Family Values through the Generations: Meet the Millers
Dan Miller, now President and CEO of Robbins Manufacturing Inc., was introduced to the construction industry at a young age by his dad, who used to take him to the plant floor on weekends while other boys his age were out hunting or playing sports. The plant would be closed, and although safety and workplace policy would not allow anything like this today, his father took the opportunity to teach Dan how to operate the drill press, how to weld, and how to use the press brake machine among other equipment. These lessons left an indelible impression on Dan. At the age of 18, he took a job at Woods Equipment Co. in Oregon, IL running a drill press for $3.18/hour. By his mid 20s. he was managing factory floor workers. Although Dan eventually moved into Executive Leadership where he excels at turning around businesses and driving growth, he will tell you he never forgets how it all started with his dad who helped him learn the business from the ground up, and the value of good, honest hard work.
Along the way, Dan and his wife raised three boys – Nate (engineering), Josh (IT), and Ben (sales) – who each followed their dad’s footprints into the industry just as Dan had done. Dan started introducing the boys to machinery at a young age. Their childhood stories include climbing on the equipment, seeing how equipment was built and operated, and learning from adults who were already in the business. In short, they were hooked early. Dan even recalls the story of when Ben was in Kindergarten and was asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Without hesitation, Ben’s response was “I want to work with my dad at Woods.”
By the time the brothers entered Gehl/Manitou, they were already well-versed in the business and came across as naturals. That said, the added pressure of working in the same company where their father was President only served to drive Dan’s sons to work even harder to prove to everyone – including Dan and even themselves – that they truly earned their roles.
Dan has watched each of his sons grow as professionals within this industry, carrying themselves with distinction and earning their way through their reliance on the force of their work ethic and desire to constantly improve and learn. When speaking with each of the Miller sons, they each point out the value of lessons learned from their father who started instilling the right values into them from a young age. Nate’s success of designing Harley Davidson’s next generation of motorcycles, Josh’s success in IT at Michels as a manager of network operations, and Ben’s success in leading the sales team at Sany America are proof positive that positive family values are alive and well in our industry.