Jordan Miller is a friendly guy! He’s even green friendly.
He helped the Cincinnati Zoo’s Base Camp Café become the greenest zoo restaurant in the entire U.S. as certified by the Green Restaurant Association. He’s so green that he’ll dumpster dive, which involves going through the zoo’s dumpsters and picking out items that can be recycled. As a result of these efforts and other activities, Jordan was named the Green Employee of the Year by SSA for 2013.
He even drives a “green” car! It’s a 2013 Ford Fusion, but it’s black. The car was named the greenest car in 2012 by the Green Car Journal. The car is known also for its styling as it blends the sporty elements of an Audi with an Aston-Martin sports car. It’s a dashing style for a single guy! The car has become Jordan’s most valuable possession as well as his first largest personal purchase.
While buying a green car was a smart thing to do, Jordan said graduating from college was even smarter. Interestingly, he even graduated from a university whose school colors were green and gold! He earned a degree in accounting from Wayne State University.
But how did a Cincinnati-born-and-raised kid end up attending a university in another city? His athletic talent earned him a scholarship at Wayne State University, which is located in the heart of Detroit and is Michigan’s fourth-largest university as well as one of the 100 largest universities in the United States.
The self-described sports guy grew up playing basketball, football and baseball. As a high school athlete, Jordan earned three varsity letters and was named to Cincinnati Enquirer Division I All-Area First Team and selected to the Greater Miami Conference (GMC) All-League team. He displayed his leadership talents even in high school as he was selected as team captain for the basketball team.
Based on his high school performance, several schools recruited him. After riding a Greyhound bus to visit the football powerhouse in downtown Detroit (NCAA rules prevented him from flying), Jordan fell in love with the city life as well as the school and quickly made up his mind to play for the Warriors.
Jordan played in 48 games for the Warriors. He was a member of the 2011 team that played for the Division II National Championship. Unfortunately, they lost.
He became a member of the SSA family while attending college. The Wayne State football team and the Detroit Zoo SSA staff have a unique partnership as many of the football players work for SSA, and that’s how Jordan started his career in the attractions industry.
His parents still live in Cincinnati as does his three older brothers. His brothers also played collegiate football. Even though Jordan graduated with an accounting degree, he thought his career path would have something to do with athletics. But after applying for several jobs as an assistant college coach, he decided he wasn’t ready to sacrifice his personal life, as coaching is a demanding job. And to excel, one needs to be dedicated and put in long hours in planning, scouting, recruiting, etc. Plus he was ready to move home to Cincinnati, so he contacted the SSA GM Steve Wells at the Cincinnati Zoo. He was quickly hired, and he moved back to live amidst the gently rolling hills along the Ohio River. Jordan laughingly said that he started off as a warehouse guy in Detroit and now he’s the Assistant General Manager at another location where his expertise of looking at numbers in black and white is an asset. He added that he uses his experience as a teaching point. “One good thing about SSA is that they look within first for new hires,” he said.
While Jordan is active in helping the Cincinnati Zoo fulfill their green objectives, he also volunteers to help plan and staff the free bar-be-ques that the zoo hosts for nearby neighborhoods.
Ask anyone who has worked with Jordan, and they’ll tell you he’s funny, yet quiet. But he has a thirst for adrenaline. One of the craziest things he has done and continues to do involves water and jumping. He likes to jump off the cliffs at White Rock Park, located in St. Paul, Indiana. This well-known jump site features a quarry dedicated to swimming and includes a zip line, rope swing, jumping platform and multiple cliffs to jump from. Jordan would also like to visit Australia to dive on the Great Barrier Reef. He plans to get certified as scuba diver, as he’s heard the stories of the amazing biodiversity found underwater from his father and one of his brothers.
When he’s not working, Jordan can be found working out in the gym or enjoying Cincinnati Reds game (his family has season tickets) or golfing. And as he says he hacks the ball, but it’s still fun as he’s playing alongside his father and his brothers. His favorite sport to watch is football, especially the Cincinnati Bengals. He roots for them to win a championship or two!
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Jordan’s favorite magazines include ESPN and Sports Illustrated, but he also enjoys reading motivational books written by athletic coaches. He’s been known to read books about history as well as autobiographies.
When he wants to get his “juices flowing,” Jordan listens to hip hop and this type of music helped him be a success on the football field. But he also listens to country – music he listened to while growing up.
Like many other athletes, his favorite meal is steak and potatoes. “It’s the best meal you can have,” he said. His love of beef may be the result from his first job at age 16 when he worked as a busboy for a national steakhouse chain. Like many SSA employees, he has done a Stock Show tour, and he said it was some of the best beef that he has ever eaten. While steak and potatoes may be Jordan’s favorite meal, he said he’s addicted to ice cream, and it doesn’t matter if it’s hard or soft, chocolate or vanilla! This addiction may be attributed to the fact that one of country’s famous ice cream makers, Graeters, is located in his hometown. The company produces cold, creamy flavorful ice cream from over 100-year-old recipes and methods of production. He also shared that he sometimes slips into the zoo’s stand to get a bowl of ice cream.
One of Jordan’s favorite sayings goes as follows.
This is the beginning of a new day
We have been given this day to use as we will. We can waste it, or use it for good.
What we do with today is important because we are exchanging a day in our lives for it. When tomorrow comes today will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that we have traded for it.
We want it to be a gain not a loss. Good not evil. Success not failure.