LORETTO, PA – Cambria County Commissioners will declare April 25 as Jonathan Miller Day honoring the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Western Pennsylvania Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
Miller, a small business owner who needed to pinch pennies for both his enterprise and education expenses, fine-tuned some computer typefaces that enabled him to not only save on internal printing costs but also to create a new business that he dubbed Dimples.
With minimal finances for education, Miller and his mother worked for years as home inspectors often logging 15-hour days snapping photos of homes for insurance agencies and financial institutions. “We did that through my college years and about two years ago realized that finances were tight and every penny counted, Miller recalled. “We couldn’t reduce paper costs, but we could stretch our ink.”
Miller, now a Saint Francis University adjunct professor in the math and business departments, explained that creative savings became the catalyst for his company.
“I fiddled with computer fonts and how printers produce text on paper,” he said. “When certain light and dark spaces are placed within a font, the printed text retains legibility while consuming less toner.”
The end result is a perforation – or dimple – in the text that preserves the outline of each letter which appears whole to the human eye. According to Miller’s research, when text is read the eye sees mostly each letter’s outline. His Dimples process squeezes out a third or more toner savings per letter.
But for Miller, who holds dual undergraduate degrees in both chemistry and mathematics and a master’s degree in business administration, the process wasn’t as simple as it sounded.
“In the beginning, my mom and I spent hours each day building fonts,” he said “Since I didn’t know computer programming, we did everything by hand until I could teach myself.”
His programming worked and, today, Dimples’ automated process creates a strong black outline with a fainter interior. To date, Dimples has 3,000 individual users who have access to 11 fonts.
“For a small fee users purchase our software and download the Dimples program. To print, you just use the Dimples print command, he explained. “We can even Dimple proprietary corporate fonts. There is much more we are developing for the future of Dimples.”
Dimples has received grant funding from Johnson and Johnson, Walmart and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) to market the unique cost-saving program to the region.
For Miller, working on computers enabled him to harness his imagination and creativity while collecting accolades along the way – even from the software giant Google.
“As a teen I used the internet to look at visual items, such as animation and two-and-three- dimensional drawings,” he stated. Years later, Miller utilized that information to create three-dimensional models of buildings at Saint Francis University. He then competed against many universities, faring better than a team from Harvard University. This motivated him to co-found the architectural modeling service PopArchitexture.com and to become a certified Google 3D Developer.
While attending Saint Francis University, he lent his talents to the Center of Excellence for Remote and Medically Under-Served Areas. “The projects were engaging and covered fields from telehealth and distance learning to emergency first response and defense,” he explained. “We used off-the-shelf technology in creative ways to help people.”
According to Western Pennsylvania SBA District Director Carl Knoblock, Miller was able to visualize a solution to a business printing problem and spin off a completely different company that compliments his background. “His unique software not only will enable consumers to save money, but, also will make for a greener environment, Knoblock said. “He truly exemplifies the cutting edge of entrepreneurial talent abound in Western Pennsylvania.”
Miller added that being named as the region’s Young Entrepreneur finally is sinking in. “It’s a humbling, and hopefully inspirational, honor.”