Called to public service

Alumnus balances careers in pharmaceuticals and politics

December 2017

McMillan in his office at the Neptune Municipal Building.

After graduating from UB and building a successful career, Kevin McMillan, BS ’82, felt called to give back — by serving his community as an elected official for 15 years and counting.

“No one gets where they are completely of their own volition,” says McMillan, a committeeman for Neptune Township, New Jersey. “You stand on the shoulders of others who have gone before you and have encouraged you along the way, so you have a responsibility to reach back and help others.”

McMillan earned his bachelor’s in business administration from the School of Management and went on to complete his master’s in economics at UB in 1985. As an undergraduate, he joined the men’s basketball team and played all four years, helping to lead the squad to a conference championship as team captain in his senior year. During his graduate studies, he served as the head JV coach, adding new skills to those he gained as a business student.

“Managing players is similar to managing people in the workplace — every employee has a role, just like each player on the team,” McMillan says. “When I got my first job, I oversaw several functions, and knowing each individual’s role and how that fit into the big picture was very helpful.”

“With my education from the School of Management, I felt confident I could compete with anyone,” he continues.

After commencement, he joined Jersey Central Power and Light Co., an electric company that serves more than a million people in central and northern New Jersey. As an analyst in customer relations, he gained experience in revenue protection, credit collections and customer accounting.

Surrounded by his wife, children and granddaughter, McMillan was sworn in as Neptune Township mayor in January 2016.

After 11 years in the utility field, he was ready for a change. He spent three years mentoring area youth as executive director for the Boys & Girls Club of Monmouth County, and then took his customer relations skills to the pharmaceutical industry. Today, he is a senior sales representative at Sanofi, specializing in diabetes treatments. “The best part of my job is when physicians say their patients reached their treatment goals by using my product,” he says.

Last year, McMillan finished in the company’s top 1 percent of diabetes sales reps worldwide, earning a trip to Paris and Venice. “That was a humbling experience,” he says. “I grew up in the Bronx, and all of a sudden, I’m having dinner with my wife in the Eiffel Tower and learning from reps from all over the world.”

Throughout his career, McMillan has always valued service, donating his time as an alumni ambassador for UB and as director of the Neptune Youth Basketball program. In 1997, he ran for and won a seat on the Neptune Township Committee, and has since been re-elected five times, most recently in this year’s election. Under the township’s form of government, committee members rotate through leadership positions, allowing McMillan to serve as police commissioner, deputy mayor and mayor during his time in office.

“The thing I’m most proud of creating is our mayor’s youth cabinet, where we teach high school students about Robert’s Rules of Order and issues we’re seeing as a governing body, and do fun things, like take them to the theater,” he says. “I always tell the kids: Your current economic station is not where you’re going to end up. With hard work, dedication to lifelong learning and a passion for what you do, you can make it.” 

Written by Matthew Biddle