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Adieu, Mike

June 1, 2000
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This fall, Mike Miller left The News after 20 years as an editor and then publisher, a function for which God clearly put him on this earth. Mike not only solved the inevitable knotty problems — advertiser vs. editor, subscriber vs. circulation department — but I swear he often created them just to be able to step in and demonstrate his virtuosity. Mike’s motto could have been “If it ain’t broke, break it.”

Here are some of the many faces of Mike:

  • Headhunter without portfolio. More than one senior executive in the hvacr biz owes his job to Mike, who often was consulted by the headhunters as an invaluable resource.

    Mike ran with the big dogs, and channeled them to their next position. All you guys out there, raise your hands.

  • Athlete. As a frat brother of Jack Nicklaus at Ohio State University, Mike absorbed a lot of golf knowledge. A keen observer of others’ golf swings, he was willing to share his analysis, especially on the first tee.

    “You’re going too fast,” he once told me. “You’re rushing your lunge.”

  • Veteran traveler. “There are two hazards of traveling,” he stated. “One, you wake up in a Holiday Inn on February 13. It’s snowing, the wind is howling, and it’s dark outside. Are you in Des Moines or Grand Rapids? Does it matter?

    “Two. You’ve blown your travel advance at the crap table in Las Vegas, but you kept just enough — down to the last nickel — to bail your car out of the parking lot at Detroit Metro Airport — except they upped the rates.”

  • Sartorial dude. Let me dispel the rumor that Mike was once a fashion model. He could have been, but he dedicated his life to the advancement of selling heating-cooling units.

    Mike was, however, very attendant to dress codes at various events. His idea of Hell is going to a “casual dress” event when everybody else is in business attire. Or vice versa. Ease up, big guy. Retirement will alleviate your anxiety.

  • Big Ten bigot. Mike will have to explain to St. Peter his unyielding hatred for the Michigan Wolverines, which is excited every year by a modest football bet with former ARI chairman Dick Heglin, last seen retiring from Leybold Inficon, and a U-M grad. Over the past 20 years, Mike is down big. Whether he pays promptly is between the two of them.

    Well, that’s it. Or is it? Mike is far too young to stay retired. I see him in a new position, one that rewards his peculiar (and I mean peculiar) gifts — say, Secretary of Commerce in the next administration, or forming his own country-western band and hitting the road again — this time with enough financial margin to pay the airport parking fee.

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