On the corner of Mark C. Miller’s desk, a papier-mache head fixes visitors with a meditative expression and imposing stare. According to Japanese legend, the figure represents a Buddhist monk named “Daruma” who became so focused on his goal that his body disappeared, leaving only his eyes and mind locked in trance-like concentration.
It’s a handy reminder of the attention that Miller and his associates at Stericycle have turned to the problem of medical waste. Even before used syringes and other hospital garbage washed up on
It did, two years before Miller came on board. In 1990, Stericycle became the first player in the $1 billion medical waste industry to patent a disposal process that not only decontaminated trash such as bloody gauze, hypodermic needles, and rubber gloves, but actually could recycle much of it for reuse. Today the privately-held company has four plants in the
Miller joined Abbott Laboratories in 1977 straight out of school, eventually becoming vice president in charge of the company’s operations in the Pacific,
“I realized that part of what I enjoyed was a team of people who are charged up to create something,” says Miller, an affable and easygoing former high school football star. “It was that new buzz of creating.”