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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Ex-NFL safety Wesley Miller tackles research at Texas A&M Real Estate Center

Photo by Photo by Alyssa Denson

Wesley Miller was a safety in the NFL before he decided to pursue real estate. 

Former NFL safety Wesley Miller plans to tackle the issues surrounding real estate in the classroom this semester.
The Texas A&M Real Estate Center, part of Mays Business School, added Miller, a research associate, to its team in January of 2017. Since joining, Miller’s work has focused on topics such as affordable housing, border economics and general economic trends in Texas.
Most recently, Miller was a safety for the Buffalo Bills and played internationally in Germany for the Saarland Hurricanes. He would eventually follow his fiancee Jessica Smith to College Station and after seeking the advice of his master’s thesis adviser, applied for a job at the Real Estate Center.
Indicative of how appreciative the center is to have Miller, Research Economist Luis Torres said he has had positive experiences working with Miller.
“He’s a smart person and has a really high work ethic — he’s really protective,” Torres said. “He brings the positive spirit and I think that’s from football. He’s always gung-ho, ready to go, ready to work. You know, positive attitude. And then I found out that attitude is always like ‘Let’s move forward, let’s do more research. Let’s try and produce more cool research that people will find interesting.’”
Miller graduated with a bachelor of science in Economics from the University of Texas at El Paso. Additionally, he graduated with a masters in Economics also from UTEP. He was a research assistant at the A&M Real Estate Center before joining the center full time in Fall 2017. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Economics at A&M.
“I am from Fresno, California,” Miller said. “I played every sport you can think of growing up. I played basketball, football and baseball in high school. And then my opportunities started to look good in the football area so I kind of specialized there and decided that’s what I wanted to do. My sophomore year in high school- that’s when I determined that would be my end goal.”
Miller spoke effusively of the role his parents had in his development and decision making.
“My parents were incredibly supportive throughout my whole life,” Miller said. “They made sure to emphasize academics as well, which is uniquely important. But they made incredible, incredible sacrifices in their lives for me and my athletic career. They made a huge commitment.”
According to the A&M Real Estate Center, it is the nation’s largest publicly funded organization devoted to real estate research. Most of their $5.1 million in annual funding comes from real estate license fees paid by more than 170,000 professionals. A nine-member advisory committee appointed by the governor provides research guidance and approves the budget. The Center’s staff conducts research on financial, socioeconomic, public policy, trade, legal, land use and local market analysis issues related to real estate.
“Since I’ve gotten a job here and been involved with real estate research, I’ve really enjoyed it, ” Miller said. “I’ve learned how important it is. You know there’s hot topics in our society with affordable housing issues across the country. These are important issues that I find really interesting and important.”
MIller said he also connects his experiences with sports and the NFL with how he approaches research and academics.
“I try and connect a lot of the lessons or things I’ve learned in sports to everyday life,” Miller said. “A lot of times sports, the coaches goal, at least at the college level is sometimes to break you down, you know, and to really push to your farthest limit and I not only try to apply that in my job and in terms of how I’m researching something, I also apply that in school as well.”
Miller explained that in his upcoming work he intends to research trade linkages between Mexico to the Texas economy.
“I think people are becoming more and more aware of this, but the importance of the interconnection between Mexico to the Texas economy,” Miller said. “There are so many business linkages between supply-chain linkages between companies in Texas and on the Northern side of Mexico. So there’s a lot of interconnection there and interdependence just in general. There’s a very symbiotic relationship between Texas and Mexico. WIth NAFTA negotiations now, that’s more and more in the news, and people, especially Texans, are becoming aware of the importance.”
In addition, he has recently produced work, with Torres, on trade relations with China, in the case of American beef exports, for instance, and its effect on Texas cattle ranchers, beef prices and exporters, specifically in Texas, but with national implications.
Smith, a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Veterinary Medicine and high school sweetheart, spoke about their experience as a couple being students at A&M and living in College Station.
“This past year has been great having him here in town with me because he’s been a great support system during my stressful curriculum,” Smith said. “We work as a team and have a routine day to day: We wake up early and work out, I do breakfast, he walks our dog, we carpool to work, we carpool home, we tag-team dinner, we study and work, we relax, and then we sleep! We’re not all work though, we also play on a recreational soccer team together here in town with some of our friends. On the weekends we try to find something new and interesting to do in town or in Bryan and we travel when we get a free weekend without too much work or school.”

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