Executive Team

Charles Wright - Chairman R.D. Merrill and Merrill Gardens

Charles Wright Chairman R.D. Merrill Gardens The Merrill companies began in the 1890's when Charlie Wright's great grandfather, R.D. Merrill, formed timber partnerships in the Pacific Northwest. An aggressive businessman, Merrill was compassionate and forward thinking. Under his leadership, The R.D. Merrill Company grew to become a successful business as strong as its magnificent forests. Fourth generation family member Wright carries on his grandfather's vision today.

In 1993, he pursued opportunities to diversify the R.D. Merrill Company, looking for an industry to extend Merrill's long-term commitment to quality. In the senior housing industry, he found an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of senior residents. Twenty years later Merrill Gardens has 26 operating and development communities in four states. Wright was named an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist for guiding the growth of Merrill Gardens. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs whose achievements make them leaders in business. Wright was chosen from a large group of nominees in five Western states to receive this highly coveted award.

Under Wright's leadership, The Family Business Institute named Merill Gardens the Family Business of the Year twice in the past ten years. The company was chosen based on innovative business strategies, company performance, and contributions to the community. The Better Business Bureau named Merrill Gardens the Business of the Year for the company's commitment to residents, team members and community service. Merrill Gardens earned a Finalist Award as the most innovative company in the American Business Awards. Wright received his bachelor's degree from Princeton and his law degree from Stanford.

Bill Pettit - President and Chief Operating Officer

Bill Pettit Chief operator Merrill GardensBill Pettit is the president and chief operating officer of the R. D. Merrill Co. with responsibility for Merrill Gardens and sister company Pillar Properties.   

After 20 years in operation, Merrill Gardens is one of the most respected assisted living operators in the country.  Based in Seattle, the privately held company, has 26 operating and development communities in four states.

Pettit joined Merrill Gardens in 1992 after 18 years in the banking industry. He was instrumental in the formation of the company, starting with one community in 1993.  He directed the rapid growth and timely execution of acquisitions, and developed the policies that speak to the Merrill Gardens commitment to quality.  

Under Pettit’s leadership, the Better Business Bureau named Merrill Gardens the Business of the Year for the company’s commitment to residents, team members and community service. The Family Business Institute named Merrill Gardens the Washington State Family Business of the Year three times in the past ten years. The company was chosen based on innovative business strategies, company performance, and contributions to the community.  Merrill Gardens received a Finalist Award in the American Business Awards in the Innovative Business Practices category.

Pettit received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 1971 and a M.B.A. from the University of Oregon in 1973. 

Pettit is the past chairman of the Executive Board of the American Seniors Housing Association.

Tana Gall - President

Tana Gall is the president of Merrill Gardens with responsibility for 26 operating and development communities in four states.

After 20 years in operation, Merrill Gardens is one of the most respected assisted living operators in the country.  Based in Seattle, the private, family company is owned by the R.D. Merrill Co., with roots that extend back to the 1890’s.    

Gall joined Merrill Gardens in 2013 after 19 years at Seattle-based Leisure Care.  During her tenure there, she worked in sales and marketing, training, development, resident services and all aspects of operations before being named president in 2010.

Prior to Leisure Care, Gall worked for four years in marketing communications at Evans Group, now Publicis USA, with a focus on account management for a wide variety of clients across the country.

Gall is part of a senior housing consortium that designed and implemented the first semester long course in Senior Living Management offered at a public university.  She is also one of the teaching professionals for the course at Washington State University that brings new talent to the senior housing industry.    

Gall serves on the Board of Directors for Treehouse, an organization that supports foster children in Washington state and she is a member of the Advisory Board for Alpha Omicron Pi at the University of Washington.

Gall received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in 1989. She is a member of the Executive Board of the American Seniors Housing Association.

Jason Childers - Senior Vice President

Jason Childers is a senior vice president at Merrill Gardens with responsibility for technology, real estate and development, sales and marketing and operations initiatives in the 26 operating and development communities in four states. 

After 20 years in operation, Merrill Gardens is one of the most respected assisted living operators in the country. Based in Seattle, the private, family company is owned by the R.D. Merrill Co., with roots that extend back to the 1890’s in the Puget Sound area.

Childers joined Merrill Gardens in 2013 after 11 years at Seattle-based Leisure Care.  During his tenure there, he worked in sales and marketing, brand integration, guest services, information technology, human resources and new business initiatives.  He was named senior vice president in 2010.

Prior to Leisure Care, Childers worked at Foote, Cone and Belding Advertising Agency, now Draft FCB, with a focus on strategic planning on a variety of national accounts.

Childers has been part of a senior housing consortium that designed and implemented the first semester long course in Senior Living Management offered at a public university. The course at Washington State University is designed to bring management talent to the senior housing industry.

Childers received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at San Diego in 1999. He is a member of the Executive Board of the American Seniors Housing Association.

Doug Spear - Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Doug Spear Senior Vice President Merrill GardensDoug Spear brings 20 years of financial experience to his role as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Spear is responsible for all the financial practices of Merrill Gardens, from acquisition planning to ongoing financing issues. He oversees all finance matters impacting development, acquisitions and operations for the company’s 26 communities in four states. Spear leads the Merrill Gardens internal audit system, ensuring that each community meets the company’s high standards in all aspects of operations.

Based on innovative business strategies and company performance, Merrill Gardens was named the Washington State Family Business of the Year three times in the past ten years. The Better Business Bureau named Merrill Gardens the Business of the Year for the company’s commitment to residents, team members and community service.  Merrill Gardens received a Finalist Award in the American Business Awards in the Innovative Business Practices category.  

Spear was vice president and controller for parent company R.D. Merrill Co. for three years before he joined the Merrill Gardens senior management team. Previously, Spear spent 11 years in public accounting, including three years at Ernst and Young.

Spear is a previously licensed C.P.A. in the state of Washington. He is a past chair of the National Investment Center (NIC) Operator Advisory Board. He received his B.A in Business Administration from Seattle Pacific University in 1988.

Morei Lingle - Senior Vice President

Morei Lingle, Senior Vice PresidentMorei Lingle has 25 years of experience in the senior housing industry with a background in skilled nursing, Alzheimer’s care, independent and assisted living. 

Lingle is one of the original members of the Merrill Gardens team, starting with the company in 1996.  In the past 17 years she has been instrumental in guiding the company’s growth into a leading national operator.  She has worked in all phases of operations for the company and established a comprehensive company-wide customer service initiative.  In her role as Senior Vice President she oversees Quality Services, Human Resources, Training and Development, Real Estate and Lifestyle.   She has also worked in sales and marketing during her tenure with Merrill Gardens.

Lingle is part of a senior housing consortium that designed and implemented the first semester long course in Senior Living Management offered at a public university. Lingle is also one of the teaching professionals for the course at Washington State University that is designed to bring management talent to the senior housing industry.

Under Lingle’s leadership, the Better Business Bureau named Merrill Gardens the Business of the Year and the Family Business Institute named Merrill Gardens the Washington State Family Business of the Year three times in the past ten years. The company was chosen based on innovative business strategies, company performance, and contributions to the community.  

Lingle is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Seniors Housing Association.