Five things to know about Rodrick Miller, new CEO of Miami-Dade Beacon Council

Courtesy of the Beacon Council

Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the county’s public-private economic development agency, has a new CEO, Rodrick Miller, 45, who will start his job on Feb. 15.

Miller, a South Carolina native fills the shoes left by Michael Finney, who died in April 2022. Miller has worked in economic development for 20 years and has led similar economic development agencies all over the United States, and most recently in Puerto Rico.

The Miami Herald spoke with Miller on Monday, the day the Beacon Council announced his hiring. Here are five things you need to know about him.

1. He’s an army brat who has lived all over the world

Miller was born in Manning, South Carolina, a small town between Charleston and Columbia. His father was a military officer and moved the family a lot for his military work, so Miller attended 17 different schools from kindergarten through high school.

2. He’s a piano player and a music fan

A lifelong piano player, Miller grew up playing in church and throughout college. Outside of work, he’s most excited about diving into Miami’s live music scene, and trying its endless menu of diverse restaurants. He wants to learn to salsa dance, despite having two left feet.

3. He’s trilingual

Miller grew up only speaking English, but learned Spanish after studying abroad in Spain as a college undergraduate and later as a Fulbright fellow in Mexico, where he got a graduate degree. He’s gained full fluency and ran Invest Puerto Rico, the island’s economic development agency, where he lived from 2019 through 2022. He’s a soccer player and said people always thought he was Brazilian so he learned to speak Portuguese, too.

4. His vision for Miami relies heavily on immigrants, global diversity

Miller hopes to keep Miami on the map as a city with a global workforce, luring foreign businesses with the promise of encountering an educated, diverse and multilingual workforce. He says the buzz from pandemic startups and corporate headquarters relocating to Miami is still out there, and has been encouraged by the energy he’s found in the business and political communities.

5. He thinks there’s a way to leverage Miami’s climate change vulnerability

Miami has to face the realities of climate change, he said. Since the city isn’t the only community with that challenge, he wants Miami to be a place for companies who want to innovate sustainably. The city, he said, is in a prime position to attract companies tackling challenges that come with climate change and be a global leader at it.