Searching for the perfect house while at home in Westchester

Dr. D. Douglas Miller has a design for life that works very well, weaving together his many talents and interests into an almost seamless tapestry that he finds gratifying.

A widely-recognized cardiologist and scientist, he has a strong clinical, educational, business and research background and uses them to advantage in his posts as dean of the New York Medical College School of Medicine (NYMC) and chief scientific officer of BioInc@NYMC, a biotechnology incubator  that offers shared resources and space to promising entrepreneurs and start-ups in the Hudson Valley.

In between, Miller and his wife, Heather, are looking for a home in Westchester “within a 30-minute commute to the NYMC campus in Valhalla,” he said.  “We have been looking steadily since I was appointed dean of medicine as of Jan. 1, 2015.”

A native of Rockville, Ontario, Miller came to NYMC after serving as dean of the faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta.

“I already had colleagues at the medical college here and the position of dean of the School of Medicine was very attractive to me,” he said. “But I had not spent much time in the Westchester area, so that part of it was pretty much new.”

STARTING TO LOOK

When the Millers arrived late in 2014, they decided to take their time finding the perfect house while renting an apartment in White Plains.

“Both of us found the Westchester-Fairfield area very lovely, with a beautiful and diverse housing stock,” he said. “It is also full of history, which we love. Heather had gone on Ancestry.com at one point and found that some of her ancestral family members had ties to the area that is now Armonk, so that was a pleasant surprise and incentive.”

Miller said he and his wife found an outstanding Realtor, Aaron Velez of Houlihan Lawrence, who filled them in on the backgrounds and amenities of the many towns within Miller’s 30-minute commuting radius. They then decided which communities were of interest and started looking at homes.

“We were especially drawn to the older homes with historic significance, although we did look at new ones, too. We visited a wide range of communities, from the Hudson River towns, over to Stamford, up and down the center of Westchester, including Chappaqua and, of course, the Armonk area,”

Miller said he and Heather were impressed overall by the “sheer beauty” of the area and the variety of the housing. “It’s an incredible market and place to live,” he said. “We have lived in other nice places, but this area is special in many ways, including its proximity to New York City.”

It’s now been two years since the couple started looking for the perfect home and Miller said they were drawing near to the end of the search.

“There are a few places we are now very serious about,” he said. “One of the big considerations is the tax issue, but there is nothing we can do to change that. We are now almost ready to make the decision and move forward.”

FULL PROFESSIONAL PLATE

Miller said that the couple’s house-hunting efforts had not distracted him from the wealth of professional business at hand.

“Things are going very well in both of my major posts as well as my private cardiology practice,” he said.

Miller’s résumé is a lengthy one. He has served as a leader in academic medicine for more than 25 years. Prior to the University of Alberta, he was dean of the School of Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia.

In addition, he has held clinical appointments as an internist cardiologist, and medical imager at the University of Texas Health Science Center and at Saint Louis University.  He received his M.D. from McGill University and later went on to earn a master of international business administration degree from Saint Louis University.

As chief scientific officer at BioInc@NYMC, he has found another successful leadership niche in the growing Hudson Valley biotech sector.  

“I ran another similar incubator at the medical school in Georgia and also hold three patents in biotechnology. This has been an area of interest throughout my career.”

In addition to providing infrastructure and operational services, BioInc@NYMC assists its members with refining their business strategies, conserving capital, team-building and achieving funding goals. The incubator launched in October of 2014, operating out of an 11,000-square- foot space on the Valhalla campus.

“We now have 10 groups housed in our incubator,” Miller said. “It’s been really exciting and the idea has caught on. The overarching goal is to make breakthroughs in biomedicine.”

Miller said he is happy to be involved in a rich mix of activities and has met many great people and made good friends. “In the past two years, Heather and I have gotten a wonderful reception,” he added. “We are involved in a lot, both personally and professionally.”

Heather runs her own internet-based home business. Their two children, Caroline and Brendan, are grown and not a factor in the house-hunt decision.

One of Miller’s goals later this year, after settling into a new home, is running in the New York City Marathon.  “I have run in several and hope I can find the time to train to do it,” he said.  “I will be running against my personal best, not against their clock.”

A best that always sets the highest standard.

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