With a campus in Maricopa, Central Arizona College needed a Maricopa representative on its governing board, according to Dan Miller.
That was one of the reasons Miller, an engineer for the consulting firm Genesis Solutions, decided to put his name into contention for the vacant and contentious District 4 seat. The two previous holders of the seat resigned.
After a six-member committee reviewed applications and recommended him, Miller was appointed to the board by Pinal County Superintendent of Schools Jill Broussard. She said the committee was comprised of a CAC professor, a nonprofit executive, a local business person, an elementary school board member, a school district superintendent and a pastor.
Miller was sworn in May 11.
He has used his first month in office to get oriented and study the budget. He said he wants to look for ways to be more efficient over the next 40 years while “optimizing cost benefits.”
Workforce development is one of his priorities. Also the owner of a small business in Maricopa, Digital Dan Photography, and a member of the board of the United Way of Pinal County, Miller said he considers CAC to be one of the county’s major resources. The college has new buildings on several campuses and could be utilized more by the public, he said.
CAC can deliver two years of college for an associate’s degree or as a pathway to university, but Miller said its role in workforce development is just as important.
Hometown: Clarksville, Indiana
Maricopan since: 2006
Education: Bachelor of Science degree in human resources; Master of Science degree in management
Military: 18 years in U.S. Navy, retired as chief E7
Family: Married, one son
Occupation: Principal reliability engineer at Genesis Solutions, owner of Digital Dan Photography
“The college represents our future,” Miller said. “I’ve talked to economic development people at the City, and a lot of times a business is interested in coming here and they’ll say, ‘Tell us about your workforce. Are they ready for us to hire?’ A lot of the time we have to say, ‘Not yet.’”
He would like to see more people aware of the resources available to those facing a career change or need certification in a certain field “or to retool to get ready of the next adventure.”
Miller was in the Navy for 18 years. During that time he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He has developed training materials for Fortune 500 firms and has specialized in asset management.
He said he feels he brings a skill set to the CAC board in both management and educational training that will be useful.
“Mr. Miller’s community involvement, willingness to serve, experiences, knowledge and professionalism were all taken into account when making the appointment,” Broussard said. “I have heard nothing but compliments of him from those in the community since the appointment.”
One of his early tasks may be smoothing some feathers.
Miller comes into a position that has been the source of a lot of political drama over the past year. After the CAC board voted to raise its tax rate, a group headed by Garland Shreves gathered enough signatures to force a recall election of long-time board member Rita Nader of Casa Grande. She resigned instead, and Broussard appointed Richard Cassalata of Arizona City.
Cassalata quickly crossed swords with Board Chair Gladys Christensen, faculty and staff. He resigned in early April, leaving the District 4 seat open again.
Miller noted the tax rate that ignited all the drama and wants to see where the college can do a better job in how it uses its funding.
“I want to look into system efficiencies and processes to see what we can do without sacrificing the experiences of the students and faculty,” Miller said.
His appointment applies until the end of the year. He intends to run for the position he now holds in the General Election in November.