Homage to a Machine Tool Family Man

I thought it was worth sharing the following homage to a "machine tool man" because it speaks to the generational nature of the machine tool industry and how we tend to pay it forward.

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Herb and Phil Miller, machine tool men. 

Phil Miller, managing director at Tornos Technologies U.S., submitted the following homage to his father who recently passed. I thought it was worth sharing in part because it speaks to the generational nature of the machine tool industry and how we tend to pay it forward.

My father, Herbert Louis Miller, was a “machine tool man” through and through. He was a fixture in the industry for over 40 years, and he influenced and shaped the lives of many people who knew him. He was also a mentor to his sons and grandchildren, as three sons and two grandsons have followed in his path into machine tools.

He was a hard-working and hard-driving individual, and it was his drive and persistence, that became a part of all his children’s psyche. “We do not give up.”

After serving in the U.S. Army, he began his apprenticeship as a machinist at Koppers Company, in Baltimore, Maryland. It was there that he gained the foundation and tools, for a lifelong career in machine tools. He went on to night school, attending John Hopkins University for seven years, studying echanical engineering. During this period, he also sold pots and pans door to door on weekends, always trying to get ahead. At the same time, our family was growing in size every year, as he and my mother ultimately raised seven children. He then joined Western Electric as a manufacturing engineer and expanded his technical knowledge.

In 1964, he joined New Britain Tool Co. as a young sales engineer. After completing training, he relocated our family to Hoffman Estates, Illinois, to handle the Chicago sales territory. This was the beginning of his machine tool career. 

During his tenure at New Britain, he did exceptionally well. He worked his way up to regional sales manager, then national sales manager, and in the end was offered the position of V.P. of sales. However, after 17 years with New Britain, he decided it was time to go on his own. It was the summer of 1980 that H.L. Miller Machine Tools Inc. was born, and by year’s end, my brother John, and then I, joined the company. Years later, my brother Dan joined the team as well. At the time, we were known as the screw machine dealer, as we carried all the best screw machine lines available and all the related equipment. After many years in the field, he finally retired in 2007.

My father was a charismatic and dynamic salesman that knew his products intimately. He was known internationally for his technical expertise in the screw machine Industry. He also made many endearing friendships along the way. However, his true legacy is the large and growing family that he leaves behind, carrying on his name.

I loved him very much, and he will always be with me.

Click here to read a similar homage I wrote about my dad last year.