I was born Miles III to Miles Jr., an electrician in the steel mills in the Mahoning Valley. I was named for Miles Sr., who worked the tongs as a catcher on a hand mill just outside of Niles, Ohio. As a youngster, I’d be eating my breakfast when my father came home from midnight shift, and explained what he had done the night before to fix the annealing crane. How he had to lockout the acid pumps in the pickle house, how hot it was in the temper mill, how it smelled in the blast furnace. I got my start on steel and manufacturing pretty early.
I worked in the steel mills through college, and had a brief stint with the Ohio EPA while on layoff after graduating. I went back to the mills, and worked my way through a succession of operating, salary, and environmental engineering positions until I was named laboratory supervisor. I served my apprenticeship in the industry.
Reductions in forces were commonplace in the 1980’s, and I found myself implementing Statistical Process Control at B&L Steel as Plant Metallurgist. We opened a new plant in Cartersville, Georgia in the 1990’s where I managed Customer Service and Quality, and led our effort to get the first Q-1 award given to a non-integrated steel company. I was a member of the PMPA’s quality committee, authored several white papers, and active at PMPA National Technical Conferences throughout my career.
Making and selling steel to machine shops is pretty easy. Getting them to keep it when they run into “difficulties” is not so easy. So I learned right away how to get to root causes in my customer’s processes because, believe it or not, it usually wasn’t the steel.
I’ve managed laboratories, steel plants, national technical staffs, and been responsible for quality for an eight plant division of a major steel producer. I managed our company’s only profitable plant during a bankruptcy. I’ve testified before Congressional subcommittees, and been deposed by the Department of Commerce on anti-trust issues. But my favorite work is helping people like you hear the voice of your process to discover root causes. And to help you make them go away permanently. That’s why I’m here at PMPA, to help you make sense of the craziness that has become our industry these days. And why I’m Speaking of Precision.