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As a sophomore at Tamaqua Area High School in 1978, Cindy Miller helped lead the Blue Raiders to the PIAA Class AA girls basketball championship.
"Being all for the good of the team was something that was part of my life," recalled Miller, who scored 2,155 points in her career.
Now, nearly 40 years later, the 53-year-old Tamaqua native is leading another team in the business world, at global shipper UPS. Miller, who has spent nearly 30 years with UPS, was recently named the first female president of UPS Global Freight Forwarding, a business unit of UPS.
When Miller began her career at UPS in 1988, the Lehigh Valley was a tough place to find work, she recalled. Mack Trucks had just closed its 5C assembly line, Bethlehem Steel was on the decline, and the region's workplace evolution was in its infancy. Miller, who had just earned a degree from Penn State, was looking for a job anywhere she could find one."I realized that UPS is a network of people who have to work very well together," said Miller, speaking last week from UPS' headquarters in Atlanta. "I got that team feeling right away."
The company also challenged her to do more.
"From an athlete's perspective, that hooked me" Miller said. "Once I realized what type of company UPS was, and once I realized the opportunities that were here, I just wanted to always see myself in the next job."
Miller moved from the Lehigh Valley to various operational and managerial positions with UPS in Philadelphia and New York. In 2001, UPS promoted Miller to vice president of operations for its Northern Plains District in Omaha, Neb.
That eventually led to more executive posts overseas. In her most recent role as president of UPS Europe, Miller oversaw about 45,000 employees throughout the continent. Under Miller, the company was the sole logistics provider during the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Miller is now in charge of far fewer employees — between 5,000 and 5,500, she said — but with the world as her market. She moved to Atlanta to coordinate operations. This move, she said, marks her 10th relocation.
"Any time an opportunity presented itself, my answer was always yes," said Miller, whether it was about taking a new position or relocating. "Saying yes more than no brought me more opportunities along the way."
Miller says she returns to Tamaqua to spend time with family and friends. She also has season tickets for Penn State football and still bleeds the blue and white colors of her college and high school.
But she also bleeds brown – as in Pullman brown – and gold, which are UPS' signature colors.
In today's The Morning Call.