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Roger McMillan, Second Generation Owner, and Former CEO of Colmac Coil Manufacturing, Inc., Passes Away at 81


Roger McMillan, father of Colmac Coil Manufacturing’s current CEO and Owner, Scott McMillan, has passed away on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023 at the age of 81.  Roger was born January 7, 1942, in Missoula, Montana to the late Jerry and Gwen McMillan. He spent his early childhood in Spokane, Washington, then Jerry and Gwen relocated their dry-cleaning business to Colville, Washington, where shortly thereafter Jerry invented specialized laundry machines and started the Colmac businesses while Roger then graduated from Colville High School in 1960. He met his wife, Dee at Washington State University (Go Cougs!) and they were married July 18, 1964, and where he earned a Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1966, then spent 2 years in the US Army as a 2nd and 1st Lieutenant in the Ordinance Corps stationed at Ft Dix, NJ. Roger and Dee thereafter returned to Colville, Roger working in engineering and product development at Colmac Industries from 1969 until Jerry’s sudden passing in 1974.

Roger And Coil

Through the years, Colmac has used technology to propel its business forward.  Since laundry machines are tough on coils and normal HVAC coils were not holding up, Jerry McMillan decided to build his own. He asked Roger to design a building and within a year Colmac Coil Manufacturing was building coils in a new 10,000 sq. ft. plant across the street from Colmac Industries. In less than 20 years the new company surpassed Colmac Industries in size.  In 2007 Colmac Coil won the Washington State World Trade Club’s “Emerging Trader of the Year” award, over 40 years after Jerry won the same (later renamed) award. Roger was only 32 at the time of Jerry McMillan’s passing, and with no succession plan in place, Colmac managers and employees kept moving forward.

From 1974 to 2002, Roger led Colmac Industries and Colmac Coil as CEO and Owner. During this time, Colmac Coil Manufacturing grew from a small manufacturer of steam coils to a much larger company with a portfolio of manufactured products including heating and cooling coils, heat pipe coils, dry coolers & condensers, and industrial air coolers.  With Roger’s leadership, Colmac Coil Manufacturing developed their ability to engineer a wide range of heating and cooling solutions for the commercial and industrial markets. 

Jerry And Roger At Dinner
 Jerry McMillan (Left) and Roger McMillan (second to the left) at a gala.


“In 1981, Roger took a chance hiring a young engineer (yours truly) recently graduated from his Alma Mater, Washington State University. I quickly learned that Roger, like his father Jerry McMillan, loved to innovate and develop new products, and then to travel to where the customers were to sell them – wherever that might be in the world. I feel very grateful to have worked first for Roger, and then Scott, for 40 years of my working life getting to do those very things. I have lots of good memories of my interactions with Roger talking about new products and markets, as well as some amazing travel experiences with him. I also appreciated my personal interactions with Roger, and his concern for the well-being of all of us as Colmac employees.”  Said Bruce Nelson, past president of Colmac Coil Manufacturing.

Bruce With Roger Mcmillan At Christmas Dinner Blurred Background
 Roger McMillan (Left) and Bruce Nelson (Right)


“When he first arrived in 1969, there wasn’t a single drawing for any product—-he built a new team of drafters and later brought in Computer Aided Drafting and CNC machinery to modernize both businesses and developing the first “CoilPro” software sizing and selection models beginning in 1981.”  Said Scott McMillan, CEO & Owner of Colmac Coil Manufacturing.

After passing the executive management responsibilities to his son, Scott McMillan in 2002, Roger was continually active in Church life and also golf and hiking, while spending his summers in Colville and winters in Palm Desert, California.  Roger occasionally stopped by the Colmac Coil factories to see the latest and greatest products on the manufacturing floor and to discuss what next products we were developing. 

“All of us at Colmac Coil Manufacturing will greatly miss Roger’s presence, but his legacy will live on with every shipment of high quality, engineered to order products from Colmac Coil Manufacturing.”  Said Joe Fazzari, President of Colmac Coil Manufacturing.

Rainier July28 2002
 Roger McMillan (left) hiking Mt. Rainer in July 2002


A celebration of life was held at Colville Community Church in Colville, Washington, on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024. 

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