Spotlight on Alumni
At Triton, we seek to celebrate the success of our students and graduates! The Alumni Relations Office stays connected for life through recognition of the achievements of our alumni after leaving our gates. Each month, the success stories of our alumni will be featured in our Spotlight on Alumni series.
Creativity and a Passion for the Food Industry Lead to Success for Triton graduate, Cary Miller
Cary Miller has enjoyed a lifetime of career success in the food industry. After graduating from Triton College in 1982 with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Hospitality Industry Administration, Miller has worked with many of the most successful and well known food manufacturing, distribution and supply companies serving the industry. Since 1988, he has served as Vice President of Food Industry News, Chicagoland’s only local monthly trade publication serving all levels of the local market’s hospitality industry from foodservice to supermarkets to suppliers and food manufacturers.
Miller has been recognized by a number of professional organizations for his contributions to the hospitality industry. He was inducted as an honorary member of the American Academy of Chefs; awarded a lifetime honorary membership into the American Culinary Federation and was inducted into the Escoffier Society of Chicago. Miller has also served in a leadership role for many professional organizations and was a founding board member of the Chicago Culinary Museum and Chefs Hall of Fame, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Chicago as a culinary destination.
What have been some obstacles you’ve had to overcome in pursuit of your educational and career goals?
Being a single parent while being a general manager of a successful pizza restaurant taught me to be a strong communicator, have a strong work ethic and persevere through all of life’s challenges.
What have been some sources of inspiration both in your career and in your life?
A positive mental attitude and becoming a Master Mason and member of Shriners International has brought be inspiration, patience, understanding and insight. Also, being a leader and board member of industry associations has enabled me to build relationships and exercise my leadership abilities.
What would you consider your strong suit to be – whether skills or qualities?
My strong suit includes my creativity combined with a strong understanding of the food industry. This includes knowing what restaurants need to do to be more successful, and how suppliers can better market and solve issues that their customers have. I am also able to identify trends and see voids that exist in the market and help figure out how to help others take advantage of these opportunities.
How has Triton College impacted your life?
The leadership training I received from the faculty at Triton has helped me to “look at what I was doing” and figure out how to do it better and more efficiently and also how to instruct others.
What advice would you give someone who would like to pursue a career in your field?
Learn, study, network, be passionate, ask questions, don’t be afraid to fail, work for free and take risks in pursuit of reaching your goals. Also, do not be afraid to change the course when you realize what your strengths are or when you realize you made a mistake. It is ok to admit failure and change with the times.
What are your words of wisdom for current Triton students?
Be on time. Take school seriously. Dress for success. Act like you have the job you already want, and understand that how you act and represent yourself every day will have untold influences over the future of your career and personal success.
What are your plans for the future?
As a side project, I am developing and reinventing a food product that has been around for years but is not very good. The trademark is being registered now, and because it is being produced in a USDA facility, we will be able to market and sell it across the U.S. should we have buyer interest. My culinary training at Triton helped me to craft this product. I also plan to continue to work in publishing and to promote those who help make Chicago the finest food industry in the world.