Jerry Miller has been in manufacturing most of his adult life. Starting at a manufacturing company in high school then dropping out of college to work full-time there, he gained a good deal of firsthand industry experience. In 1992, after working for a beer distributor for 16 years, Jerry purchased Trico Manufacturing and changed the name to Miller Manufacturing.
After doing business with another firm that completed work for the airline industry, Jerry was drawn to that line of work and in 2006 bought a company that made galleys for airlines to deliver food and beverages to the passengers. Then in 2011, his business saw further expansion for Miller Manufacturing, now known as American Galley Equipment, as they purchased a Texas company and moved the work to Lexington, Ohio.
American Galley equipment works extensively with other small manufacturers and companies who specialize in repairs. Their work is split almost evenly between automotive and galley kitchens for the airline industry, with some additional metal cabinet work and other metal work for local companies. For their galley work, American’s primary customers are small regional carriers but they do have clients all over the world. The company employs 28 people in Ohio with 2 employees working from Dallas, Texas as well. A family business, one of American’s employees is Jeff, Jerry’s son who started with the company in 2013.
Jerry had been coming to the NFIB/Ohio Area Action Council meetings as a guest in Mansfield for some time before fellow member Mark Fowler of Fowler Products convinced him to join in 2010. He knows NFIB is the voice for his small business and likes the idea of businesses getting involved. In fact, Jerry’s only recommendation to NFIB is to get even more businesses involved, to strengthen their collective voice. Jerry has been active in this role by bringing additional small-business owners to the NFIB meetings and helping encourage them to join as well.
Regulations from agencies such as the FAA, OSHA, and the EPA are the biggest challenges to American Galley Equipment. The FAA in particular has strict regulations on the repair and manufacturing of airline parts. Owning a small business is often a struggle, Jerry says, with the risks sometimes outweighing the rewards. Still, he loves the chance to make things, solve problems, and deal with a worldwide customer base.
Jerry Miller shows one of the galleys they manufacture for the airline industry.