Connecting the dots
By Nancy Ridgeway
August 12, 2013
Senior Ryan Miller thinks of his Bradley experience as a toolbox of education and skills that are preparing him well for the real world.
“Through every facet of life, we use our toolboxes to evaluate situations and break them down,” Miller says. His toolbox includes a quality education and problem-solving abilities built as a mechanical engineering major; leadership skills honed as president of Bradley’s Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO) and former member of Student Senate; hands-on experience acquired from internships at Motorola Mobility and at Bradley’s Turner Center for Entrepreneurship; and business background gained from participating in (and winning) the Project Springboard New Venture Competition, becoming involved in Bradley’s new Turner School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and from operating his own disc jockey business.
“It’s valuable to see the connections between everything,” Miller said. “I don’t operate in one avenue or arena. Everything is interlaced, and it’s a matter of figuring out how to optimize my experiences.”
He appreciates the opportunities afforded by the Turner School, which allows students in all majors to learn about the business world. Miller has been helping Dr. Gerald Hills, the school’s founding academic executive director, promote Project Springboard, Brave Pitch, and other entrepreneurship events on campus. “Many students don’t understand the concept of entrepreneurship. Dr. Hills is creating an environment where students are having fun with entrepreneurship.”
Miller also is impressed with Bradley’s plans for a business and engineering convergence center. In fact, students like Miller who want to apply their engineering background in the business marketplace are at the heart of the University’s efforts to make the convergence center a reality. He hopes his mechanical engineering background and entrepreneurial experiences will lead to a successful business venture after he graduates.
Reflecting on his first Project Springboard effort, Miller says his internship sparked an idea that met a need in the marketplace. At Motorola Mobility, Miller worked on the new Droid RAZR and says, “My passions were fired by mobile technology. I then participated in Project Springboard, and my team created a mobile device charging belt. This idea came to me because the leading problem with cell phones is losing battery power.
“I look forward to participating in Project Springboard in the coming year. I have several ideas, and it’s a matter of figuring out which one is best to take forward.”
Miller said, “My Motorola internship taught me to understand it’s not just about creating a design or a gadget. It’s also the selling, the marketing. I learned to take a very holistic view.”
Calling his future an open canvas, Miller holds one certainty. He wants to own a business. “It’s really important for me to be working on my own vision. I can get a lot more passion with something I’m driven to.”12