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Bill Pettit is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the R. D. Merrill Co. and Merrill Gardens. After just 18 years in operation, Merrill Gardens is one of the largest privately held assisted living companies in the country, and the largest in Washington State. The company, based in Seattle, owns and operates 56 communities in 9 states. Merrill Gardens has 2,500 employees and the capacity to serve over 7,000 residents.
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 for 2007. The company was chosen based on innovative business strategies, company performance, and contributions to the community. Merrill Gardens received a Finalist Award in the 2006 American Business Awards in the Innovative Business Practices category. Pettit has a bachelor's degree from Princeton in 1971 and a M.B.A. from the University of Oregon in 1973. He is a member of the Executive Board of the American Seniors Housing Association.
Doug Spear brings 18 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 accounting, insurance, technology and finance matters impacting development, acquisitions and operations for the company's 56 communities in 9 states. Spear leads the Merrill Gardens internal audit system, ensuring that each community meets the company's high standards in the areas of quality services, human resources, food service and accounting practices. Based on these innovative business strategies and company performance, Merrill Gardens was named the 2007 Washington State Family 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 the R.D. Merrill Company 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.
Steve Delmore has been with Merrill Gardens for 17 years, beginning as general manager and working his way to his current position as Executive Vice President of Operations. He has helped guide the growth and success of the company. Delmore is responsible for the operations of all 56 Merrill Gardens communities in 9 states across the country. Under his leadership, Merrill Gardens continues to set industry standards and implement innovative programs for residents and team members. It was the first to eliminate set meal times and offer residents its exclusive Anytime Dining program so residents enjoy restaurant style meals on their own schedule.
Delmore's commitment to quality led to the Merrill Family Guarantee, offering residents their money back if they are not satisfied in their new Merrill Gardens home. He established the Team Merrill Gardens Bonus to reward team members for providing high levels of resident satisfaction. Merrill Gardens has been recognized by the Family Business Institute as the Washington State Family Business of the Year. The Better Business Bureau named Merrill Gardens the Business of the Year and Merrill Gardens recently received a Finalist Award in the American Business Awards in the Innovative Business Practices category.
Delmore joined the company in 1993 after two years with Fields & Associates where he oversaw low-income senior housing projects. Delmore also worked with Leisure Care of Bellevue, Washington in a variety of managerial positions. Delmore graduated with a B.A. in Public Administration from Seattle University in 1985 and is a graduate of the University of Washington Business School Executive Management Program. He sits on the board of the California Association of Assisted Living and is a member of the American Seniors Housing Association.
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. Seventeen years later Merrill Gardens is the largest senior housing operator in Washington State and one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with 56 communities with the capacity to serve 7,000 residents in 9 states. The company has 2,500 employees and has grown steadily to become a respected leader in the industry. 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, Pacific Lutheran University and the Family Business Institute named Merrill Gardens the 2007 Washington State Family Business of the Year. 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 2006 American Business Awards. Wright received his bachelor's degree from Princeton and his law degree from Stanford.
Morei Lingle has 24 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 16 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 companywide customer service initiative.
In her role as Senior Vice President she oversees Quality Services, Human Resources, Training and Development, Real Estate and Lifestyle. Lingle has also worked in sales and marketing during her tenure with Merrill Gardens. In addition, she 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. She is actively involved in the American Seniors Housing Association.