The Doug Miller Story

Today, I want to share a true story with you of a man who is well-known in our locale. Practically everyone in Dillon County knows or have heard of Doug Miller, as he is commonly known. However, what many do not know about Doug is how he arrived at the level of professionalism, proficiency, and success as arguably the premier plumber, electrician, and heating and cooling man in our area, barring none.
In order to do Doug justice in telling his fascinating story and rise to where he is today as an entrepreneur, I must go back to when we first met many, many years ago when both of us were upstarts and green horns in our chosen professions. Doug’s parents, Mr. Robert Miller, Sr. and Mrs. Hattie H. Miller, brought him up with firm hands and a clear understanding that if you were going to succeed in life, you had to work hard and save your money. He was not born into the lap of luxury with a silver spoon in his mouth. He learned his work ethic at an early age and how to sweat and toil in the fields as a boy growing up in the rural area of Dillon County. Living closer to the Lake View School District, he attended school there and graduated from Lake View High School where he played football in the early days of their storied football program.
After high school, Doug’s natural ability as a fix-it and repair man attracted him to seek a job with Mr. Rommey Elvington, one of the most competent and skillful electricians and plumbers in Dillon. Unlike far too many who wanted a job just to get an income, Doug’s primary reason for wanting to work with Mr. Elvington was to glean and learn the trade – and that he did. After applying himself under the occupational tutelage of Mr. Elvington, first as a common laborer, then as an apprentice, and finally as a bonafide plumber and electrician for a season, Doug was now ready for the next step in his journey and progression to working for himself. His first step of self-employment came in the form of a joint venture with a plumber and electrician he was quite familiar with whose name was Edward Curry.
After working in partnership with him for a few years, Doug took the final step of being an independent entrepreneur in the field of his given profession. He started Miller Plumbing and Electric between 1979 and 1980. Like any new business, it was not a cake walk and breeze at first. Many people do not know that most new business ventures fail in the first two years. It is commonly believed that if a new business can survive for two years, it will most likely make it. Through much hard work, sacrificing, and strategic planning, Miller Plumbing and Electric not only survived during the next two decades, but also prospered and grew through the hiring of both qualified and skillful plumbers and electricians, as well as young men who were willing to learn and grow as beginners and apprentices. Miller Plumbing and Electric, in the ensuring years, extended its professional capacity to serve its customers and the general public by adding the installment of heating and cooling units. Their growth also went from being just residential to being commercial and industrial. Miller Plumbing and Electric also extended its outreach service and customer-base to include Florence, Marion, Bennettsville, Cheraw, and other parts of the Pee Dee region and beyond. The little company that started with one man has grown to include over thirty people who work in various capacities as electricians, plumbers, heating and cooling unit installers, duct system installers, as well as an administrative secretary and receptionist.
Doug’s hard work, sacrificing, and planning, as well has his ability to negotiate and strike a deal with people in the residential, commercial, and industrial realms, has paid off. As I almost always do, I consulted with a few people who have dealt with Doug in a professional way over the years. Without exception, each agreed that Doug Miller was a good man who one could depend on to keep his word. Furthermore, they said that if his crew had erred in any area of service and installment, Doug would send them back immediately to correct it at no cost to his customers. Apart from forming both a business relationship and friendship with Doug that has lasted for over forty years, I respect his work ethic and diligence. Doug’s wife, Mrs. Debbie Meekins (a retired school teacher), and their blended family of two adult daughters and two adult sons and grandchildren, have greatly contributed to his professional success and rise to prominence. Doug has been a faithful member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church nearly all his life. One of the qualities that I admire about Douglas Miller is that he has not allowed his success and accomplishments go to his head. He has managed to remain humble and down to earth. When last I saw him (as I was passing his office and shop), he was getting ready to enter his office (as he has done for years) on time and dressed in his work clothes. Little wonder why he has been able to achieve great things and succeed in his given profession.