Del Mar resident’s books aid job quests

Phil Blair, second from left, is pictured with three U.S. service members displaying the Del Mar resident’s book, “Job Won! For America’s Veterans”.
Phil Blair, second from left, is pictured with three U.S. service members displaying the Del Mar resident’s book, “Job Won! For America’s Veterans”.

Phil Blair has spent four decades in the employment industry


“I’m one of those people who wakes up in the morning and is excited to go to work,” said Phil Blair recently at a Del Mar coffee shop near his home.

Such enthusiasm for labor is not just a personal preference. It’s a mantra the 70-year-old strives to impart to his clients. It’s the message that embodies two books he has authored over the last six years.

Blair is co-owner with longtime business partner Mel Katz of Manpower San Diego. They also operate Manpower franchises in Temecula, Las Vegas, Spokane and Albuquerque.

For decades, the national Manpower network has supplied companies with laborers the firms need at least on a temporary basis, while providing work to those who aren’t on full-time payrolls.

In all, Blair said, he and Katz’s five franchises have a roster of more than 10,000 clients.

About 42 percent of the temporaries among the five franchises wind up getting permanent employment at the workplaces where they were assigned, Blair said.

“We send really good people and they want to hire them, especially in this market,” Blair said. “It’s what we call, ‘Try before you buy.’”

Over the years, Blair said, people in the employment industry had urged him to share his vast experience by writing about it.

Those encouragers included MJE Marketing Services founder and president Marlee Ehrenfeld, who had been handling public relations for Manpower San Diego for more than 15 years.

In the Acknowledgements section of his first volume “Job Won! 500,000 Hires and Counting,” Blair writes “for a good chunk of this time, she has been telling me (sometimes stridently) that I should write a book about what I have learned over the years about human resources and human nature.”

First published in 2013 by AuthorHouse, the 189-page book takes job seekers step by step down the path toward obtaining and retaining desirable employment.

Blair emphasizes applicants should look for work they will enjoy and how they should locate such work, write resumes, handle interviews and network to find prospective jobs, among other topics.

“This is more of a generic for anybody that’s in a job transition, or asking for a raise, or ‘Should I quit and look for a new job, or should I accept this job or not?’” Blair said. “It’s really a handbook to help them manage their career.”

As his Manpower franchises increasingly encountered former military service personnel who were out of work, Blair updated his book to focus on that population.

“Job Won! For America’s Veterans,” published by AuthorHouse in 2018, hones in on the challenges faced by ex-soldiers, sailors and Marines when they leave the military and try to enter the civilian work force.

“It’s really designed not to be a one-at-a-time sort of thing,” Blair said. “It’s really an educational textbook, the type of product that transition classes from the military would use on an ongoing basis and everybody in the class would have one. ...

“But it’s not a textbook as in dry. There’s lot of examples. It’s chatty. It’s an enjoyable read.”

The need to address this population’s challenges is illustrated poignantly in the introduction to the 268-page work.

When a friend’s son who was a former Marine turned to Blair for help getting a job, Blair was startled to see that the man’s resume described his primary work skill as “sniper.”

“What I found as I met with more military brass, (including) admirals, was there were specific things that veterans transitioning into the private sector need to know,” Blair said. “They’re like deer in the headlights. It’s like, ‘I’m a submarine captain. What in the world do I do in the private sector?’

“Or ‘I’m a helicopter pilot or a helicopter mechanic. What do I do in the private sector?’ This walks them through to show where their skill sets are and how to apply them to the private sector.”

Blair, a former San Diego city councilman and member of many civic organizations, attributes some of his insight and adaptability to his childhood years. His father was in the oil industry and Blair spent part of his youth in Venezuela and Libya.

Information on Blair, his work and books can be found at and they can be ordered on

“The gratifying thing about these books is that people will get back to me and go, ‘Your book made all the difference. I know I got the job offer I got this afternoon because of the work I did through the book,’ and that’s very gratifying.”