Dealerscope 2019 40 Under 40: Bryan Mills, Mills Technologies
For a look at the rest of the 2019 40 Under 40 honorees, be sure to check out our 40 Under 40 homepage.
Name: Bryan Mills
Job Title: President
Company: Mills Technology
Years in the Industry: 10
Major Accomplishments that you’re proud of: My biggest contribution to my company was in creating separation between our design, installation, and support services. While most of our business is still installation, today we generate revenue in and out of market with design services, and continue to build our support model, including RMR. Through these efforts, and by increasing outreach to the design community, our business has doubled in size, both in revenue and personnel. I also take great pride in being the third generation in my family to run our business. I’ve now run the company for 10 of our 80-year history, and there is a unique sense of continuity.
What do you like best about your job?: I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed coaching the professional development of others. I’ve found that many people in this industry, including our company, are exceptionally bright, but because of circumstance didn’t have the chance to pursue college or vocational school. Technology is especially meritorious: if you can do a great job, there are opportunities. I love watching team members turn a job into a career.
What do you like least about your job?: We as the residential technology industry have conditioned others not to adequately value our time. When I started in this industry ten years ago, the design and support of technology systems was often deemed complimentary. Clients felt that they had access to us personally at all hours... because we let them have access to us at all hours. It’s exciting to see this changing.
Favorite hobby: Any time I can disconnect and travel with my family is time well spent. We try to do 2-3 trips a year where we explore new areas of the US. That’s usually when I find time seems to slow down.
Last book you read: I’m a connoisseur of the Piggie & Gerald series with my two younger daughters, though I’m excited to be starting The Hobbit with my two older sons.
Who is your hero and why?: My heroes are small business owners. They are really the ones driving innovation and employment in this country – plus they actually pay taxes. They are close enough to their employees to understand the human impact of business decisions. And they bear all the risk. Of course, being a 3rd generation small business owner, I’m biased.
Favorite consumer tech device: The Sonos Amp. It’s a high-performance piece, but it’s also accessible to people’s budgets. It works great standalone with an app, but also as a part of a larger system. Our industry needs more products like this.
What you’d be doing if you weren’t in tech: I’d like to think that I’d be working in a role where technology can add to the greater good, and hopefully we’ll see our own industry move more into that space.
What’s the biggest problem the industry faces today, and how would you fix it?: In residential technology integration, too much focus has been paid to the installation of systems and the sale of equipment – because that is where the margins are. We’ve always undersold the value of our time. Our greatest value should be in the design and support of these systems, as these contribute most greatly to the customer experience. As equipment margins decrease and larger players enter our market, the successful companies will be the ones that are able to sell the value of our expertise.
What’s your outlook for the CE industry for the next five years?: There is going to be more and more money spent in the CE industry. Because of that, we will continue to see more smart, accomplished people enter this industry, which in turn will lead to better and more professional organizations. I’m sure the “40 Under 40” list five years from now will dwarf our accomplishments – and I hope they do.