Tammy Miller

Tammy Miller | 2015 AACSB Influential Leader

Tammy  Miller

CEO, border States Electric

Honoree Year: 2015

Alma Mater:

Minnesota State University Moorhead

College of Business and Innovation

United States

Area of Impact:

Manufacturing or Commercial Services

Tammy Miller is the chief executive officer and board chair of Fargo, North Dakota-based Border States Electric (BSE), the nation’s eighth-largest electric wholesaler. She joined the company in 1991 as an accounting manager and worked her way through various management positions before being named CEO in 2006.

She is an innovative leader who has inspired this employee-owned company to enjoy unprecedented and continued growth. Since Miller became CEO, revenue has grown from 485 million USD to over 1.7 billion USD and the stock value growth has dramatically outpaced the market benchmarks. The company has an aggressive growth plan and now operates 81 branch locations in 16 states. She is extremely well regarded in the industry and was the first woman in the 100-year history of the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) to serve as the board chair. She is also an active community volunteer. 

When Miller joined Border States Electric, they were a 485 million USD company. She worked with a fairly new leadership team at that time to develop an aggressive strategic plan and grew the business to a 1 billion-USD organization in five years. In 2011, a productivity benchmark by the National Association of Electrical Distributors found that Border States' employees were 40 percent more productive than the industry average. "We really do run this company for the benefit of our employees," said Miller. "We practice open-book management so our employees know at all times how the company's doing. Along with that, employees are really empowered and expected to be creative and decisive in their work." She motivates employees with a clear vision and strategic plan while setting aggressive company-wide goals.

Miller excels in an industry once dominated by men. During her career, she has advocated for women in the industry by speaking at women-in-industry boot camps. She encourages women to take risks, get out of their comfort zones, and to be open to relocation in order to advance in their careers. Miller values her education and is a staunch supporter of MSU Moorhead. She has backed her support with generous financial contributions to the Paseka School of Business, the Russell and Ann Gerdin Wellness Center, and to student scholarships.

Accolades and honors for Miller are many. She has received many NAED awards, including the Arthur W. Hooper Award in 2014, Women in Industry Trailblazer Award in 2013, and Distributor Distinguished Service Award in 2010. She has also received the YWCA Woman of the Year in Business Award in 2009, two distinguished alumni awards from MSUM, and the L.B. Hartz Professional Achievement award in 2012.

Miller serves on the board of directors for Affiliated Distributors, the Elite Distributors Insurance Captive (EDIC), the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, and Starion Financial. She also serves as co-chair of the Valley Prosperity Partnership. In 2010, Miller chaired United Way of Cass-Clay’s annual campaign and raised a record 5 million USD to fund agency programs and community initiatives.