Miller Company takes generosity to the next level
By Lisa Hornung
Photos by Kathryn Harrington
When Scott Miller bought Miller Company from his parents in 2014, he knew he wanted to take it in a different direction.
Miller Company had focused on copier sales and services since 1978, but Scott wanted to rebuild it and create a full business services organization, including IT, phone operations, security and more. It paid off, and now a $5 million-a-year company has become a $10 million-a-year company in just four years.
But that’s not the only way the company has evolved. Going from a business that keeps its money to a philanthropic one has been a significant change. Scott explained that his father didn’t believe in giving money away. Not that he wasn’t a good person, Scott said, but he was raised in the 1930s when money was scarce.
Miller’s most recent gift is as a Platinum Sponsor of the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction, which begins ar 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the Omni Louisville Hotel. The event is an evening of delicious food, gourmet cocktails and culinary auction packages. The tasting features 30 of Louisville’s best chefs and restaurants, led by Volare Chef Josh Moore.
Scott said he and his wife Kimberly went the first year at the invitation of Scott’s best man, Lee Guillaume, who had been involved with March of Dimes for many years. They had such a great time, they bought a table the following year. This year, Scott was working on the planning committee when he learned that a couple of big sponsors had backed out. Out of the blue, he said, “I’ll be your platinum sponsor for $15,000.” The gift came on the heels of another very large gift his company had given to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and School. “My accounting department said, ‘Are you nuts?’” he joked.
Scott loves his job but he particularly enjoys how his job allows him to give back. “We’ve always been a great service provider,” he said. “We treat our people like family, we treat our customers like family, we go above and beyond to keep everybody happy. Sometimes we shouldn’t, but it’s our philosophy. We operate under a religious belief system – that we should treat everyone as we would ourselves, and that’s what I try to do. I told Dad, ‘I don’t want to just be known as a great copier dealer. I don’t want to be known as the great office technology company. There’s gotta be something else that we can do in business.’”
Miller’s first beneficiary was Simmons College of Kentucky. The school had one very old copier from Miller that had fallen into disrepair, and the college had trouble paying its bills to the company. So, Scott went to meet with the leadership.
“I said, ‘I’ll give you guys $75,000 of free copiers.’” Scott explained. “They kind of looked at each other and one of them started crying. I said, ‘All I ask is that you pay me the cost of the toner.’ That’s all I ask going forward, and it kind of blossomed from there.”
The company has given donations to the University of Louisville, St. Patrick’s, Dismas Charities and more. But giving to March of Dimes is extra special, Scott said.
“We got to see the NICU at Norton Children’s Hospital and that is something really special,” he said. “It’s amazing that since the March of Dimes has been sponsoring, the improvements have been phenomenal.”
On Nov. 1, March of Dimes released the 2018 Premature Birth Report Card, which stated that for the third year in a row, the amount of pre-term babies has increased in the United States. Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributor to death in the first year of life in the United States and the leading cause of death of children under age five worldwide. The report said that while there are many reasons for pre-term birth, unequal access to quality health care is a leading factor. The U.S. received a C grade from the nonprofit; Kentucky got a D.
Scott and Kimberly said that helping further the mission of March of Dimes brings them joy. “We have plenty of money to live on,” Scott said. “I’ve got a nice house. I don’t need a $40 million house or a $4 million house. I don’t need cars, boats, toys. I’ve been through all that crap in my life, and it doesn’t make you happy.”
Kimberly agreed, stating, “It’s nice to give back if we have the opportunity. It makes your heart happy.” VT
Miller Company, Inc.
11470 Bluegrass Pkwy.