You Should Know...... Henry Brown

Henry Brown is the CEO of family-owned Miller Electric Company

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Miller Electric Company, founded by Henry Miller in 1928 and part of Brown’s family since 1966. As the third-generation leader of the 1,500-employee Jacksonville-based company, which operates nationwide and primarily in the Southeast, Brown is moving the headquarters from Riverside to a larger location in Southpoint.

My responsibility is the overall executive leadership of the company. I focus on strategy and positioning our financial resources and our people, being our biggest resource, to make sure we are all aligned culturally and that we are all executing on strategy.

My grandfather, Buck Autrey, worked his way up through the company and became president in 1966. He led the company as president, CEO and later chairman up to 2012. He remains on our board of directors and is our chairman emeritus. My mother, Susan Walden, was CFO until recently and is active on the board.  My uncle, Ron Autrey, was president from 2004-12 and remains on the board as chairman.

We had our most recent generational transition six years ago. When my uncle retired, we consolidated ownership among our branch of the family. My brother, Daniel Brown, is COO. I’m CEO, and my mother is our executive vice president.

It’s actually a fifth-generation company. It went from Mr. Miller to his daughter, Jane Wynn, then to my grandfather and then my mother and my uncle and then to my brother and me. We had such a great opportunity to learn from each other.

Family business has its challenges. There’s never really a separation between work and family. When you’re at work, you’re dealing with family. When you’re at home, you’re still dealing with business. It’s not a matter of having work-life balance. It’s a matter of how you integrate the two. An important part of family business is everyone, whether you’re active or not, needs to stay aligned and emotionally invested in each other.

We focus heavily in the health care industry, the data center industry and heavy industrial companies, such as the paper industry, power plants and steel mills. We know those companies rely on our services to be able to execute their mission.

I started my career outside of the company and outside of the industry. I started in public accounting and realized I didn’t want to do that, but it was a great background. Accounting is the language of business.

I moved from there into the accounting and finance department of Atlantic Marine, now BAE Systems. A few years later, the opportunity was right for me to transition to the


My grandfather was able to buy up a lot of property around our original building here on Rosselle Street, and we were able to expand into multiple buildings. We’ve maxed out and we need more space. Moving to Southpoint Parkway and being able to combine our Jacksonville employees from seven buildings to one, and significantly increasing our square footage, will provide room to grow.

We have three daughters that are 12, 10 and 10. They keep my wife, Jennifer, and me busy. We like to spend time on the water. We have a boat and take them tubing and swimming. We also like to travel, and I enjoy playing golf.

We take a long-term approach in everything we do at the company. We have a generational horizon. We’re not so worried about the next quarter or the next year. I want to make sure the company is in a good position 20 years from now. I hope that at least one of our daughters, maybe all of them, will have an opportunity to come here and be able to contribute. Eventually I’d love to see one of them take over the company, if that’s what they want to do.



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