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Industry mourns Western Branch Diesel COO

Western Branch Diesel COO Rob Miltz died July 8 of complications from a medical procedure. He was 63.

Rob Miltz, chief operating officer of Western Branch Diesel in Portsmouth, Va., and a 40-year industry veteran, died July 8 of complications from a medical procedure. He was 63.

Miltz graduated from Hartwick College in 1973. His career started at the Pioneer School at South Street Seaport, where he taught diesel engine maintenance and repair to troubled youths in the New York City area.

He got a walk-on part in the movie “The Godfather,” sailing a boat in New York harbor.

Miltz joined Volvo Penta in 1979, starting in the technical training department and then moving into sales, where he rose to become head of the Commercial Sales Department.

He worked for a short time outside the marine industry, but an obituary said his heart called him back to Volvo Penta a few years later. He worked for Detroit Diesel as vice president of sales, covering the North American and European markets. Working under Roger Penske was one of the highlights of his career.

Miltz later accepted a position at sportfishing boat builder Jarrett Bay Yachts in North Carolina. In 2008 he began working at Western Branch Diesel as vice president of sales.

Miltz was an avid sailor who took many trips on Chesapeake Bay with close friends. He recently took up fly fishing, traveling to Vermont to spend the weekend at Orvis and learning all he could about the sport.

He is survived by his wife, Pat, and sons Jason and Kevin.

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