Former Jet-Setter Tim Miller '16 Staying Grounded
For most of us, the cubicle-bound, eschewing careers featuring travel and international politics sounds preposterous. Tim Miller ’16 has shed no tears in his passport. Enrolling in Ithaca College’s communications innovation program (MSCI) steered this one-time globetrotter into a new dimension of satisfaction, so to speak.
Miller is the director of corporate communications and public relations for 3D Systems, the first 3D printing company. Besides manufacturing 3D printers, the company provides hardware, materials, software, and on demand solutions for digital manufacturing.
“It’s an industry that seems to change by the minute and has the potential to fundamentally transform businesses and industries,” said Miller, 34. In his position, he shares stories of how the company’s technology does that and more. “Some of them are simply amazing,” he said. “That’s the best part of the job.”
Before finding his groove at 3D Systems, Miller wandered the earth while staying gainfully employed. After graduating from Haverford College, a small liberal arts college outside Philadelphia, the Middlebury, VT native worked in the admissions office and coordinated marketing activities for a Swiss boarding school. Then, Miller landed at a media company that created promotional country reports for the international business press. It was, he recalls, “an amazing job for someone in their mid-twenties.” Every few months, Miller landed in an exotic locale—Bermuda, Turkey, Zambia, Saudi Arabia—interviewed leaders in business, politics, business, and culture there, and repeated the whole heady process.
In Greece, Miller met his future wife, Ritsa, and settled in Athens. Kind of. He served as a communications strategist, among other roles, for Greek prime minster George Papandreou during the country’s financial crisis. “It was a very challenging and exciting time to have the position,” said Miller, in true unflappable PR style.
Miller continued working for Papandreou after he left office. However, by 2013, Miller was eager to return stateside and build a career in corporate communications. “My goal,” he said, “was to find a company with a real story to tell.” Expanding his skill-set and network would be required. After rounds of online research, Miller discovered the MSCI Program. He talked to Bob Regan, the program’s director, and liked what he heard.
“It seemed like the ideal fit: allowing me to leverage my own unique experiences and benefit from the expertise of my very talented cohort and faculty,” Miller said. “The construct of the program—virtual lessons mixed with on-site intensives—also appealed to me.”
His instincts proved correct. “The program helped me understand and articulate my career goals, and find my niche in corporate communications,” he said. “It also exposed me to new ideas and practices in the field. When he interviewed with 3D Systems, Miller knew exactly what he wanted—and what he could offer the pioneering company. “All of this gave me the industry literacy, knowledge and network to land an amazing job and make the move back to the U.S.”
Miller now lives in Charlotte with Ritsa and their two young sons, Max and Charles. IC, though, is not too far away. He donated 3D printers for the communications school’s innovation lab and, in 2015, hosted a three-day MSCI intensive at 3D Systems’ corporate headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Students from the two cohorts talked about how to engage audiences in a rapidly evolving industry. “It was fun, but also provided a lot of practical insight that I could draw upon in my day-to-day work,” Miller said.
The event, Miller added, exemplified MSCI’s real world applications and relevancy—the same qualities that helped bring him home for one more adventure.