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Employees and Clients First: a conversation with Cheryl Derue, Principle Consultant, Miller & Associates

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written by: Lauren O’Dell
Over the last ten years, it’s no secret that Miller & Associates has established itself as a company that focuses not only on the bigger picture, but they will cater to their employees and clients first. One of their employees, Cheryl Derue, has been with M&A for six years and considers herself lucky to have found this company. I was fortunate enough to ask her a few questions about her experience with M&A in light of the anniversary, and this is what she said:
LO: What brought you to Miller & Associates?
CD: Growing up in the Buffalo area (Niagara Falls to be exact), most of my background was in people and operations management for many years. I had worked fora Financial Technology company as an implementation manager, and I found that I loved it! [So much so], I continued on with the people and operations management for another 6 years! I had my fill finally and felt that I was not doing what I wanted to do. So, I started my job search, and a colleague introduced me to James. I was extremely impressed with his quick response and ability to match my skillset with a consulting opportunity he had with a large supplier of medical imaging equipment headquartered in Rochester. I have been an employee of M&A almost six years now, and I could not be happier.
LO: What is your favorite part about being a member of the M&A family?
CD: They truly care about their employees. We have regular get togethers, if you need anything, you call them. They get back to you immediately if you have a question, or an issue, they are always willing to go the extra mile to help! M&A offers amazing benefits, and are active in many great causes within the Rochester area. It is amazing to see them on the TOP 100 list again this year! Often times, our customer has approached me with an offer to come on as a full-time employee, and I cannot give myself a good enough reason to do so! I want to stay with M&A as long as I can. I have a tremendous amount of respect and gratitude to them!
LO: What are 3 words to describe Miller & Associates and explain why you chose those specific words.
CD: We are Partners. M&A is a small boutique consulting company, for this reason I receive personal attention. This allows us to be able to share personal parts of our life. James and Judy came to my wedding, and they know my children, my husband, my father. This is very important nowadays when it is hard to juggle work life balance. They [always encourage their employees] to become an active part of Miller and Associates and they give back to the community as well! We are more of a team, than anything else. Dedicated they are dedicated to finding the right people for the right job. They truly care about their employees and what is best for them. They keep in touch and regularly call to check in. They are also dedicated in ensuring their customers are satisfied and maintain a great rapport with all of them!
Recognition often times in larger companies, your anniversary dates sneak by, with no call out. James and Judy always try their best to call the team out when they reach milestones. Whether it be a lunch, a phone call, a text or email. They go above and beyond for all of us.
Cheryl is one of the many hard-working, wonderful employees who continue to bring inspiration and purpose to Miller & Associates–we are looking forward to many more memories and accomplishments in the next ten years.

Persistence, Perseverance & Attitude

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“Persistence, perseverance, and the right attitude.” These are the three things that James Miller, President and COO of Miller & Associates, believes are the reasons M&A made the Rochester Top 100 list for a third consecutive time. His wife Judy, Co-owner and CEOtalked about the process of growth and how to keep moving forward. She says, “I particularly love this top 100, in the year 2020, since this is our 10th anniversary and our third year on the Top 100 list of fastest-growing privately owned companies in the region.” She went on to explain how the company has embraced a strategy and culture of growth since its inception in 2010. The Top 100 list is only a reward, the true goal of Miller & Associates is to continuously improve who they are as an organization, and the value they provide to their clients and employees.     Over the course of the interview with Judy, I asked her to talk more about growth and how it seems Miller & Associates has been able to push forward year over year – especially this year amidst the pandemic. Her answer? It is important to have goals in place to achieve growth, she continued to say, “but the goals change depending on what stage of growth the business is in. When we first started the businessthe goal was simple “make more sales” and we were focused  not only on increased revenue but also trying to figure out who we are” and what differentiates us from the competition. Fast forward five years or more, we had a pretty solid business model in place and our goals shifted toward making significant investments and improving internal processes. “It’s also important to note that our growth happened organically and not through acquisition…this is an important distinction which demonstrates our personal commitment to excellenceOther ways in which Miller & Associates has grown is expanding beyond Rochester, NY. They have employees based in Colorado and Arizona, an international team in Saudi Arabia, and they’re continuing to look at other states as well. Alongside nation-wide and international growth, they are also growing through their investments, especially in their employees. A significant part of M&A’s mission statement is that they put their people first; in a constant effort to retain top talent, they offer their employees stand-out benefits that can out-compete larger companies. “We continue to address the people side of things because we understand the very real human side of consulting and all that comes with it – including balancing family needs, illness, caring for family members as well as professional needs like ongoing feedback for work delivered, professional development and the need for continuous learning – especially for highly skilled tech professionals.”     Lastly, I asked both Judy and James about their goals for the coming years. Both of their answers included the continuation of growth, but Judy also mentioned her 5-year plan. “From 2015 to 2020, my goal was to reach a 40person threshold, which we’ve done.” Now, she’s looking forward to taking on some new challenges for the next five years. In James’ opinion, he says that he of course wants to continue growth, but he also wants to “stay true to who [M&A is] and was when they first started the company.” The IT world is full of explosive and rapid change, so it’s important to maintain the values that have been developed since the very start. James concluded at the end of our interview, “Good comes to those who are commited to hard work and staying the course to what you believe in.” It made the perfect way to sum up Miller & Associates’ well-deserved award of making Rochester’s Top100 list of fastest growing privately held companies in the region  for the third time. M&A is such a wonderful and family-oriented companyit’ll be exciting to see how they continue to evolve in the coming years