Grocery Store Rich

Maintenance Director at Erickson Incorporated counts the small things as important.

By Jennifer Ferrero, APR, DTM

Michael Merrill is the deputy director of maintenance part 135 for Erickson Incorporated in Medford, Oregon. He has been with the company for 13 years and has seen a lot of changes while employed with the company.

Merrill has worked hard and feels that all company values – safety, tenacity, integrity, reliability, and selfless service/duty should be important to all employees. He said, “All of them are important to being a well-rounded employee. You need to be able to relate to all of them.” He added however, “Safety is our number one priority.”

When talking with new hires about the company he said, “Be patient, read twice, understand what is expected, and be honest with what you are doing. If you are straight up with what you are doing and meeting expectations, it ends up being a good relationship for a long time.”

Merrill is currently in a managerial maintenance role and is enjoying seeing the bigger picture of the company since taking the role, “I enjoy seeing how it all fits together.” He has been given two promotions recently and said, “I’m excited about the way we’ve restructured in recent months. We have always had good ideas and suggestions, now we are initiating changes that will help the company overall.”

As a long-term employee, Merrill has been to many countries on behalf of the Erickson – Afghanistan, Middle East, Asia, Niger, and even to different points in Alaska. Merrill said, “Every boy dreams of being a pilot, but I’ve been wearing glasses since I was five years old; you can’t be a pilot with glasses.” So, he joined the Marine Corps and spent eight years with them as a mechanic and crew chief. He also worked for Beechcraft, an American aircraft manufacturer.

He did a short stint as tech support for Dell Technologies where he said he developed an appreciation for the, “Phenomenal management training in tech companies.” He said that although the training is great in technical companies, that the money is much better in aviation careers; and his heart was with aviation. He said in tech careers, the pay is not great and said he earns a better living in aviation – but didn’t claim to be wealthy – he said tongue-in-cheek, “Let me put it in these terms; I am grocery store rich, I can buy whatever I’d like at the grocery and not worry about it.”

Merrill has done something right in that he and his wife have raised six children. He is proud to say that she doesn’t have to work, but that she has worked hard all of her life, he is proud that he works at Erickson and has room for advancement.