A Peek Behind the Scenes at PMPA: A Morning with Miles Free



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My office is right next to the office of Miles Free, interim director at PMPA. Thanks to the acoustics in our building, I have the privilege of hearing what Mr. PMPA does during the day. Granted, when his door is shut I can’t hear anything but muffled sounds, but since his door is open 90 percent of the time, I am granted admittance into a world of wisdom.

It’s Monday, which means Veronica has pulled the OSHA list of precision machining shops that have violations. Miles looks through the list for PMPA members, and if there are any listed, he will call them right away and offer assistance.

Miles Free holding a framed thank you letter

Then, it’s time for the PMPA listserves, where members help members on a number of topics, including technical, IT and human resources. Miles moderates the lists to ensure that only members’ posts are released and that the conversations are appropriate. Questions start flying about packaging, payroll records, machines, materials and quality. Members answer the questions with their experience and expertise, and Miles will put in his two cents (OK, maybe 20 cents) as members find answers to their questions.

Next, Miles is scanning his resources seeking any information that will be beneficial to PMPA members. He finds information on the economy, the industry and governmental policies, all which affect PMPA member shops. He shares his newfound treasures on the listserves or in the PMPA weekly e-newsletter that is sent to members every Thursday.

Miles’ cell phone rings, and it is a PMPA member who is having issues with Prop 65. I know that Miles has more than done his homework on Prop 65. He has a conversation with the member which ends with the member saying, “Miles, I can’t thank you enough. I don’t know what I would do without PMPA.” Come to think of it, his phone conversations always seem to end that way.

It is now lunchtime, and Miles convenes with the rest of the PMPA staff in the conference room where we eat, share stories, laugh and otherwise relax. The best part of lunch? Hearing Miles’ stories from when he worked in the steel mills, or the labs, or his adventures when he and PMPA members visited China and Germany. In the middle of a story, the phone rings and Miles jumps up, runs to his office (which takes about five steps with his long legs) and answers. It’s a member in need of help. And that is what we do. This is why we are here. This is PMPA.

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About the Author

Carli Kistler-Miller

Carli Kistler-Miller is the director of technical programs and member engagement at Precision Machined Products Association. Contact her at 440-526-0300.