Editor's Note: The editors of Locksmith Ledger are pleased to present an expanded version of our Icons of the Industry feature article from our 65th Anniversary coverage in November 2004. In interviewing these industry leaders, we realized that their accomplishments were far too numerous to fit in a...
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Through his learning experiences, Buddy recognized that there were many opportunities in specializing in imported car locks. Although codes and key blanks were available for imported car locks, at that time there was no information easily available about servicing the locks. Also while lock service parts for American cars were readily available through traditional locksmith supply distributors, the few parts that were available for imported cars were available only from the dealerships, often at very high prices and long delivery time.
Buddy published the first imported car lock service manual in 1974, with a second volume published in 1977. His ultimate goal was to improve the availability of lock service parts for imported cars by establishing a parallel distribution system to offer the same types of parts for imported cars as were already available for American cars. Starting business on September 1, 1980, with about 100 different part numbers, ASP has grown to offer over 7,000 different part numbers, with customers around the world.
As high technology invaded automotive locksmithing, ASP Inc. was the first company to offer multi-brand transponder key programming equipment in 2002. ASP's goal for the future is to help keep automotive locksmithing a viable and profitable part of the locksmith's business.
Buddy says he would like to be remembered as an ethical and honorable businessman who always did his best to "say as he does and do as he says." His company will be remembered for providing locksmiths the opportunity to do many profitable automotive lock jobs that they would otherwise have not been able to do.
J. Clayton Miller
J. Clayton "Clay" Miller, born in 1945, has spent literally his entire life involved in the lock and security industry. Miller left high school with a 10th grade education to raise a family. He worked for combination lock manufacturer Sargent & Greenleaf, a family business, starting in the maintenance department repairing machines. In the sales department, he called on safe makers and distributors who were Sargent & Greenleaf's customers. Miller later moved to the position of Vice President/General Manager, overseeing both the manufacturing and sales side of the business. Two of his notable accomplishments were opening a European office, developing a worldwide sales network, and coordinating the S&G move from Rochester, NY to Nicholasville, KY.
Miller was named President of Sargent & Greenleaf in 1976. After the sale of this family business in late 1980, Miller stayed on during the transition but then decided to seek out new challenges.
Next, Miller purchased Lockmasters, Inc. from his father, Harry C. Miller, in September of 1981. Founded in 1954 as a correspondence school, Lockmasters was a small company teaching the art of combination lock manipulation. By 1981, Lockmasters had added courses but remained a small entity ($200,000 annual revenue) which did not receive much attention.
Not long after Miller took over leadership of Lockmasters, the class presentation was revamped and enrollment increased by approximately 100 percent. Along with management responsibilities, Miller served as primary instructor for several years. Through this close daily contact with students, he learned about the requirements of the marketplace while improving his own technical skills.
In late 1982 Lockmasters opened a wholesale mail order business catering to the tool and parts needs of the safe technician. The idea was an immediate success. Today the wholesale division has revenues exceeding $5 million annually.
The education division of Lockmasters has grown tremendously over the years. Based on the increase in crime and terrorism in the U.S., Miller is broadening the focus of the education division, now known as the Lockmasters Security Institute. The education group will retain its previous old line technical courses while expanding into the area of general security management training and education. All Lockmasters education programs are fully college accredited.
During his career, Miller has been involved in product design and development with over 20 patents to his name and several more pending. In the late 1980s, Miller and partner Michael Harvey founded C&M Technology. The outcome was the development of the X-07 combination lock, a revolutionary electromechanical design which rendered all prior mechanical technology obsolete. The X-07 is currently the only combination lock approved by the U.S. Government for the protection of classified material. C&M licensed the X-07 to KABA MAS.