There is an old saying that that the cream always rises to the top. Many in Houston will agree that retiring Hobby Airport general manager, Perry Miller fits that bill. To honor Miller, the Hobby District hosted a retirement reception filled with food, laughter and friends earlier this week.
An admiring crowd gathered to honor a man genuinely respected and loved by the community, and for good reason. Miller has deep roots here, working his way up from the bottom to become the cream of the crop.
Miller grew up in Houston, and after graduating high school here, attended the Airway Science Management program at Texas Southern University. He’d been awarded the Dean’s List Scholarship that was partially funded by the (now defunct) Hobby Area Chamber/Gulfway Hobby Airport Rotary club. That’s where he met now-Hobby Area District chairman Danny Perkins. Perkins was then working for the Houston Airport System (HAS), and was at Texas Southern serving as a guest lecturer for a class that Miller was attending.
“I admired that he had a sincere interest in truly learning the airport business, and not just schmoozing me for a job,” recalled Perkins as he spoke in honor of Miller at the reception.
Miller earned his B.S. in Airway Science Management in 1990, and became an intern with the Houston Airport System in 1991. He was, in fact, one of the very first to enter the internship program. While there he was also a founding member and the first president of the Student Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives and the President of the Institute of Transportation Engineers. His formal education didn’t stop there, and he eventually went back and received a Masters in Transportation Management and Planning from Texas Southern University, and was awarded accreditation by both the American Association of Airport Executives and the Airport Management Professional Accreditation Program.
Miller spent 24 loyal years working in the Houston Airport System, rising from that original internship position to eventually become – at different times – general manager of all three airports run by HAS; Ellington Field, Bush Intercontinental, and Hobby.
His most notable accomplishments include the consolidation of the rental car facility at Bush, the Hobby central concourse modernization and most recently the newly opened international concourse at Hobby. In addition, he was a key member of Bush Intercontinental Airport’s leadership team when the airport received the J.D. Power & Associates Award as the #1 US Airport for Customer Satisfaction. He also instrumental in achieving of a 95% customer satisfaction rate at Hobby over his tenure there.
His life’s work in Houston wasn’t just about airport management though, it was also about faith and family. Miller is a devoted husband and father as well as an ordained minister of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, coincidentally also located in his beloved Hobby District. Miller was clearly a man that touched many people’s lives in many ways.
While Tuesday evening was filled with accolades and praise for all the work Miller had done in the Houston area, there was also plenty of laughter and love.
As Perkins put it, “If you haven’t figured out one thing, you’ve figured out that this is a family. Here at Hobby we’ve got people who’ve been part of the family dating back 30 years. And, what you’ve also noticed is that there was a camaraderie, a support base, where we helped lift each other up. Perry, when you move on, just know that you’ve still got your family here.”
Miller also spoke, recognizing the contributions all those who were in attendance made towards his success.
“Each one of you has played a role in it,” said Miller. “I don’t know if you know how important you are to me, but you should know that each one of you has played a significant role in my success and that not one, no man, no woman, is successful on their own. You are the people who have helped this organization to be one of the most prestigious organizations in the world.”
Miller also commented on the Hobby Area District’s influence and impact on his life.
“Thank you to all the members of the Hobby Management District, who pour their life out to ensure that this community has the best for those who come to this city, and experience it,” he remarked.
The Hobby District owes a great deal to Miller, and wishes him continued great success as he moves to his new job as the Chief Operating Officer for the Jackson International Airport in Jackson, Mississippi.