach to business.

A third-generation business leader at Sprung Structures based out of Aldersyde, Alberta, Phil was the business visionary whose desire to innovate led to important collaborations and technological advancements that took the company from a basic tent and awning company to a multi-million dollar international business.

In 1951 Phil was studying law at the University of British Columbia, when his academic career was cut short after his father Donald requested his return to Alberta to assist in running the family business. It was a time when business was bleak and sales were needed to keep the plants open.

Phil had an exceptionally strong work ethic, believing that anyone could be successful if they worked hard enough. In those early years, his work ethic was put to the test as he travelled the western provinces as a sales person.

Always a visionary, he recognized a need for a stronger, more versatile tent for one of his largest clients, The Calgary Stampede. Using his "think tank" business model, he brought together a dynamic team who designed a tent like structure, that could withstand strong wind and snow loads in the most demanding of environments.

"I remember him from when we were young and growing up, not the last couple of years. There was no one who was more fun, more dynamic and smarter when it came to the business world. He truly believed in hard work and what it brought someone personally, besides money. The older you get, the more you see the values he was teaching all of us," commented Jeff Tonken, President Birchcliff Energy Ltd.

Phil was known as a risk taker and innovator and one of his proudest career moments was when NASA asked him to design and create a structure to house the space shuttle orbiter.

In 1988, Sprung designed and completed a massive hydroponic greenhouse operation within a space age layout of Sprung Structures. This facility was later relocated to Newfoundland in a partnership with the Newfoundland government.

"There are very few people who are put on this earth who have the courage and the vision to make a difference," added Mogens Smed, CEO of DIRTT Environmental Solutions. "Phil was one of those who excelled in responding to the challenge. His legacy has left the world a better place; anyone he touched knew they were in the presence of a very special man and human being."

"He was a one-of-a-kind man of indomitable spirit," says son Tim Sprung. "Phil Sprung was a visionary with an unstoppable mind and creative spirit."

Exceptionally generous to his family, friends and community, Phil believed in giving back and quietly conducted philanthropic activities that supported many local and international organizations. Phil would immediately respond to natural and man-made disasters by providing emergency and relief shelters, hospitals and schools most notably following major events such as the Rwandan genocide, Ground Zero following 9/11 disaster, and Hurricane Katrina.

After many years of structure donations for disaster relief worldwide, Phil was recognized by President Bush Sr. and his wife, Barbara at a gala event organized by "The AmeriCares Foundation" for his outstanding and unwavering commitment to saving lives and lessening human suffering around the world.

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