I’ve hit the age milestone where the first thing I do when I open the daily newspaper is head straight to the obituaries. First of all, there are some great life stories told in the obits, as we called them when I worked at The Oklahoman back in the olden days.
Second, you never know whose passing you might stumble across. That happened to me in today’s edition of The Oklahoman.
As I was browsing the Sunday obits, I came across that of Phil Miller.
I was both surprised and crestfallen.
Phil was founder of OKC’s Long Wave, a high tech company that provided communications services for the U.S. Military, specifically for the big Navy jets that fly around the world and communicate via “long wave” radio frequency with the nation’s submarine force.
The Navy has a presence at Tinker Air Force Base, and Phil located Long Wave here to accommodate it. The cool thing about Long Wave is that it was located in a historic building down in Bricktown because that part of town was an opportunity zone that provided some financial benefits.
“With me, if I don’t make my quarter, I don’t care. It’s more important to do the right thing for the customer than to make the quarter. And, oh by the way, when you do that, you end up making more money.” — Phil Miller
Anyway, I got to know Phil by writing about his company on several occasions. He had an unassuming personality that seemed to welcome everybody who crossed his path. He accommodated me every time I called him out of the blue for a story, a quote or even to write a letter on behalf of another entrepreneur
Here’s a quote from a story about Long Wave’s recognition in the INC500/INC1500 for being one of the nation’s fastest growing companies:
“These awards include winning the INC500/INC5000 ten times (representing the fastest growing businesses in America). Long Wave was also an eight-time winner of the Inner City 100 for Oklahoma City. Phil was recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Governor of Oklahoma as Oklahoma’s Small Businessperson of The Year in 2006.”
You might also recognize Phil as one-time owner of the OKC Yard Dawgz Arena Football team.
OKC lost an innovator, entrepreneur and good person. Rest in peace, Phil.