GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — Mark Miller may hold the title of “boss,” but he preaches servant leadership where employees come first.
Miller is still the relatively new president and, more recently, CEO of Cascade Engineering Inc. The Detroit native, though, has clearly bought into the culture that founder Fred Keller began building in 1973.
“Nobody works for me,” the 52-year-old Miller said. “I work for everyone. Let me tell you, it's a heck of an honor. It's a privilege I take very seriously. My job is to make sure they're empowered. They're enabled. And help remove barriers.”
Miller does have a 10-person leadership team that organizes the 11 divisions that make up Cascade. Miller came up through the company's largest division — truck and bus supplier CK Technologies — where he first served as president in 2007. Keller, meanwhile, remains chairman, owner and confidant to Miller. Keller's in the office once a week, but divides his time between teaching at two universities and with community projects.
Business is strong at Cascade. The company stood at $240 million in annual sales as recently as 2010. In fiscal year 2014, sales hit $358 million. Miller fully expects $375 million this year with more to come for the injection molder
headquartered on the west side of Michigan.
For example, CK Technologies makes up $150 million of Cascade's 2015 annual sales.
“CK has not optimized for their growth potential yet. They're certainly positioned to get to $250 million within the next five years. There's no doubt about it,” he said.
Similarly, the Automotive Americas division could generate $100 million annually in five years, doubling its current $50 million in annual sales.