About Me

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.

9 Responses to About Me

  1. Miles,

    Have you done any articles on presetting, or will you be doing any in the future? If you do EZset would like to be apart of this if you need information etc. We are also on twitter and I have a youtube.com channel
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ezsetllc. I appreciate your time and look forward to any comments you may have.

    • speakingofprecision says:

      Hi John. That topic is very likely to come up. Do you have a white paper or special report that we could link to when we do such a post?

  2. lloyd graff says:


    Welcome to the blogosphere. You should be a natural if the powers that be do not stifle your delightful sense of humor and bent toward political incorrectness.It must be hard sometimes to fit your vibrant spirit into the dusty blandness of Gardner land.


  3. Very good text. I’ve found your site via Google and I’m really happy about the information you provide in your articles. Btw your blogs layout is really broken on the Chrome browser. Would be great if you could fix that. Anyhow keep up the great work!

  4. Ed Dalder says:

    My company has a large forging(58’x1.5’x 4.25″ rough-machined dimensions. The material is Nitronic 50 austenitic stainless steel. The grain-size after the final solution-annealing operation is ASTM 1, rather than the specification value of ASTM 5 (max.) Given the essentially single phase nature of the alloy, are there any practical methods for reducing the grain-size without radically-changing the width and/or thickness of the forging? Thanks for your comments.

    Ed Dalder

    • speakingofprecision says:

      I spoke with my colleague to confirm our response.

      “No. Nitronic 50 is an austenitic grade, so you cannot change grain size with just thermal treatments. Any further thermal treatments will just cause further grain growth.”

      “If a finer grain is needed, they need to request at time of manufacture, where you can get strain, hot or cold, into the bar to facilitate grain refinement. The mill will also need to reduce annealing temp to allow grain recrystalization and help prevent any grain growth. However, this is quite a big forging and I do not see grain sizes getting much smaller than they are seeing right now. The mill would need to do some aggressive forging, along with some warm forging, maybe, to get a finer grain. And with this in a high strength grade, it will require a lot of force to do any warm forging.”
      Thanks for the query, hope that this helps.
      Miles Free

    • speakingofprecision says:

      We welcome you into our craft, JGeis. We’re confident that you will find it to be an interesting career, and a worthwhile way to make a life, as well as a living.

  5. K Cook says:

    Kudos! Thanks for making an excellent resource.

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