Director Miller calling it quits in October ‘09

Published 1:14 am Saturday, January 19, 2008

NATCHEZ — After nearly three decades of service, Historic Natchez Foundation’s Executive Director Ron Miller has decided it’s time to retire — well, almost time.

Miller has been the only person to act as executive director since 1979.

HNF’s incoming President of the Board of Directors Margaret Perkins said when Miller leaves he will be taking a lifetime of knowledge with him.

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“He cannot be replaced, he’s far too valuable,” she said. “That’s why we are looking for his successor.”

And while Miller will not be retiring until October 2009 the search is already on for his successor.

Miller said he hopes to have someone in the office and learning the ropes by the end of the summer.

“There is going to be a lot of training,” he said.

And just where that training will begin is hard to understand.

Miller’s workspace looks more like museum storage than an office.

“There is just so much to learn,” he said.

But Miller said while his predecessor will have much to learn, the payoff is huge.

“This is a great job,” he said. “You get to see and touch all the things you have made a difference in and been a part of.”

Perkins said since Miller has been involved in so many projects in Natchez since 1979, he’s just that much harder to replace.

“He has been here since the beginning and he knows everything and every building,” she said.

Perkins said with the exception of Ron’s wife Mimi, it’s safe to say no one has the knowledge he has.

“They just won’t be able to know the things he already knows,” she said.

That’s why Miller will be helping to train his successor.

Miller said his ideal replacement would be a young grad school graduate with a love for preservation and economic development.

“This is the type of work you have to love to do,’’ he said.

Miller said the process of finding a new director will begin by word-of-mouth.

Miller said pertinent college professors will be notified to keep a look out for qualified candidates.

Miller’s retirement will coincide with his 66th birthday in October.

“I plan to devote much of my time to the study of foreign language,” he said.

Specifically Miller said he would like to become fluent in Spanish, French and Italian.

Miller also said he plans to travel.