The Grand Rapids Business Journal will host its annual 40 Under Forty event Oct. 27, and once again a past recipient of the honor will grace the stage to welcome and provide inspiration to the 2015 inductees.
This year’s featured alum is Patrick Miles Jr., U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan. He was honored as one of the Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty in 2002, 2005 and 2007.
Miles is the first African-American to hold the U.S. attorney position for the Western District of Michigan, which he has held since President Barack Obama appointed him in 2012.
As U.S. attorney, Miles immediately placed emphasis on preventing and prosecuting health care fraud, financial fraud and child exploitation, as well as reducing violent crimes in major urban areas through a more localized and focused approach. He also increased and supports efforts to reduce ex-offender recidivism.
His accomplishments include re-structuring the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division into four sections to streamline management and increase attorney specialization: Organized Drug Crimes, Financial Crimes, National Security and Violent Crimes.
Miles formed various units in the four criminal division sections and in the civil division for reactive cases and added more task forces to proactively collaborate with law enforcement and government agencies as well as to educate the public to prevent or detect crimes.
Miles implemented new strategic planning and accountability processes for the office, for the administrative, appellate, civil and criminal divisions as well as its units and task forces.
Prior to his position as a U.S. attorney, Miles was a member/partner in Detroit-based international law firm Dickinson Wright PLLC, residing in the Grand Rapids office and specializing in corporate law. During his time at Dickinson Wright, he took a leave of absence to run for an open Congressional seat in Michigan’s Third District.
Miles also previously served as an attorney with Varnum, where, in 1997, he became the first partner of color in the firm’s 110-year history.
During the early 1990s, he specialized in telecommunications law and participated extensively in Federal Communications Commission rulemakings implementing the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 and the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
Miles was an active participant and contributor in drafting Michigan’s 2002 Telecommunications Act. He served as the lead special outside telecommunications counsel to the city of Detroit from 1998 to 2006.
He has also been an active member of the Grand Rapids community, serving as president of the Grand Rapids Bar Association from 2004 to 2005 and as a trustee from 1999 to 2002. He has served on more than two dozen charitable and professional boards and committees, including the Aquinas College board of trustees for 18 years, with four years as chairman, four as vice chair, and six years as secretary; Spectrum Health Hospitals board for eight years, with four years as treasurer; Hope Network board for six years; and Inner City Christian Federation/Nonprofit Housing board for six years, with two years as chairman.
In 2011, he became the first president of the Grand Rapids Black Chamber of Commerce.
Miles is a third-generation Grand Rapids native and attended Grand Rapids Public Schools, graduating at age 16 from Ottawa Hills High School.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an economics major from Aquinas College. During college, he spent four summers working as a spot welder in a Steelcase factory in Kentwood. He then went on to attend Harvard Law School and was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Law Record, one of America’s oldest law school newspapers.