John and Marilyn Miller

When John and Marilyn Miller pledged $100,000 to the Food Engineering Research Laboratory Fund, he sought a matching donor.

The idea came from Mr. Miller’s experiences with the Dublin AM Rotary Club. Members making charitable donations were able to double or even triple the impact of their generosity when they found organizations or individuals willing to match.

Miller asked The Haskell Company, a design, engineering and construction firm based in Jacksonville, Fla., to match. As a result, the Millers’ $100,000 gift became a $200,000 gift.

The donation benefits research of Clean-In-Place (CIP) processes and related activities at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

“Research is the key to all of this,” Miller said. You have to have the hard data and it has to be done by a reputable organization, and universities are the place to make this happen.”

Matching the Millers’ donation to the Food Engineering Research Laboratory Fund supports the development of technology that benefits everyone, said Paul Tyler, senior vice president -- Food & Beverage Division, The Haskell Company.

“The technology that comes out of the research in that lab is for the benefit of all -- not just our customers, but the end result is safer, higher-quality food for consumers,” Tyler said.

The Haskell Company acquired Seiberling Associates two years ago. Miller, who had been President/CEO of Seiberling, stayed on as company president through 2014. Haskell matched Miller’s fund to acknowledge his accomplishments in the industry, Tyler said.

“He is a very big supporter of Ohio State. It was important for us to show the same support. The research they are doing is directly related to the business we are in. It helps our engineers and it helps our customers,” Tyler said.

The decision to give to Ohio State for research purposes was easy for the Millers. He is an alum of the college, and she works as a patient care coordinator in the Ohio State Dental Implant Clinic.

With this gift, the Millers honor the late Dr. James Harper because of his significant teaching and research contributions to students and to the dairy and food industry.

Harper, a longtime Ohio State professor who died in July 2014, had been the J.T. “Stubby” Parker Chair in Food Science and Technology. An innovator in the development of whey protein powder, Harper had a profound impact on the food industry as a whole and Mr. Miller’s career path in particular.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without a person like Dr. Harper. Professors don’t make a lot of money, but they affect the lives of people in ways they never know,” Mr. Miller said.

Also, Harper had worked closely with Dale Seiberling in the 1950s to develop the principles of Clean-in-Place, a cost-efficient system to clean machine parts without disassembly, Mr. Miller said.

“Cleaning is not the most exciting subject, but it is one of the things that are absolutely crucial to running a food business,” he said. “The #1 use of water in a food plant is cleaning. We can reuse 90 percent of the water. … The technology is there. You have to make it cost-effective.”

Miller had been working with Dr. Seiberling at Ecolab in Beloit, Wisc. when Seiberling founded his company in 1976. Miller co-founded the company and served as process/sales engineer. He became president/CEO in 1997, after purchasing the company.

Although he recently retired from Seiberling, Miller plans to spend some time volunteering at the college, lending his engineering expertise on research projects related to water conservation and clean water.

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences appreciates the generosity of all its donors. Donate on the Web by clicking here.