Tell us the basics: Who are you, what’s your company’s name and how long have you been at this company? I’m Tim Miller, the chief operating officer at Richmond 2015, the organizing committee for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships (Sept. 19-27, 2015) and the 2014 USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals (May 2-4, 2014). I founded the organization in 2003 as the CapTech Foundation, which operated the CapTech Classic cycling event until 2006. The organization became Richmond 2015 in May of 2011.
How did you wind up working on the Richmond 2015 project? I wasn’t hired by Richmond 2015; I helped create it from scratch! My first job after graduating from Roanoke College was with Medalist Sports, the Richmond-based sports marketing and event management firm that organized the Tour DuPont. At the time I was also pursuing a career as a professional cyclist, but quickly realized that my skills were better placed on the business side of the sport. I eventually joined CapTech Ventures, and was given the opportunity to launch the CapTech Classic, one of the premier criterium events in the country. As the founder and executive director of that event, I was able to establish my capabilities in the cycling world.
Why have we waited so long to see the course routes? A tremendous amount of work goes into planning an event of this magnitude. Since we were awarded the Worlds, that’s the question I’ve received the most: “When are you going to announce the courses?” There were three main factors we had to consider when designing the courses. First was the competitive and technical aspects of the courses – we need courses that will challenge the best cyclists in the world. Second was showcasing the best of the Richmond region from a tourism perspective – we wanted to highlight some of Central Virginia’s best sites, like Monument Avenue, Libby Hill and Richmond Battlefield Park. And third was the overall impact on local residents and businesses – there will be impact, but we worked very hard on minimizing that as much as possible. The trick here is that each of these goals can’t be looked at independent of the others. We did our best to consider all three when we designed the routes. And even after the municipalities have given their blessing, they still have to be reviewed and approved by the UCI.
What one thing about next year’s race is going to surprise Richmonders the most? The media attention and the volume of visitors will catch people by surprise. I think people realize that this is exciting and a great opportunity for the region and the state, but I don’t think they have any idea about the magnitude. We talk a lot about these two things, and I think a lot of people think we are exaggerating. I actually think some of our estimates are conservative. We will see!
What’s a feature from past world championships in other cities that you are excited to incorporate into the Richmond event? The FanZones. We will have several FanZones around the course that will provide spectators with a truly unique experience. Sort of like a tailgate party. Each FanZone will have a Jumbotron screen showing live coverage of the race, food and beverage service and entertainment. It will be the biggest party Richmond has ever seen!
Is there a secret to your personal success? Perhaps a piece of advice you’ve always remembered? Refusing to listen to the naysayers. And there have been plenty of them! I can’t tell you how many times on this project that I have been told that something can’t be done. There is nothing more rewarding and gratifying than proving those people wrong. It is astounding how much you can accomplish if you just try. In fact, people often ask how we were able to win the bid for this event, because it seems so unlikely. The reality is that we just decided to go after it and we persevered.
What’s the part of your job you dread the most? It’s not so much what I dread, but rather the hardest part of the job that comes to mind. And that is trying to get so many diverse stakeholders in sync and working collaboratively. There are a lot of individuals and organizations involved in the development of this event – all of whom want the best for the event and the region – and it can be challenging to get them all working in harmony. I think we are having tremendous success in the endeavor, but it isn’t easy!
What’s the part of your job that excites you the most, the thing that makes you want to hurry to work? Being able to work on something that has the potential to have a major impact. This has never really been about a bike race. It is about using the bike race as a platform to create transformational change. Our region is becoming more progressive every day, and this event can really help put Richmond on the map and propel it into the kind of place that people want to come live, work, play and visit!