Miller Readies For New Post At Pensacola City Hall
After nearly two decades at the Port of Pensacola, Amy Miller begins new duties at the city’s new Deputy City Administrator on Monday, June 14.
Miller joined the Port of Pensacola in 2002, and was named the Port’s first female Director in 2013. She will continue to oversee the port, as well as the other enterprise divisions — Pensacola International Airport, Sanitation Services, Pensacola Energy, and Parking Management. She succeeds Dick Barker, who is retiring after four decades with the city.
“Really, what attracted me to it was the opportunity to have some new challenges; I’ve worked with all of the enterprises throughout the years, but never have worked directly in any of those industries other than the port industry,” Miller said. “So I’m looking forward to how they do their business, and being a part of their team.”
Once in her new job, Miller concedes that there will be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the agencies other than the port. She is going in with the knowledge that one major challenge is the airport.
“The big issue for the airport is going to be keeping up with the growth,” said Miller. "And how to potentially advance their long-range strategic plan to put in place the infrastructure necessary to support the growth that we’re seeing, and continuing to see, at the airport. That’s probably the biggest one right out of the gate.”
Miller is expected to bring her approach to management — a team-oriented style — from the port to City Hall along with some things learned from her predecessor.
“One of the things Dick Barker taught me was, sometimes the best way you can help someone succeed is to stay out of their way and let them succeed,” said Miller. “So it’s really going to be knowing when to let the enterprises continue to succeed as they have, and when to step in and try to give them some assistance when they need it.”
“Amy has shown her capacity; once we really allowed her to effectively to go market [the port] as a niche, she took it from being in the red to being in the black and very successful,” said Pensacola mayor Grover Robinson. “So, I’m confident she’s going to be very successful at what she does with leading our other organizations.”
Robinson adds that Miller’s time at the port didn’t play into the decision to promote her.
“We indicated that, because this is the first time we’ve really picked a position of that significance after I’d already announced I wasn’t going to run [for reelection], we’re going to try to do everything in-house, and work with that,” said the mayor.
In all, four candidates interviewed for the job, who were, says the mayor, “incredibly good” and the city could not have gone wrong by selecting any of them.
“We chose Amy because she was the best choice for us and the city,” Robinson said. “I think she offers a great opportunity, and I think if we’d had an open selection that would have been a national selection, I’m not so sure that we wouldn’t have also picked Amy. I’m confident she’s going to do a great job.”
Robinson also expressed confidence in Clark Merritt, currently Assistant Port Director and Miller’s successor on an interim basis.
“Clark is going to be a great asset; he’s been groomed for a while to eventually take over the port, so I’m not worried about where the port is – the port will be in very good hands,” the mayor said. “And so it worked out where we had those opportunities to bring those in. Those individuals are there because of who they are, not because of any necessarily department, one way or the other.”
And Amy Miller echoed the mayor’s comments about Merritt.
“From the moment [Merritt] came to the port six years ago, he really has immersed himself in the port business, in the port industry, and learning everything he can learn about it, in a relatively short amount of time,” Miller said. “So I think he’s going to do a terrific job as interim port director.”
Miller entered the seaport industry in 1993; she worked at ports in South Louisiana and Gulfport, Mississippi before coming to Pensacola in 2002. Four years later she was named Assistant Port Director and in 2013, she was promoted to director, the job she leaves next week.