Top Corporate Exec Brews New Success

Virgis W. Colbert, executive vice president of worldwide operations for Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Co., announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31. One of BLACK ENTERPRISE’S 75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America, Colbert headed a world-respected operations division that is focused on productivity, efficiency, quality, and exceptional customer service.

In 1979, Colbert left Chrysler for Miller in search of greater opportunities for career advancement. At Miller, he rose through the ranks to the position of vice president. “I thrive on challenges and realized early on the importance operations had to the entire system, including vendor partners and the distributor network,” says Colbert.

“Virgis has a no-nonsense leadership style,” says Norman Adami, president and chief executive officer of Miller. “Because he’s a winner, he has been a pillar of leadership to Miller for 26 years and has played an instrumental role in the turnaround of this company.”

Colbert will remain on the board of directors and will serve as a senior adviser to the company. “I look forward to having the continued benefit of his insight long after his retirement,” says Adami. “Virgis has been one of my most trusted advisers since I came to Miller two and a half years ago.”

Aside from enjoying more family time, Colbert will continue to provide civic service for organizations such as the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, where he is the chairman emeritus.

Retirement will also include time spent with Production Stamping Corp., which Colbert purchased 52% of in November 2004. The metal stamping company accrued approximately $10 million in 2004 revenues and specializes in deep-draw, MIG, TIG, and robotic welding. Since then, the company, which services the lawn and garden, truck, and industrial manufacturing industries, has doubled employees and revenues. PSC recently purchased Excellent Manufacturing Inc., allowing it to expand into manufacturing and assembly of seating components for automobiles. “Our goal is to maintain a balanced portfolio of products [so that] we aren’t totally dependent on one industry,” says Colbert.