He’s a husband, father of six, and even a grandpa, but for Greg Miller that isn’t all. He’s followed in the footsteps of his late father and become CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. Greg says that what he learned most from his dad is that life needs to have balance. That includes work, family, and health. In this week’s “Person 2 Person” Greg sat down with Shauna Lake to talk about the pressure he faced when it was his time to take over as CEO.
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Watch Greg Miller Friday, February 28th at 7pm on KUTV2 as he is featured on CBS’s “Undercover Boss.”Below is a transcript of Shauna Lake’s interview with Greg Miller:SHAUNA LAKE:
I read that your dad in the hospital said, “I’m leaving you my life’s work. Don’t screw it up.”
Yeah. SHAUNA LAKE:
I mean how much pressure did you feel for that?GREG MILLER:
That was a moment I’ll never forget. He actually, he said it twice. Once in the hospital and once in what I think was his final participation in one of our executive meetings where we had about a dozen of our top people around a table, and my dad piped in through the phone and he said, “I’m leaving you my life’s work. Don’t screw it up.” And we all know how hard he worked and the sacrifices he made. And so that was something that really resonated with me. I had a very clear understanding of the magnitude of his life’s work, and I respected him, and I represented the work and the last thing I wanted to do was bring harm to it in any way. I’ve tried every day since I’ve been CEO to take what he built and add to it and make it better in every possible way. And I think that by virtually any way you measure it, that we have met that standard.SHAUNA LAKE:
I read that you had your first job with your dad at 13-years-old, sweeping gravel at one of the first dealerships. Did he just teach you work ethic?GREG MILLER:
You’re right. He made us work for everything we had. I remember the first day that I drove to work with my dad, driving down 13th East to that little…the first building that the Toyota dealership was in, and he said, “When we get there, there’s a broom in the parks department. I want you to go get that and sweep the gravel off the lot. If you get done with that before the day is over then I want you to come see the sales manager and he’ll give you these little Larry Miller Toyota logos that you can go put on the trunk lids of all the cars. And if you get that done then come see me and I’ll give you something else to do.” And that was the beginning for me, and from that point on I’ve filled a lot of roles within the organization, and I would say worked hard for everything that’s come to me. SHAUNA LAKE:
Do you miss him?GREG MILLER
: I do. Yeah I don’t know if you’re aware but it was five years ago today that he passed away, and I miss him. He was a great blessing in my life, and I learned a lot from him, and I enjoyed being with him. Especially towards the end when he realized him time was winding down and he sort of lost the pressure of the businessman and sort of that need to be invincible and become more of a person. We spent a lot of time in some of the cars. Cars were a magical connection for us, and we got to spend some time in some of the special cars that we both loved, and just talking about other things that were important. We went fishing. We talked about fishing. I saw his humorous side emerge in ways that I hadn’t very many times before that. So yeah I definitely miss him.SHAUNA LAKE
: Heidi, the love story. You’re cruising State Street as so many people have over generations, and you meet this beautiful woman, and you still have the sticky note? Is that true?GREG MILLER:
Yeah it’s a great story and to me it’s maybe the greatest evidence that God’s looking out for me because I remember exactly where I was. It was about 27th South and State. I was with my friend in a red Toyota pickup. Heidi was with her friend in a little brown mustang, and we were driving north and we were talking as you drive, and we pulled over and he gave me her phone number, and I still have Heidi with her phone number on a little sticky note, and I tried calling her a few times and she was busy and we played phone tag and kind of got distracted and never really connected until maybe three weeks later, and it was literally an exact repeat. I was with my same friend in my red Toyota pickup. She was with her same friend in the brown Mustang, same place on State Street going north and we pulled over and started talking and went on our first date a little while later. And I look at that as God saying to me, “Listen you knucklehead, I served her up to you on a silver platter once. You better get it right this time.” And he gave me a second chance to get to know the person who’s turned out to be my best friend. Luckily I got a second chance with that one.
Luckily. Twenty-eight years later he was doing something right. GREG MILLER:
Guilty pleasure?GREG MILLER:
I like 80’s hair metal played kind of loud, Scorpions, Def Leppard. I listen to a lot of that. Probably the most soothing thing for me though is just to get in a Land Cruiser and just go drive. Sometimes it’s in a newer Land Cruiser driving up near Heber on paved roads. If I have enough time I love to get into an older Land Cruiser with the top off and go drive through Canyon lands somewhere.
What’s something that would surprise people about you?GREG MILLER:
Maybe that I was the Hacky Sack champion at the University of Utah when I attended that school.SHAUNA LAKE:
Hacky Sack champ? And how much practice went into that? That’s a major title.
Let’s just say I devoted a lot of my high school career towards perfecting my Hacky Sack skills. SHAUNA LAKE:
Greg, thank you so much. GREG MILLER:
Thanks for having me Shauna. SHAUNA LAKE:
It’s been so nice to get to know you “Person 2 Person.”GREG MILLER:
Likewise. Thank you.
-Written and produced by Leslie Tillotson
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)