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Raymond A. Miller Jr.: A love of metal construction and a competitive work ethic earns Raymond Miller a spot in the hall of fame

2012 Metal Construction Hall of Fame

Hof Miller Raymond 2

"I was actually hired as a salesman through an employment agency," says Raymond Miller Jr. of his start at Fleming Building Co. "I had 90 days to produce or be released." Not only was Miller not released, but under his eventual leadership, Fleming Building Co., Tulsa, Okla., has grown and prospered, becoming one of the leading metal building contracting companies in the country. During his more than 50 years of employment and ownership, Fleming has specialized in industrial and commercial construction and been a Butler Career Builder for more than 30 years. Miller also served on Butler Manufacturing's Builder Advisory Council for three separate terms (1990-1994, 1999-2002, 2004-2007).

For those accomplishments and his role in driving the industry toward greater professionalism, Raymond A. Miller, Jr. has been selected for the Metal Construction Hall of Fame.

Metal motivations

What were some of Miller's early influences and career motivators? "Mr. Fleming sent me to Butler's School, which was a great motivator," Miller says. "The initiation into the world of pre-engineered metal buildings has stayed with me for 47 years. Butler introduced me to the design- build process 45 years ago, which has continued to be an excellent advantage in attracting customers, many of which are repeat."

Fleming is currently licensed and/or registered in 42 states, having constructed projects in 39 states, and self-performs pre-engineered building erection nationwide. In addition to customerdriven projects for Fleming, Miller has also lead an investment group for the past 25 years, developing speculative and build-to-suit projects utilizing pre-engineered buildings, supporting the industry where other developers remain in the "conventional" market segment.

Fleming has been Butler Manufacturing's National High-Volume Builder-of-the-Year four times: 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2007. Fleming is consistently ranked in the top 10 of Metal Construction News' Top 100 Metal Builders, having achieved a rank of #4 in 2001, #6 in 2004, #2 in 2005 and #1 in 2011. To date, in addition to the countless buildings that they've developed for themselves, Fleming has also erected over 55 million square feet of pre-engineered buildings for Wal-Mart alone.

"What's important to me about the metal construction industry is when I started in 1965, metal construction was a 'shade-and-shelter' business," says Miller. "The industry received less than 12 percent of the Dodge Awards. Now we have over 50 percent of the market and have developed very sophisticated and competitive systems. The best part is the MR-24 standing seam roof is the best roof system in the industry making leaks a problem of the past."

A recipe for success

What has been his recipe for success? "I am highly competitive and have cultivated an excellent team of employees, allowing Fleming to be self-performing. Self-performed steel erection has been very key to our success."

But despite a successful career, he has had to overcome obstacles. "After becoming sole owner in 1974, the specter of bankruptcy was huge, but by being up front with all my creditors we worked everything out with no interruption of business and left no one unpaid once I was back on my feet," he says. "Another milestone obstacle was when we broke up the Building Trade Council in Tulsa after enduring picket lines for three years."

In addition to a love for metal building construction and design, he also enjoys ranching, golf and traveling. Staying active and sharing his talents with others, he's on the Executive Board of Directors of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, the current Chairman of the Infrastructure Development Advisory Board for the City of Tulsa and even on the Board of Directors of his favorite charity, The Gatesway Foundation.