30 In Their Thirties: Jack Miller, Southeast Michigan President, Hylant, Birmingham

Not long ago, it certainly seemed as if Jack Miller was destined for a career in football — on or off the field. Miller, who was the starting center for most of his playing career, earned three letters at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, along with honors as the Wolverines’ top offensive lineman as a junior. As a senior, he was the team’s co-captain.
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Jack Miller // Photo by Trever Long

Not long ago, it certainly seemed as if Jack Miller was destined for a career in football — on or off the field. Miller, who was the starting center for most of his playing career, earned three letters at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, along with honors as the Wolverines’ top offensive lineman as a junior. As a senior, he was the team’s co-captain.

After graduating in 2015, he jumped right into coaching as an assistant at the University of Toledo.

The coaching stint lasted for one season before Miller moved into the booth for several years as the color commentator for Toledo’s games. This fall, he’ll take a seat for his third straight season as an analyst for the Michigan football radio network.

In addition to his accomplishments as a football player, coach, and commentator, Miller earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, along with a minor in sales and marketing from the Ross School of Business. That made the abrupt turn in his career less jarring than it perhaps appeared when Miller began working for Hylant, one of the largest privately held insurance brokerages in the country.

“Let me tell you,” Miller says, “nobody grows up as a little boy or girl and says, ‘I can’t wait to get into insurance.’”

Miller has settled into what he calls his “first big-boy job,” and has been with Hylant for seven years now. He’s enjoyed a rapid rise at the company, which has its headquarters in Toledo; in his current position, he serves as the market president of southeast Michigan.

“I oversee two offices between Birmingham and Ann Arbor,” he says, “and I have the sales team under me — probably 130 people in all.”

It’s a lot of responsibility, especially for someone who’s just 30 years old. But Miller isn’t your average 30-year-old.

“When you play sports at a high level, you understand the concept of teamwork, being accountable, and doing what you say you’re going to do,” he explains. “As a center, you weren’t only worried about your job, but you had to make sure everyone else on offense was on the same page. So there’s a ton of overlap between my football career and what I’m doing now. I feel fortunate that I was preparing for a niche for years, but I didn’t really know as I was doing it.”

Not surprisingly, Miller has lofty aspirations for his sales team.

“I think the insurance industry has a reputation of being a bit old and outdated,” he says. “Our approach is more focused on building quality relationships. Hylant is one of the few companies left in the country that’s sizable, yet family owned, and we (work with everyone from) Fortune 500 companies all the way down to a mom-and-pop store on the corner.

“We compete with publicly traded and private equity-backed companies, and they do things a little different than we do, but insurance is a relationship game. It’s about who knows you and trusts you, and there’s no reason that Hylant shouldn’t be the dominant independent brokerage for the state of Michigan — and that’s my goal.”