Rodrick Miller is the President & CEO of Ascendant Global, a boutique economic development firm established in early 2017.
Previously, Miller was President and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the public-private partnership charged with leading the economic revitalization of the city of Detroit. The organization’s signature small business program, Motor City Match, aimed at developing and leveraging small businesses to anchor neighborhoods is quickly becoming a national model. Meanwhile, Miller pushed a pointed real estate development agenda which is creating the infrastructure to support significant expansion of large scale manufacturing and logistics operations. Under Miller’s leadership, the DEGC has brought more than $1.5B in new investments and 16,000 new jobs to Detroit. In 2014, Miller supported the city’s exit from bankruptcy through negotiating disposition of key public assets to ease large creditor tensions and jumpstart new development opportunities. His team also brokered the transaction to bring the Detroit Pistons back to downtown Detroit.
Previously, Miller served as the founding president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA), the official economic development organization responsible for ensuring the long-term economic vitality and driving job growth for the City of New Orleans. As the chief economist and thought leader on economic recovery, Miller focused the organization’s efforts on lowering barriers to entry in the marketplace, increasing transparency, and developing approaches to drive inclusive economic growth. Results since their founding in 2011 include state legislation allowing for benefit corporations, a policy framework to guide the use of tax incentives in economic development, and the attraction of more than $720 Million in new investment and 7,500 new jobs through proactive attraction and expansion of corporate projects in the New Orleans market. In June of 2013, NOLABA launched ProsperityNOLA, the first ever comprehensive economic development plan for the city of New Orleans. Miller led his team in crafting this 5-year plan with a keen eye on ensuring the plan would diversify the economy and present economic opportunities for all the citizens of New Orleans.
Prior to that position, Miller held numerous other roles in economic development agencies and private firms. Miller holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Science degree in international business from St. Augustine’s College. He also gained a Graduate Diploma in Finance from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) in Mexico while completing a Fulbright Fellowship. A scholar practitioner, he has been a featured speaker to organizations such as Google, AIG, and the World Bank and has lectured at Arizona State University, The University of Michigan and the Georgia Institute of Technology amongst others. Miller contributes regularly to various industry and scholarly publications. He is a term member of the US Council on Foreign Relations where he serves on the Task Force on the Future of Work co-chaired by former US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and former Michigan Governor John Engler. He is also a board member of the International Economic Development Council, the Federal Reserve Board’s Community Advisory Council, and Priority Health Insurance. Miller has received accolades including Michigan Man of Excellence, Ebony Magazine’s 30 under 30, Phoenix Business Journal’s Top 40 under Forty, Top 100 Tech Influencers in the Silicon Bayou, Young Economic Developer of the Year, and numerous others. He enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with his son. Miller is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.