EDF CEO Ryan Miller speaks at first Coffee & Conversations chamber event

Published 9:07 am Monday, April 8, 2024

“We get to live here.”

If you’ve lived in Oxford long enough, you’ve heard that saying from government officials, business owners and residents.

It was said by Lafayette County Economic Development CEO Ryan Miller’s father, the late Cpt. Max Miller while walking around the University of Mississippi campus when Ryan Miller was a student.

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Miller was the guest speaker at the Oxford and Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce’s first Coffee & Conversation morning meeting on Friday.

His mission is to work with Oxford, Lafayette County and university leaders to continue to make our area a place “we get to live” in, but to be a place where businesses and industries want to be as well.

Miller was named the CEO of the EDF in February.

After living in Oxford for several years and working at the university’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence, he served for three years as the executive director of the Mississippi Office of Workforce Development, known as AccelerateMS when he was offered the chance to “come home.”

Miller told the about 30 people attending the Coffee & Conversation meeting that he hopes to use some of what he learned in Jackson and bring it to his new role at the EDF, including what he called the “Four Cs” – communication, cooperation, coordination and consistency.

Miller said that Oxford is special and unique, not just because of where it’s located or for having the university here, but because people working hard to keep it that way.

“So when my dad would say, ‘We get to live here,’ we have a responsibility. We’ve got to be intentional. We’ve got to be understanding that if we want to maintain and protect what makes this place special and unique, while at the same time allowing it to grow, things don’t stay the same. It’s just the reality of things that today is wonderful and that tomorrow is going to be different … And I think we can balance being able to protect what we love.”

Miller hopes to create jobs in Lafayette County by bringing in more industry; however, he said that probably won’t include going after a 2,000-employee factory.

“We don’t have the population density, and we honestly don’t have the space prepared for something like that,” he said. “So I’m not going to go after Toyota or PACCAR… But we can go after the companies that are service providers to them… that can build on the proximity to Marshall County mega sites like that, to provide folks out in the county opportunities for increased wages, better jobs and that might help with some infrastructure needs.”