A.C. Miller Concrete Products opened for business in the early 1960s with a single precast plant in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. The product line consisted mainly of septic tanks and related small products – all manufactured in a five-thousand square foot facility. With founder Arthur C. Miller at the helm, A.C. Miller Concrete Products (A.C. Miller) gained early traction servicing a mostly residential client base throughout the Philadelphia metro region.
Steady growth precipitated a move in 1968 to an 11-acre greenfield site in Devault, Pennsylvania – 10 minutes south of the original facility. Shortly thereafter Art challenged the patents owned by the Quickset organization. He won the suit in 1971 thereby freeing all producers to cast utility and other structures in efficient, monolithic two-piece segments. For the next 20 years A.C. Miller led the massive utility build-out that crossed the country. This infrastructure expansion allowed the company to forge relationships with key utility players including the likes of Bell Labs, PECO Energy, Florida Power and Light, and Public Service Electric and Gas, among others.
The Devault campus spawned multiple spin-off companies, including the Pennsylvania Insert Corporation (PA Insert) and the Devault Crane Company. In PA Insert Art succeeded in developing and marketing corrosion resistant precast concrete accessories. Such patented products as the plastic insert, the plastic coasted pulling iron, and the plastic sump reflected the golden age of plastics in industry. By the early 1980s metal fabrication in the form of aluminum and steel access hatches rounded out the product offerings. These products and many more still dominate the market for utility precast accessories.
Art foresaw that delivery and, more importantly, installation of massive concrete vaults would differentiate A.C. Miller from the competition. He partnered with his brother Bill Miller (widely known to many in the industry as “Uncle Bill”) to fulfill that service-oriented vision. From 1970-1995 Bill designed and built A.C. Miller’s entire fleet of hydraulic truck-mounted boom cranes under the auspices of the Devault Crane Company. Ranging in setting capacity from 10 to 25 tons, Devault Cranes became the industry standard for heavier precast delivery and installation. Although no longer manufactured, Devault cranes populate precaster fleets across the country to this day.
In 1973 A.C. Miller opened a second plant in western Pennsylvania. Located 40 minutes east of Pittsburgh in the town of Blairsville, the facility began as a 10,000 square foot converted cow-shed, complete with dirt floors and milking stalls. Incremental investment allowed the operation to grow steadily with the regional economy. The Blairsville plant now serves transportation, utility and heavy civil construction markets from Eastern Ohio to Harrisburg, and from northern Virginia to Lake Erie.
By 1988 the company had outgrown the Devault site and so found a new home for its eastern headquarters in Spring City, Pennsylvania. This time around A.C. Miller would set up shop in a turn-of-century factory that once milled logs and later steel. Precast concrete, the building product of the next century, soon filled six manufacturing bays totaling some 150,000 square feet.
The burgeoning environmental movement of the 1990s shifted the construction market’s attention to water quality. In response A.C. Miller founded an independent company to meet those demands. Fabcrete, Inc (Fabcrete) opened in 1996 with a design on both fresh water supply and waste water disposal. On the supply side, Fabcrete and A.C. Miller jointly pioneered the pre-assembled water meter vault, otherwise known as the “pre-piped meter pit.” The meter pit consists of a water-authority approved concrete vault and all mechanical components contained within, including by not limited to the primary piping, valves, meters, and by-pass componentry. On the disposal side of the equation Fabcrete designs and installs waste-water lift stations for major residential and commercial site developments.
While the demands of utilities continued to drive the business, the 1990s also brought new opportunities in the form of heavy civil and institutional infrastructure. Long Island Railroad (LIRR), Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), New Jersey Transit, and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NYCMTA) frequently partnered with the company to engineer precast rail platforms, bridge decking and tunneling solutions. These infrastructure demands precipitated two subsequent factory expansions: 1998 marked the addition of the Royersford, Pennsylvania plant, and 2000 saw the inauguration of a factory expansion at Blairsville.
Located adjacent to the Spring City headquarters, the Royersford plant added 90,000 gross square footage to A.C. Miller’s eastern Pennsylvania production capacity. This investment offered the company a platform to modernize its equipment and satisfy large civil projects without encumbering the core utility customer base.
The summer of 2000 saw the completion of a new building at the Blairsville plant. The 75,000 square foot expansion would allow for year-round production in a modern and safe environment. A strategic commitment to the transportation industry has made the Blairsville plant a major supplier of box culvert and other infrastructure products to various state DOTs and the private sector.
A.C. Miller’s journey from cottage industry to the present spans more than 50 years.
The Miller family continues to foster a corporate culture based on relationships, far-sighted strategy and family values.