#HomeGrownStories – R. Scott Miller
Scott Miller, a Piqua native, has worked in Miami County his entire career. Most jobs he has had have been at nonprofit organizations, starting with the Miami County YMCA. He also worked as the Executive Director of the American Red Cross for Miami and Shelby County for 23 years. November 2017 will mark Scott’s third year as President of the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber works with local businesses to promote economic development and hosts community events to bolster local Piqua pride.
On living in Miami County:
I am from Miami County and Piqua. I was actually born in Hempstead, New York because my dad was in the Air Force. Had he not been in the Air Force I would’ve been born in Piqua. My wife’s family and my family are from Piqua. We raised our kids here. We plan to stay.
On the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce:
The chamber works with the business community to enhance the quality of life here. We provide our members with educational opportunities and networking events. Some of the programs that we offer include Business After Hours, Civic Hall of Fame, educational seminars, Leadership Development Piqua, and a monthly newsletter. These are only a few of the programs and events we offer to our members and the community.
Networking events are a great way for our members to market their businesses. It gives them the chance to meet other business owners and share information. Business After Hours is an awesome networking opportunity.
Our annual golf outing is coming up on July 17th. It’s organized by our Chamber Ambassadors. Our Ambassadors help raise money and welcome new members to our community. When a new business comes to town we welcome them with a formal ribbon cutting. The Chamber Ambassadors are the folks wearing the red jackets at the ribbon-cuttings.
The Night Circus will be a fundraising event that we will put on in February 2018. It’s based on the book The Night Circus where this circus comes to town at night and disappears by morning. Our event will be a dinner and casino night held at A Learning Place. There will be some extra twists in the evening to add to the mystery. It should be exciting.
Not only do we help Piqua businesses improve, but we also host community events. The Top 100 Banquet for students from Piqua and Lehman High Schools recognizes our brightest students. It also highlights the wonderful educational facilities that we have.
Every year we honor individuals who have made an impact in our community through the Civic Hall of Fame. We also host the Police & Fire Appreciation Dinner.
Empower Teen Leaders is a program for teens leaders in our community. They learn about Piqua and get involved in a service project. They also work with us and the United Way to award nonprofits with a sum of money. The nonprofits have to apply for the money and the teens conduct interviews. They ask a lot of difficult questions and they decide how the money is distributed. It’s part of the process of being a leader. These skills will be expected of young people as they grow older and get involved in a business.
On his involvement with the chamber, as President:
I’m going into my third year as President of the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce. I started back in November 2014. I’ve always worked in the Miami County area, primarily with nonprofits. Before working with the chamber I worked at the American Red Cross for Miami and Shelby County. I was there for 23 years. I was the Executive Director when I retired. Before that, I managed the old Piqua East Mall for five years. When I graduated from college I was the program director for the Miami County YMCA for almost ten years.
We’ve made quite a few changes in the past couple years. We’ve gotten more involved with social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We’ve had a pretty good response and have quite a few followers. It’s not something that I’m used to, but our staff is good at getting the information out. Darrin Michael and Graham Kindell helped us redevelop our website.
We’ve offered several new programs through the chamber. We had a technology series so members can improve their marketing strategy. That’s primarily what we’re here for — to help our members improve and increase their business. We do that through educational programs and networking events.
How Miami County is different from other places he has visited:
The educational opportunities in Piqua are awesome. We have a junior high, a high school, a career center and a college all pretty much on the same campus. That’s pretty unique. We’re very proud of that and we have good relationships with the schools. We have good relationships with our partners as well. We work well with Mainstreet Piqua, the Miami Valley Centre Mall and the City of Piqua. We all work well together. I’ve been to meetings with other chamber execs outside of Miami County. They asked me “Do Y’all have a mall in Piqua?” and I say, “Yeah, why?” And they ask if we get along with our mall. I say “Yeah, we get along great with our mall.” And they say “Well, we have a mall and we do not get along at all.” I get the same thing about Main Street programs. That’s the neat thing about living in Piqua. There’s a lot of collaboration because these organizations all work well together. Piqua is a really special place to live and work in raise a family. That’s what’s exciting about our community.
What he loves most about Miami County:
Miami County is a great place to live, a great place to work and a great place to play. There are a lot of amenities that we have in Miami County. We have about 105,000 people in the county, which isn’t a big number but we have a lot of things to do. We have the bike trails, the YMCA and the YWCA. We have beautiful buildings, nice architecture, clean streets. We have great parks and recreational opportunities and awesome schools and educational facilities. You can’t beat Piqua’s Alexander Stadium! Our community is safe and fun — it’s a nice place to be. I hear this a lot from people who come here from out of state, people say “People here are so nice” and I say “Well, that’s just the way it is here.” People work well together and they get along. It’s a good place to be.
Another great thing — if you want to go somewhere in Miami County, it only takes 15 minutes.
His Miami County favorites or recommendations for out-of-town visitors:
Shopping in downtown Piqua is great. We have some really nice stores downtown that work really hard to bring people in. We’re also fortunate that we have a shopping mall. We have a lot of nice places to eat. One of the gems of Miami County and the Piqua area is the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency. That is a very well kept secret. It’s neat to go out there and learn about the Native American history and how Piqua became what it is today. It’s neat to see the canal boat too — the Miami-Erie Canal ran by my office.
There are a lot of great events like Taste of the Arts and Christmas on the Green. Mainstreet Piqua does a great job providing those kinds of events. The Piqua Farmers market started up this month — that’s always a fun event. Bike Fest is coming up in a couple of months. I’d recommend people stop in at 311 Drafthouse or Mulligans. The YMCA is close to my heart because I worked there for so many years and when I was a kid I grew up going there.
Follow our storyteller and interviewer, Courtney Denning, at ThisOhioLife.com.