During summer vacations and after high school and college graduation, lifelong friends Jack Miller and James Long worked for the same construction company, learning every aspect of the business in jobs ranging from laborer and carpenter helper to timekeeper and engineer. After active military service in World War II, the young men returned home to Washington, DC, to plan for the future. They were convinced that great opportunities were ahead in the field of construction and decided to start a business of their own to pursue them. With borrowed capital, a new Ford truck; a fifty-dollar investment in tools; a three-line newspaper ad and encouragement from their wives; Miller & Long opened for business on February 1, 1947.
The early years challenged the partners to be flexible and innovative; working in the field by day and on bookkeeping, payroll and estimating at night in the basements of their homes. Business grew slowly at first but steadily as Miller & Long Co., Inc. built a reputation for fair dealing with customers and delivering quality services on consistent and reliable schedules with no work stoppages. Early projects included street and alley paving, sidewalks, stores, and warehouses, churches, schools, shopping centers and small apartment developments. In 1957, the company moved into its first commercial space and hired its first employee to handle office duties.
Throughout the boom in high-rise construction in the 1960s, Miller & Long developed new methods and techniques that later became standard best practices in the industry. The company pioneered the use of electrically-powered climber cranes and tall tracked tower cranes that are in widespread use today. Miller & Long was the first contractor to use high speed conveyors to place concrete on high rise buildings and the first in the Washington, D.C., area to use banding straps and clamps to reduce the cost of concrete column forms. Miller & Long also introduced the use of large bins for hauling trash and construction debris away from job sites. Combining expertise in concrete construction and experience with technological innovations, Miller & Long trained contractors and advised architects and engineers on projects that built the modern skylines of the greater Washington DC area. In over 70 years of business operations, Miller & Long has completed a portfolio of more than $5 billion in concrete construction projects.
From the beginning, Jack Miller and James Long set the course for growth and applied the policy of fair dealing to employees as well as to their customers. Miller & Long offered employees financial assistance with night school and was among the first companies in the industry to offer employee health insurance and profit sharing plans. By training and advancing employees from within the company, Miller & Long developed highly efficient management teams and skilled workers. Today, our commitment to training, site management, innovation, quality craftsmanship, and outstanding customer service continues to set Miller & Long apart as an industry leader.
John Frank Miller III December 27, 1921 – October 3, 2013
It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of our great founder, John F. Miller III. He was an inspiration to us all over many years. Please find his obituary here.
Miller & Long 60th Anniversary: Jack Miller Interview, 2007