The Maverick CEO is in the Building

Dane Miller, a UC and CEAS alumni, came back to speak to students about his road to success as founder and CEO of Biomet.

Date: November 5, 2010

By: Kelley Ujvary


Dane Miller

“The best opportunity to learn is when things turn out differently than expected.” 

On October 20, 2010, Dane Miller, a University of Cincinnati and CEAS alumnus came back to his alma mater and spoke to over one hundred CEAS students and faculty.  They were all gathered to hear the ‘Maverick CEO’ speak about his success with Biomet, a medical device company that designs and manufactures orthopedic products for surgeons.  Attendees learned all about the facets of Biomet including year-to-year happenings, setbacks and triumphs.    

Biomet was founded by Miller in 1977 with a mere eight team members.  Today, the company has over sixty locations and over six thousand team members.  In 2010 the company grossed 2.7 billion dollars  However, it was not always an easy road to success, as Miller has to come to discuss with these future engineers but “I can’t think of a more gratifying and stimulating career” says Miller. 

Everyone in attendance received a copy of Miller’s recently released book, The Maverick CEO, an account of Miller’s life including his time at UC, the start, struggles and success of Biomet— including Miller’s decision to step down as CEO in 2006 to spend more time with his wife, daughters and grandchildren.  Miller still remains on the board and has a great deal of involvement in the company. 

Miller has amassed a wide range of accomplishments including being named Entrepreneur of the Year (1989), being awarded the Small Business Administration National Entrepreneurial Success Award by President George Bush (1991), creating several new joint replacement systems, and servicing over one million patients annually. 


One specific success story that Miller highlighted in his address to the students was a touching story about Mohamed and Ahmed Ibrahim, twins conjoined at the head at birth.  Biomet had the innovational challenge of designing a device that would prepare the twins for skull reconstruction surgery to provide them with a chance at living a normal life.  The design was the first of its kind and allowed the twins skulls to grow so that they could be the happy, healthy nine year olds they are today.

This UC alum had plenty of great advice to provide to the students including that the co-op program was one of the best things he took away from his college experience.  “I really think co-op education is an important part of engineering education providing students with real-world, hands-on experiences that can help them develop and grow as professionals.”  Miller said he learned a lot through UC and the co-op program including working with all types of engineers from electrical to mechanical and biomedical to effect a common solution.