He's the son of the late Larry H. Miller and is now making a name for himself within the family business. Steve Miller has taken on the role of President of Miller Sports Properties and is currently gearing up for this year'Âs Tour of Utah which starts on Tuesday. When he''Âs not fulfilling his role with the company, this father of four is spending time with his family. Shauna Lake sat down with him in this week’s “Person 2 Person.”
Below is a transcript of Shauna Lake’s interview with Steve Miller:
SHAUNA LAKE: I know right now you are very excited about Tour of Utah that’s going on. It’s kind of your baby. Tell me a little about it and how you got so involved in it.
STEVE MILLER: Well there’s a long story behind it, but the short story is that I was managing one of our dealerships back in 2003-2004. The gentleman that owned the race came in to the store and asked if I wanted to help sponsor the event. That’s how I got introduced to it, and the racership just grew from there to where it was just a little two day race, down around Thanksgiving Point regional cyclists. It’s grown and grown and grown to now it’s an international event with cyclists coming from 30 different countries and six days instead of two. But it’s just, one thing’s led to another and here it is on the international stage.
SHAUNA LAKE: Tell me about what it was like being raised a Miller in Utah? You’re kind of Utah royalty a little bit.
STEVE MILLER: Well we don’t look at it that way. I think it’s kind of become that a little bit. It can be a blessing and a curse. I mean sometimes there are, people assume certain things. Their mind is made up if you will, but it was a little bit of a challenge. When we moved here from Colorado I was quite young so the empire if you will, the fortune was still being built. We didn’t just wake up one day and have 55 dealerships and the Utah Jazz and everything that goes along with that. Those things were amassed over time. There was a lot of blood sweat and tears that went into it.
SHAUNA LAKE: How do you keep your kids grounded and humble? I saw your dad once at Crown Burger and he was balancing his checkbook because he had written a check for you know a burger and a soda. And I remember being so taken aback by that, like Larry Miller had to write $6.50 into his checkbook. How do you remind them of who he was and that those are the lessons that he took in his life and they come from that stalk?
STEVE MILLER: Well it’s funny that you’d bring up Crown Burger. I remember going to lunch once with my dad at Astro Burger. And I wanted to add cheese to my hamburger and it was ten cents, and I remember him reminding me of that. So we just try to instill in our children the same thing that our parents instilled in us. And we talk a lot about what it means to be a Miller if you will, to have access to the things we have access to. We try not to overplay it or make a bigger deal out of it than it is. We still put our pants on one leg at a time. Life is what it is, but it’s hard. It’s really hard to sit on the front row of the Jazz game and be in the public eye all the time. That’s what your kids grow up knowing. So when you go to another arena, you go to a concert someplace else and you’re not on the front row, it’s different from what they’ve known, and you have to explain this is, not everybody has what we have an so it’s tough. But it’s a challenge we try to rise up to.
SHAUNA LAKE: Do you have the same emotional makeup as your dad? He was known for being so emotional and committed to the people that he loved. I think that’s what brought the emotion out in him. Are you like that?
STEVE MILLER: Yeah I think so. He always had a tender spot for the underdog, for those that were maybe a little underserved, and I think he did a good job passing that along in all of us. He had a lot of great qualities. There’s a lot of things about him that the public never really got to know, but he was a good man.
SHAUNA LAKE: Do you miss him?
STEVE MILLER: Yeah. Yeah he’s, see here it is. Here’s my dad coming out. Yeah I think about him every day. He’s really greatly missed and you know, coming to the arena every day, walk through these doors and just envision him parking down here and you know this was a building that was built while I was on my mission. It was a hole in the ground in August. Well they broke ground in May of 1990. I left on my mission in August of 1990. I got home in July of ’92 and this building was complete. So the first thing we did when I got home from my mission, we drove straight from the airport to this building. And he took me on a tour of it. And so when I’m here I think about him.
SHAUNA LAKE: You feel him here?
STEVE MILLER: Yeah this is his building.
SHAUNA LAKE: It was his dream.
STEVE MILLER: Yeah.
SHAUNA LAKE: It was his dream to have the Jazz here in Utah. They tried to leave so many times but it was his passion to have them here wasn’t it?
STEVE MILLER: He willed the team to be here. When you look back through the history of the Jazz, especially the early years of the Jazz in Utah, there isn’t any reason the Jazz should be here. It was him and a lot of other people, but it was by sheer will that he was able to put things together, and a lot of good people came to his side and it’s a great blessing to have the Jazz in Utah.
SHAUNA LAKE: It was so nice to meet you “Person 2 Person.”
STEVE MILLER: Thank you. It’s my pleasure.
Tour of Utah Website: www.tourofutah.com
Tour of Utah Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/tourofutah
-Produced by Leslie Tillotsen
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)