Monday, March 28, 2016

Recent COBI grad building his career while active with COBI Alumni Affiliate

Persistence, focus and recognizing the value of giving back are valuable traits positively impacting the growth and future of Daniel Miller, who graduated from COBI last spring and is now steadily building his own financial services business.

Dan Miller
When the Ashland, Ohio native first came to The University of Toledo, his intended major was pre-physical therapy, which he later changed to biomedical engineering. As a sophomore, he changed again, this time to finance with a minor in professional sales. He was now in the same college of business from which his father graduated.

“I really valued some of the opportunities given to me that were unique to COBI,” Miller said, “primarily the chance to manage a $1.5 million fund in the Student Managed Portfolio class, and a monthly luncheon with COBI Dean Gary Insch where he listened and brainstormed ideas with select student leaders. I also loved that the college was big enough to offer diversity, but small enough so you could build connections and relationships with staff and other students.”

“I know that COBI provided a solid intellectual background in my field, grew my analytical and problem solving skills, and gave me lots of opportunities to exercise my people and other skills, all which have helped tremendously in my career,” Miller observed.

His career is in the financial services industry where he is an advisor with Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (TFA), where he started while still a junior in COBI.

“I was drawn to the financial services industry by the opportunity it offered me to serve people and change their lives for the better. Our firm takes the approach of education; we teach clients what they need, we educate them on different solutions to meet their needs, then we help them make the best decision for their specific situation,” Miller said. “We're an independent firm, so we have no incentive to do anything other than give our clients the best service and solutions the industry can offer.”

He added that TFA now has offices in Maumee, Perrysburg and three other cities, and that he is also launching an office in his hometown of Ashland.

“One of my COBI professors told me to read the book, You Can't Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar, and that philosophy is how I approach education,” Miller said. “I'm a believer in experience-based learning, and there are things you can't replicate in a classroom.”

Another thing which Miller is passionate about is the impact of the College of Business and Innovation Alumni Affiliate.

“I received the COBI affiliate scholarship, and it was a tremendous blessing,” Miller said. “It not only helped me make it through my last year of school financially, but it was an affirmation that I was doing the right things in school and people were taking notice of that. Really, it confirmed to me to keep following the path I was on.”

Miller regularly attends planning meetings of the COBI Alumni Affiliate and participates in such events as the annual COBIAA Golf Outing.

“It's important for me to be active with the COBI Alumni Affiliate for a number of reasons. First, I think it's a great way to stay connected to UT at an incredibly formative stage of my life. I grew a lot in college, and that was because a lot of people did a lot of things for me that I never saw or got to say 'thank you' for. Second, it's a great way to network with other alumni. Every person that I meet through COBIAA has a common background as I do, and people like people who they can relate to.”

“Additionally,” Miller said, “I want to remain available to students as a mentor, contact, and resource. I spoke to lots of different alumni throughout my four years at COBI, many of whom made a massive impact on my life by giving me 30-60 minutes of their time. It would be very selfish of me not to remain available for others who need guidance, perspectives, and opinions.”

Beyond building his business and his commitment to the COBI Alumni Affiliate, Miller is very involved in the Christian ministry YoungLife. He also admits to being “really big into anything outdoors, so I like to hike, camp, kayak, canoe, or go on trail runs. I plan to hike all 53 fourteeners in Colorado (mountain peaks with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet), as well as Everest at some point in my life. I also hope to have an office in all 50 states.”

Miller said he realizes that “there's more to life than work and making money. Take time to enjoy what's around you: nature, family, relationships, and most importantly, the day you have been given. Being fully present in every moment makes for a higher quality of life.”

Dan can be contacted at

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