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Miller, Dave

Published onMar 12, 2021
Miller, Dave

Dave Miller, 2017

Commissioned by University Museums and University Services. U2017.117

DAVE MILLER (BS ’75 electrical engineering) helped create the perfect spot to photograph the ISU campanile. Stand in front of the Memorial Union, and framing the view of central campus is the Iowa State University stone wall and plaza. Miller envisioned the curved wall as part of a campus beautification program; the new structure already has become a Kodak moment for visitors on campus.

As Associate Vice President for Facilities, Planning and Management, Miller directed the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of all campus utilities, facilities and grounds. After a 33-year career at Iowa State, Miller retired in January 2017. During his tenure, Miller was instrumental in developing the Utility Enterprise, a successful business model that allows planning and construction of utility systems to support campus growth. He also led many initiatives to improve campus sustainability and beautification, erect wind turbine and solar panels near the power plant, and address deferred maintenance needs of the university.

Miller was born in England while his father was in the U.S. Air Force, but lived most of his childhood in Grundy Center, Iowa. The oldest of four children, he was the first in his family to attend college. After graduation, he married his high school sweetheart Laura Ware Miller (MS ’93 mass communication), and began his career in Kansas City building and modifying power plants around the country.

In 1983, ISU hired Miller as a utility engineer to work on electrical distribution systems. In the late 1980s, he served as project manager to install two state-of-the-art fluidized bed boilers at the university power plant.

Miller transitioned from utilities into increasing roles for Facilities, Planning and Management, becoming Associate Vice President in 2010. He led the university’s efforts to recover from the floods of 1993 and 2010.

“ISU has given me the opportunity to explore and demonstrate my leadership capabilities,” Miller said. “I have been both challenged and blessed with many opportunities. In particular, our response to the significant floods of 1993 and 2010 was both challenging and successful.”

Miller has been involved in numerous community activities including Ames Morning Rotary, Northcrest Foundation, Story County Board of Adjustments, Boy Scouts and Ames Human Relations Commission.

He lives with his wife on an acreage near Ames. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

Supervising more than 450 people in his job at ISU showed him the power of human potential.

“Anything that you can do to encourage the human potential is extremely important,” he said. “Helping others to achieve their potential is a high priority. Teamwork is absolutely essential.”

Director and Chief Curator of University Museums, Lynette Pohlman: The Facilities, Planning and Management leadership and staff is essential to the success of University Museums in fulfilling ISU’s aesthetic mission.  Unsung heroes, Dave and FP&M help build the Art on Campus Collection that is integrated into the very fabric of this beautiful campus.

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