The BEC’s Nick Miller was employee #1 when we were created eleven years ago. As a foundational member of the team, he has shaped the BEC and evolved his role at the same time, growing from three employees to 13 and shifting from the center’s marketing manager to a Director of Corporate Relations. He has seen corporate engagement become a fully-fledged field and has helped pay a critical role in developing key partnerships at U-M.

Let’s get to know Nick:

Nick running the Ann Arbor Half Marathon in 2018.

Nick running the Ann Arbor Half Marathon in 2018.

Q: What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in corporate engagement over the last 10 years?

The portfolio of companies that I work with specifically have definitely pared down the list of universities with whom they work. The “quality over quantity” approach these companies have taken has allowed them to deepen their engagements and see a better ROI.

On the university side, faculty have a growing interest in working with industry. The growth curves for R&D and philanthropic partnerships are very positive, and it’s fun to know that we’re the catalyst in making these happen.

Q: What are three career lessons you’ve learned thus far?

  • Surround yourself with good people and empower them
  • Listen more than you talk
  • You’re not going to please everyone no matter how hard you try

Q: What do you like most about your job?

The people I work with, both at the BEC and at the broader university level. So much talent and passion emerge from this place. It’s fun to be a part of it on a daily basis.

Q: What are 3 words to describe the BEC?

  • Catalysts
  • Facilitators
  • Dedicated

Q: Tell us three things most people don’t know about you…

  1. Going into college I originally wanted to be a journalist.
  2. I am a huge U2 fan and have seen the band live numerous times dating back to the late 1990s. The back side of me appeared on Disc 2 of the band’s 2005 Vertigo Tour documentary.
  3. I can juggle.

Q: What has been your favorite project at the BEC?

I don’t have a single favorite, but I enjoy working with units I haven’t worked with in the past. I recently worked on a great project with the Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research out of the School of Education. It was my first time working with them on a project and this one happened to be on a particularly tight deadline. Their team is fantastic.

Q: What’s the next big thing at U-M for companies to get involved in?

My crystal ball skills aren’t good enough to look too far into the future. But I’ve been handling a lot of artificial intelligence and robotics inquiries lately.

Q: What do you do for fun?

 

Exercise in all forms- weightlifting, running, endurance sports (when my back can handle it), and playing golf.

I also enjoy reading spy novels and economics books.

More information on Nick and other BEC staff members can be found here.