They guy who took Grayson County’s computer systems from closed mainframes to the internet is set to retire next week.
After 23 years with the county, Ken Miller will leave the county’s information technology in the hands of his handpicked crew.
“Watching the growth over the last 20 plus years has been fascinating,” he said in an email lst week. “I’ve been very lucky to have a very dedicated, efficient and cohesive team to work with through that growth. Grayson County has been in the spotlight a number of times for successfully leveraging technology to improve processes that allow doing more with less. Our Criminal Justice Processes have been a benchmark for many counties and states.”
The folks that Miller will leave behind are just as proud to have worked with him.
“One of the biggest challenges I ever faced as an independent business person is finding first class, high quality IT support,” said Grayson County Judge Bill Magers in a written statement this week. “I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with an intelligent, seasoned professional like Ken Miller. His communication skills, his background in military intelligence and his tenure with the county make him an unique asset. I am especially impressed with the way he has prepared and trained his team to step into their new roles. It has been an honor to work with Ken.”
Miller began his career at Grayson County after his career in the U.S. Air Force ended.
“I enlisted at 16, went active duty at 17 after graduating High School, and retired in 1997,” Miller said. “My last 6 years in the Military were spent managing a computer systems office that directly supported bringing the B2 Stealth Bomber into active Air Force inventory. We were very technologically advanced so when I came to Grayson County it was a walk back in time for me.”
Miller first took a job with the an entity called the Grayson Governmental Data Center. That entity was jointly owned by the Grayson Central Appraisal District, the city of Denison, Texoma Council of Governments and Grayson County.
“My responsibility was to bring the county into the 21st Century regarding information technology. When I first got here there were just a handful of personal computers and maybe half a dozen dial-in accounts to the internet. The rest of the computers were known as “Dumb Terminals” or “Green Screens” running off an IBM AS/400 Mini Mainframe computer and wired via serial connections,” Miller said.
Retired Grayson County Judge Horace Groff was led the county when Miller was hired. Groff is one of four county judges Miller has worked with during his tenure with the county.
“Ken was employed in the I.T. Department and I think he became the department director after I retired.” Groff said. “He was always helpful and courteous and very skilled in his craft. He told me on more than one occasion that I could not do anything to the computer that he could not fix. That gave me a level of comfort to experiment to improve my skills.”
“My biggest challenge,” Miller said, “was convincing the entities back then the importance of investing in new technology. In 2003, the Data Center was dissolved and brought under Grayson County as the Grayson County Information Technology department. From 2003 on we experienced a steady growth in technology and are still experiencing that to this day. I had the pleasure of serving a very forward-thinking user base as well as a supportive Commissioners Court over the years.This combination was a very pleasant surprise for me.”
His work was a pleasant surprise, it seems, for everyone who led the county after Miller was hired there.
Former Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum said, ” Ken was really the guy who took the County into the technology era. He assembled a great team and really made great strides in the early years of Information Technology. Most of what the County uses daily in the technology arena, is because of Ken’s ingenuity and foresight. He’s been a great asset to the County and his diligent work ethic will be missed.”
Miller said he and his wife Erin will both retire on Wednesday.
“We requested no hoopla. We will just be here one day and gone the next,” Miller said. He said his wife has been with the county for 22 years. She started as felony secretary in the District Attorney’s Office and then moved to the Tax Office and then to the Purchasing Office before moving back to the Tax Office as the chief deputy.
The Millers had planned to retire at the end of December, but Ken Miller’s fight with the COVID-19 virus made them decide to move that date up.