Six Employees Celebrate 30, 35 Or 40-year Anniversaries At CJ Miller LLC
It was 30 years ago that Andrew Ozminski walked into the Hampstead Office of CJ Miller LLC for an interview with Charles “Buck” Miller Jr.
Andy looked out the window and saw the mud flaps blowing on the trucks and a helicopter landed. Buck came up the steps fixing his hair and said to Andy, “Are you my 4 o’clock?”
Andy, who has been fascinated with trucks since he was a young boy and started driving right after high school, was hired on the spot and has been driving for CJ Miller for three decades.
“It’s been 30 years, but it feels like 10,” said Andy, who enjoys spending time with his grandchildren and riding his motorcycle outside of work.
CJ Miller Senior Operator Robert “Bobby” Warehime Jr., who is celebrating his 40-year anniversary with CJM, feels similarly about his job.
“I always knew I wanted to do this,” he said. “I love running equipment. It’s like playing toys in the sandbox except bigger toys.”
In addition to Bobby and Andy, 43 other CJ Miller employees are celebrating 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 or 40-year anniversaries in 2018.
“I think it’s awesome,” said CJM President CJ Miller III. “I know I can count on these guys to get the job done and get it done right. I know they have been doing this work for years, and that they know what they’re doing and they care about their work.”
Fine Grading Superintendent John Carver was just 26 when he started on the paving crew 35 years ago. He, along with several of his coworkers, basically “grew up with the company,” working their way up the ranks. He’s seen his fair share of projects over the years, but one that stands out is Mondawmin Mall.
“It was a challenging job with where it was located, and it went a lot better than people thought it would,” he said.
When he reflects on his career, John is proud of how he moved up the ranks and that he can count on one hand the amount of times he has ever called in sick.
Driver Bruce Harman was about to lose his apartment and job when he came to CJ Miller 40 years ago and asked to talk to the Buck.
“I told Buck, ‘Anything you want, I can learn,’” he said. “I was looking for a place to retire from. Back then, that’s what you did. I started on the fine grading crew, kickin’ marks in the dirt, then I was assigned to drive TD20.”
“There’s a nice variety here,” said Bruce. “In this job you might spread stone or haul blacktop or work under a Gradall.”
He chuckled at the thought of being one place for 40 years. “Makes you wonder where it went,” he said.
When Leonard “Gene” Thomas was 24, he came to CJ Miller to do landscaping. He spent his first day on the pipe crew, his second day grading and his third day doing blacktop. In his 30 years with the company, he worked his way up to Foreman and eventually Paving Superintendent.
After so many years of doing it, he enjoys the simplicity of paving and even likes the smell of asphalt. “When you’re done, you can look back and say, ‘I did that.’”
Gene, whose daughter Taylor also works for CJ Miller, is proud of moving up through the company ranks, but also of all they young men he worked with/mentored who are currently foreman in the company.
“I think it’s great we’ve got guys who work for us who are willing to take the time to share their skills with the next generation of workers, “ said Vice President William “Billy” Miller. “There’s a lot to learn with paving or excavating and these guys are great teachers.”
Site Superintendent Paul Bankard was just 17 when he started at CJ Miller. He started out as a laborer mowing grass, then became an Assistant Foreman, Foreman and Site Superintendent.
“Back then you worked hard and learned the trade,” he said. “You showed up, got rewarded and moved up. I was always moving up on equipment and continuously learning. It kept you interested.”
Over the years, he has seen good and bad experiences and learned from both. He’s most proud of starting a job from nothing and working toward the goal of getting the job done.
“You’re only as good as the guys you have working for you,” he said.
For Bobby Warehime, staying has been about the people.
“They are great people to work with – better than anywhere I’ve ever been,” he said. “
Over the years, the men noted that the equipment has evolved, navigating the highways has become more challenging, and job sites have become more congested as everyone pushes to get more done quickly. Below is the type of person they think should apply at CJ Miller today.
Who will succeed at CJ Miller:
- Someone who takes their job seriously and has personal pride in doing it right the first time
- Someone with a big dose of common sense and who knows how to work with other machines
- A team player who works with you and makes the job go smoothly
- A young worker with the capability of moving up the ranks
- Someone who actually wants to learn and put forth the effort to learn and doesn’t expect to get paid for standing around