Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 7, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Miller Group, The was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2018):
- Miller Group supports employee creativity and innovation through its CARE Program (Cost Awareness Rewards Employees), rewarding employees with monetary gifts for suggestions that improve the company
- Along with helping employees save for the future, Miller Group encourages employees to think ahead with retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options
- Through the "Miller Institute of Excellence", Miller Group offers leadership, management and construction-related courses, many of which have been accredited by the Canadian Construction Association
Miller Group builds the road to career success
For his first job with the Markham-based Miller Group, Chris Maguire worked overnight, sweeping sand off curbs and centre medians along Yonge Street where the con-struction company provided winter maintenance services.
That was 30 years ago. Today, Maguire is Manager, Full Depth Reclamation, Surface Treatment & Winter Works. His responsibilities include bidding on and securing contracts and then ensuring the right employees and equipment are in place to repair and resurface roads when construction is feasible and to keep them clear of snow and ice the rest of the time.
The Miller Group's supportive, family-oriented culture played a big part in his career development, says Maguire. Until his 2010 move to the company's Aurora office, work took him to a variety of Ontario locations to carry out many of the heavy-duty operations he now oversees. While his hands-on experience in the field provided an excellent background for his current position, Maguire soon realized he needed to expand his skill set.
"It was a bit of a shock at first to be inside and learning the other side," he recalls. "I'm grateful my supervisor has been very helpful and guided me a lot. Plus we have our own internal training program, the Miller Institute of Excellence, where you take the courses you need for your professional development. It's fantastic the way the company helps you grow into management."
Many of MIE's leadership, management and construction related courses are accredited by the Canadian Construction Association. Some of the courses that Maguire took helped him earn the CCA's Gold Seal Certification. The designation is awarded to construction management professionals who've demonstrated they meet the requirements of industry knowledge, experience, education and training.
Maguire is also a proud member the Miller Group's 25 Year Club and has the gold watch to show for it. Like many others in the club, he attends the event every other year, when new members are inducted. It's a big crowd. "When I look around, I see the majority of people are still working today," says Maguire. "That's a lot of people who've been around a long time."
President & CEO Blair McArthur is buoyed by the statistics; more than 600 people have been inducted into the 25 Year Club and of those, 56 per cent are still active employees. At the same time, he notes, the average age of all employees is just 43, meaning there are also substantial numbers of young workers on board.
Those numbers are a testament to the company's culture, including the care taken in filling positions, says McArthur. "Anybody can buy a piece of equipment," he adds, "but not everybody can hire the right people to operate it."
The Miller Group, which recently celebrated its 100th birthday, continues to grow and expand. Founded in 1917 as Routly & Summers, it became A.E. Jupp Construction in 1919. In 1946, Don Miller bought AE Jupp Construction and changed the name to Miller Paving Ltd. Then in 1976, McArthur's father, Leo, and his partner John Carrick bought the company.
Six years earlier, they had started McAsphalt Industries to supply asphalt cement to the road building industry. Carrick remained at McAsphalt while McArthur Sr. oversaw operations at Miller. The sister companies have synergies, with one supplying asphalt products and design services, and the other using them to build roads and bridges.
Today, the Miller Group builds and supports urban and rural infrastructure for clients in the public and private sectors across Canada, the southeastern United States and international markets. And while the company now has thousands of employees, it has implemented a range of initiatives to help each one feel like a member of the family.
"I firmly believe that if you take care of the people," says Blair McArthur, "the people will take care of the organization."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Miller Group, The was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018):
- Miller Group provides 16-month Professional Years training for students in their final year of civil engineering -- training takes place within the estimating department or through various projects in the field
- Miller Group participates in the Ministry of Transportation's Transportation Career Development Program as a contractor employer, offering students the opportunity to gain exposure to contractor, government, and engineering firms during their summer
Taking the highway to career success at Miller Group
When Suchit Chanana was studying civil engineering at the University of Toronto, he participated in a program that provided him with three consecutive years of summer employment. Designed to expose select students to careers in transportation, the program placed him with an engineering firm, the Ontario government, and a contractor -- the Miller Group.
Based in Markham, Ont., the construction company builds and supports urban and rural infrastructure for clients in the public and private sectors across Canada, the southeastern United States and international markets. Because he'd been made to feel like family, Chanana had already decided the Miller Group was his favourite of the three placements.
Then, when he was back at university, the Miller Group invited him to watch the final stage of a rapid bridge replacement (RBR). The company was going to swap an old Highway 401 off-ramp in north Toronto with a new bridge that had been built nearby. The monumental task on one of the busiest stretches of highway in North America was completed in just one weekend.
"Watching that RBR was a real eye-opener," recalls Chanana. "It's a very complex and innovative construction technique and not a lot of companies in Canada are doing it. It's a great opportunity to be involved in such interesting work."
Chanana, who joined the Miller Group full-time in 2014, continues to be impressed. Job rotations through different departments and Ontario locations have helped familiarize him with the company's operations. At every step, he says, he's acquired new skills while co-workers and supervisors have been friendly and helpful.
"There are a lot of people here who've been around a long time and they're eager to share their knowledge of the company and the industry," says Chanana. "I've been welcomed from Day 1."
President & CEO Blair McArthur is proud of the Miller Group's 25 Year Club and the fact that most of the people who've been inducted are still active employees. At the same time, he's dedicated to employing significant numbers of young people.
"We want to make sure there is a long-term future for this company and our people are the lifeblood," says McArthur. "Young people bring a fresh level of energy and enthusiasm to the job. They have new ideas that can challenge the established way of doing things, and that's a good thing."
The company has a wide range of programs that offer young people hands-on experience, which included hiring over 30 summer students in 2017. It works closely with several universities, providing co-op placements to those in various degree programs, including engineering, IT and finance. The Miller Group also has agreements with several Ontario ministries to provide training and apprenticeships to those in skilled trades.
Full-time employees can also access a wealth of learning opportunities. Besides informal mentoring, the company has its own internal training program, the Miller Institute of Excellence. Many of the MIE's leadership, management and construction related courses are Gold Seal accredited by the Canadian Construction Association.
For McArthur, the key message is that the Miller Group offers a far greater diversity of career paths than those not familiar with the construction industry might assume. While some kinds of projects the company undertakes have been around for eons, many of the methods deployed to complete them are cutting-edge.
"The technology is constantly changing," says McArthur. "We are always looking for the most cost-effective, safest way to do things. And while we may not be in the sexiest sector, building infrastructure drives our economy."
For Chanana, that's all part of the allure of working at the Miller Group. "Whether you're building roads or repairing them, the work is almost perpetual," he says. "I can see myself staying here a long time."