Dane Miller
Dane Miller, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, Biomet, Inc.

 
Dr. Miller received his B.S. Degree in Mechanical Materials Science Engineering from General Motors Institute in 1969.  He then received a Masters Degree and Ph.D. in Materials Science-Biomedical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1971 and 1974, respectively.

Dr. Miller began his professional career at the Frigidaire Division, GMC in Dayton, Ohio from 1964 to 1969, working as a cooperative engineering student.  From 1972 to 1975 he was employed at Zimmer U.S.A. in Warsaw, Indiana, in the position of Director of Biomedical Engineering.  His responsibilities included engineering, prototype design and fabrication, as well as basic research support for all new product development programs.  He was also responsible for coordinating and developing a custom and special product group, including marketing, sales, and manufacturing of custom products.  From 1975 to 1978, Dr. Miller served as Director of Biomedical Engineering for Cutter Biomedical, a division of Cutter Laboratories, Inc., in San Diego, California.  His responsibilities included organizing and staffing of a complete product development group, including formal budgeting and product planning functions.  Finally, in 1978, Dr. Miller returned to Warsaw and, along with three other local individuals with orthopedic manufacturing experience formed Biomet, Inc.  Their goal was to become the most responsive company in orthopedics while simultaneously providing patients with the highest quality and most clinically proven products in the marketplace.  Since its inception in 1978 until March of 2006 Dr. Miller served as President and CEO of the company.  With Dr. Miller at the helm, Biomet grew from $17,000 in sales its first year into one of the leading musculoskeletal companies in the world – with annual sales exceeding $2 billion.

Since his retirement, Dr. Miller has participated with a group of private equity sponsors taking Biomet private in September of 2007 and serves on the Biomet Board of Directors.

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QYou left the security of an established company, Zimmer, to start Biomet.

A I was not happy with the politics of the organization. First I left for a division of Bayer in San Diego, then I moved back to Warsaw, Indiana, to start Biomet.

QYou also could have had the security of a teaching position.

A I had many opportunities to return to academia, but there was a turning point. I was asked to take over Zimmer's custom products department, which produced implants specifically for individual surgeons based on their patients' needs. That provided me an opportunity to experience full P&L responsibility and, despite my technical background, I found it to be extremely stimulating. I really enjoyed it.

QWhen you started Biomet, did you have any customers or investors lined up?

A No. We knew we had a certain amount of funding, but the big piece of funding was a $500,000 SBA guaranteed loan that didn't fall into place until a month after I moved back to Warsaw from San Diego. If that hadn't fallen into place, Biomet wouldn't be here today.

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